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Theories of Crime: Descriptive Summary of Theories (Term Paper Sample)


Criminal Justice 3311
Crime and Criminals
Instructor: Dr. Cheng-Hsien Lin
A Writing Guide and the Recommended Outlines for the Final Paper
You may fulfill the requirements for the final paper if you follow the suggestions
below. In the following sections, I discuss the compositions of the expected final paper
elements. At the end, I provide a rough idea about the recommended length and format
of the final paper, how will the paper be evaluated, and tips of journal searching through
Lamar library online sources.
1. Your may choose your own topic that can be either a type of crime or criminals.
Your whole purpose here is to make arguments why one theory (or a school of similar
theories) is better than another one (which should be also a good one for the type of
crime or criminals) in explanation why the chosen type of crime/criminals were
committed. In other words, both theories (or schools of theories) are good ones for
explanation of your chosen crime/criminals and you utilize some empirical studies'
findings to support your explanations. Furthermore, you will argue why one theory is
better than the other one due to certain factors (i.e., evidences from the empirical
study findings).
2. Empirical studies used to support your paper arguments should retrieve from Lamar
University Library Quick Search located on the page of
(more directions are in the end of this guide). Please keep in mind: do NOT use news
media articles to support your arguments, nor use some specific individual cases to
illustrate your points since they are more likely to be biased/edited by the media. To
know if your found article is an academic journal publication, you should find if it has
sections such as literature reviews, data or method session, results/findings of their
studies, and conclusion/discussion. Media reports usually do NOT have these
Your paper may contain the following five sections:
1. Introduction. The first part is to discuss some general terms the phenomenon
(crime/criminals) you are intending to study. In other words, you should state what
you intend to do in the paper. For example, you can
a. briefly describe the issue you chose for the paper.
b. briefly describe the opposing views that you are going to present in the paper.
State your position.
c. Or, why have you decided to examine this phenomenon?
Copy rights preserved. This article is prepared for Dr. Cheng-Hsien Lin's courses ONLY. Users other
than Dr. Lin need to get a permission for reproduction and/or partial adoption of this guideline sheet.
2. Descriptive Summary of applied theories. For selected theories that will be applied
to explain your topic of crime/criminals, you should briefly explain how each theory
is applied on factors that lead to the crime/being a criminal (of certain type). You
should especially cover the following points:
a. What are the key elements of each theory offered for explanations on the selected
crime/criminals? Why each theory is a good fit in explaining the crime/criminals?
Your own reasoning can be important here.
b. Among your references, be sure to state how they provide information that is
relevant to your topic? How are theories or reasoning/evidences each provides in
their arguments related to your selected topic? Try to be concise and right up to
the point.
3. Literature Review. You should cite at least Four academic articles (textbook or
novels do not count) which related to the topic you chose (so their empirical findings
could be useful for your arguments). In this part, you should discuss how other
studies have examined or discusses the phenomenon you wish to examine? What
have they found? And how do their findings could be supportive to either theory?
Are their findings strong enough to support your application of the selected theories?
In your review, you may consider to discuss:
a. What does the literature have to say about the dependent variable
(crime/criminals) in your topic?
b. How has it been studied (very briefly)? (e.g., who are the subjects? The research
design and methods has been used?)
c. What have been the key findings that can be related to your topic?
d. Can these findings support your selected theories (both or either one?)?
e. How well theories you selected is applied to your focused crime/delinquency?
** You may also use non academic article (generally, they should be official government
reports). However, you will have to cite the non academic articles (as additional ones) in
your reference list.
4. Discussions and Implications. Next, you should express your own points. You
should make your own arguments as the following suggestions:
a. What is your reaction to the arguments presented by each author? Be sure to
briefly state your opinions on the strength or weakness of the arguments made by
each author from the text.
b. Summarize briefly how do your arguments supported by the literature that you
discussed in the paper? Do not just copy-paste prior sentences.
c. Where do you think future work on this topic should be directed?
d. What remains to be done in this issue?
e. What other empirical evidence may be needed to clarify future arguments
between your chosen theories?
5. Reference List (bibliography)
a. Reference uses APA format (you may Google it online, or get it from ) . You should have AT
LEAST SIX academic papers as your references. You are encouraged to have
Copy rights preserved. This article is prepared for Dr. Cheng-Hsien Lin's courses ONLY. Users other
than Dr. Lin need to get a permission for reproduction and/or partial adoption of this guideline sheet.
more references from Lamar University library's electronic database for research
journal articles. Please keep in mind, at least four journal references should come
from Lamar University library's electronic database and need to be academic
journal articles. Articles from news journals (Newsweek, Times, etc.), popular
journals and magazines (Psychologists Today, Reader's Digest, etc.) are NOT
accepted. It is highly advised to avoid direct quotations. Please try to rewrite an
idea and cite its source instead. Ideas and research findings from your references
are important information for the assigned paper.
Format & Length
a) Your paper should be TYPED and STAPLED.
b) Font type: “Time New Roman” (the same type as this guideline).
c) Font size: 12 point (the same size as this guideline).
d) Space: double-spaced.
e) Margin: 1 inch on four sides.
f) Length: 5-7 pages (without counting cover page and the references).
a. Introduction 1 page
b. Theoretical Summary 1-2 pages
c. Literature Review 2-3 pages
d. Implications and Discussions 1-2 pages
This term paper contains four parts of grading:
a) You should collect reference articles supporting your paper arguments (pro and
con). You are encouraged to share your reference articles with your classmates to
increase your exposure to academic studies. You can then form your own
arguments based on the literatures you collected from library and your article
b) Your term paper will be evaluated based on your writing style and theoretical
applications, formation, selection of literature and your understanding of these
articles, and your comments and arguments.
c) EVERY paper will be electronically examined by a special program for
plagiarism. Paper that cannot pass the examination (over 20% of the main text
copied from some online sources) may receive ZERO point on the assignment and
the student may receive an F as the semester grade.
Deadline of Submission
a) Late paper will receive 20% penalty of your paper grade and if it is late more than
24 hours it can be rejected from grading.
b) Paper is due on the Date specified in your syllabus. The final paper should be
submitted in an electronic copy only. **************************************************************************************
First go to the Home page at Lamar University at (press control
and click on the web address to open the web page). If you enter the homepage from
Copy rights preserved. This article is prepared for Dr. Cheng-Hsien Lin's courses ONLY. Users other
than Dr. Lin need to get a permission for reproduction and/or partial adoption of this guideline sheet. , you may click on LIBRARY tab on the top of the page. Next,
you will click on
Cardinal OneSearch under the Quick Search box
Type in your topic key words (such as domestic for searching journal articles. Try to use
one key word first and then add few more key words if it turns out too many articles are
found for your draft reviews.
Also, please mark both
to limit your search on academic works that provide good
sources of detailed research findings.

Full Text”

Peer Reviewed”
You will be asked to type in your MyLamar Lea ID and password to entry the dataset
when click Search
You may click Advance Search under the top key word search box in the search result
page. It will show multiple selection boxes. Among Search Options, mark the
following items:
Search Modes and Expanders: mark “find any of my search terms”
Under the “Limit your results”: mark
“Full Text,”
“Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals”
“Location: ALL”
“Publication Type: “Language: English”
Other boxes you may leave them blank.
Your search results will include title, author, brief abstract of the articles, and year/issue
and page numbers of the journal(s) in which it was published. If your search results show
too many articles to browse, narrow it by selecting the source (journals) or add more key
words in the search boxes. NOTICE, you should make sure the articles you are going to
search need to be with full text and a peer-reviewed journal articles.
The brief abstract of each article will help you determine if it is something that you would
want to read and use for your paper. You may want to download articles of your interest
for you convenience. NOTICE, news journals are not considered reliable sources for the
Again, I highly recommend you to talk to a reference librarian to take you through the
searching task for the first time. They are very helpful and will save you lots of time.
Good luck!


Theories of Crime – Robbery
Student's Name
Theories of Crime – Robbery
Understanding patterns and motivation of crimes is important for solving the mysteries surrounding them. In this sense, theories can be used to explain crime phenomena and answer the questions involved. Through theory, important aspects surrounding a crime can be discovered. Therefore, understanding the patterns and motivations of crimes can be helpful towards preventing their occurrence. This paper focuses on robbery as a type of crime. The two theories that are applied to robbery, in this case, are strain theory and social disorganization theory. Robbery usually involves unlawful taking of property from an organization or an individual through use of force or threat of force. There may also be the use of a weapon in robbery. According to strain theory, while most people have same aspirations, they do not have same abilities or opportunities, and some may attempt to achieve societal expectations through engaging in robbery. Strains from the society and the community can thus drive and individual to commit crime. On the other hand, social disorganization theory has it that the social and physical environment of an individual can drive them to engage in robbery.
Descriptive Summary of Theories
Strain Theory
According to this theory, crime happens when people lack the abilities and opportunities to realize their dreams. Therefore, in order to achieve their aspirations as other members of the community, individuals are convinced to engage in criminal practices. As such, when individuals fail to achieve success through legitimate channels, they may engage in crime (Vowell & May, 2000). Vowel & May argue that perceived blocked opportunity is an element that leads adolescents to engage in violence. In the journal article, the authors also point out that limited or blocked access to occupational and educational opportunities increases nonconventional values among individuals. Therefore, the strains that face an individual in life can be used to explain how robbery takes place. When individuals face strains such as lack of money, family conflict, and poverty, they may engage in robbery in order to achieve success. The criminals, in this case, see engagement in robbery activities as a way of achieving their goals.
Social Disorganization Theory
The focus of this theory is on the association between social control, the neighborhood structure, and crime (Kubrin & Weitzer, 2003). Social disorganization is the incapability of the community to solve significant problems and achieve common goals. The theory posits that residential mobility, poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, and weak social networks decrease the ability of the neighborhood to manage the behavior of people and hence the likelihood of crime is increased (Kubrin & Weitzer, 2003). Therefore, the social and physical environments of neighborhoods can increase the chances robbery. Factors such as unemployment, vandalized buildings, and poverty can thus be used to explain the occurrence of robbery. When the robbery rates have increased in a neighborhood, an examination of the social and physical environment can yield answers to robbery patterns.
Literature Review
A study by Moon, Blurton, & McCluskey (2008) sought to assess the effect of strains and perceived strains injustice on delinquency. According to the research, perceived injustice and recent strains on an individual have significant effects on delinquency. The researchers based their study on the Agnew's Strain Theory. According to the theory, when strain is perceived as unjust and is linked with little social control, delinquent behaviors are likely to be expe...

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