Criminology Writing Assignment


This semester, we will be talking about a number of criminological theories.The purpose of this assignment is to get you to apply these theories to real-world instances of crime or depictions of

crime through the media.In this assignment, you will pick a depiction of crime from the news or

popular media and use one criminological theory to explain the cause of crime in the depiction.


•Start by finding a media depiction of crime that also poses an explanation for crime.

o Some examples include a news article, movie, TV show, song, novel, etc.

o The depiction must give a relatively specific explanation for why crime occurs.It

will be very hard to apply a theory to a depiction that does not.

•Identify a criminological theory that we have discussed (or will discuss during the semester) that fits with the explanation for crime given in your depiction.

o Theories that we will be discussing in the first half of this semester:

Conflict Theory

Biosocial Theories

Moffitt’s Psychological


Social Disorganization

Social Capital/ Collective Efficacy

Routine Activities





Social Control





Broken Windows



This paper will basically consist of two parts:

•In the first part, you should demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the theory you are discussing.NOTE: The following questions are meant to guide you.You do not need to necessarily answer each one.

o What does the theory say?What causes crime?

o What kinds of crime does it pertain to?

o What was the social/historical context for the theory? Who developed it?

o What does the theory say about different demographics of people (people of

different genders, social classes, races, etc.)?

•In the second part, you should apply this theory to your media depiction of crime.

o How does the theory relate?

o What evidence is there that the theory explains crime in your depiction?

o What does the theory say about the people in your depiction?For example, if your

depiction talks about juveniles, what does the theory say about them?

o Does the depiction differ from the theory in any way?If so, how?


For this paper, you must use ACADEMIC SOURCES in your theory discussion.Academic sources include journal articles and books that were writing by experts in their field.Wikipedia and

random websites are NOT academic sources.You may use the class readings as sources for your paper; I also encourage you to find additional academic sources.Media sources are acceptable when citing your media depiction.

You will also be required to cite your sources within the text of the paper and provide a Works Cited page.Please use APA format, which is common in criminological research.Failure to cite sources is plagiarism.Information about citations can be found here:


The length of this paper should be 1,000 to 1,500 words (about 3 to 5 pages).Papers must be typed, 12-point font, Times New Roman with 1 inch margins all around.Please edit your paper

and use correct spelling and grammar.I will deduct points if there are too many errors.Also,

please number your pages.

All papers must be submitted on Blackboard through TurnItIn.You will find the place to submit your paper under the “Assignments” tab.If for some reason you are not able to submit via Blackboard, please email it to me.You do NOT need to bring in a paper copy of your paper to class.

Some tips for success:

•It might be easier to find a media depiction first then apply a theory to it.Picking a theory first might limit your ability to find a depiction.

•The depiction does not have to be current, so feel free to choose a news article, movie, etc. from the past.

•Movies and TV shows based on actual events might provide more insight into why people commit the crime.Many TV crime dramas (such as Law & Order, CSI, etc.) certainly talk about crime, but the explanation is not always discussed.

•Do not worry about discussing “spoilers” or about ruining the ending of a movie/TV show for me.I certainly appreciate the concern, but I do not want it to hinder you from discussing a particular media depiction.

•If I use a media clip in class as an example of a theory, you may NOT copy my idea and use that for your paper.

And finally…

Please remember that this is a paper for a criminology class.The criminological theory should be the focus of your paper.While it is necessary to discuss your media depiction as it relates to the theory, do not spend the entire paper recapping the depiction.I do not want a three page

summary of a movie followed by a paragraph of theory.Similarly, if you choose a song, it is not necessary to provide all the lyrics to the entire song – only refer to the lines that are relevant to the theory.The theory is the focus.

Calculate Price

Price (USD)