Crime Science

This course is a special topic, survey of the field of crime science. As such how we will exam a wide range of topics in order to get an understanding of the types of research and interventions related to the field.
The final paper is an opportunity for you to delve deeper into one aspect of crime science. You can choose any topic that we cover during the quarter.
Regardless of your specific topic, the goal of this research paper is to investigate and analyze the practice, theory, law, policy, and / or regulation that is used and address its use.
A first step in writing a research paper of this type is to identify a question, problem, or even advantage created by the practice. Rather than asking simple yes/no questions, formulate them to ask:
• How is hot spot policing an effective tool in addressing crime and criminal behavior?
• What does crime science bring to criminology? Is it a distinct field? Why or why not?
The final paper should be:
• 10 – 12 pages.
• The pages should be numbered.
• Sans-Serif font, size 11 – 12 pt.
• 1.5 spaced.
The final paper should include:
A separate title page:
• Your name.
• The class info.
• Title of the paper.
• A statement of the problem and thesis that are:
o Clear, concise, and easy to understand.
o Complex enough to require that you can argue for its validity.
o Relevant, and in response to an ongoing academic discussion.
o Shaped and supported by evidence and research, rather than bias or opinion.
• Throughout summarize, synthesize, and apply:
o identify the key main points of the source article and that you condense and reorganize the original content in your own words.
o put source material into conversation, using the source material to make broader observations about trends in the literature.
• Presentation of the technology, including a discussion of what it is, who it is designed for, and how it is currently being used.
o Use examples, images, tables, etc…
• What role does this technology play in criminal justice, justice studies, or the legal system?
• What law, policy, and / or regulation that is used to address its use
o Often you can best do this through case studies and actual examples
• Critique of the law, policy, and / or regulation.
• Return to your argument and thesis
• Synthesize your evidence from the body of the paper
• Present a conclusion or argument
A separate references or bibliography page in APA format

Tips and resources
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
When writing a paper for a criminology course, take care to avoid the following common pitfalls:

• Flawed arguments – Avoid three common flawed sociological arguments: arguing only from the perspective of the individual while ignoring social conditions, attributing patterns in behavior to “human nature,” and explaining behavior as caused by “society” in general without looking at the societal processes at work.
• Excessive summarizing/lack of analysis – Your task is to move beyond mere summary to help a reader understand your evaluation and analysis of the texts or data.
• Lack of an adequately complex thesis – A good thesis moves your reader beyond a simple observation. It asserts an arguable perspective that requires some work on your part to demonstrate its validity.
• Lack of adequate support – A well-crafted thesis requires substantiation in the form of acceptable evidence. Often, if your thesis doesn’t make a complex, arguable claim, the act of substantiation becomes difficult. Take care to develop a thesis that will require purposeful use of evidence.
• Plagiarism – Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work or ideas, in any form, without proper acknowledgement. Whether you are quoting, summarize, or paraphrasing in your own words, you must cite your sources. Even if you do not intend to plagiarize, if you do not properly cite your sources, you have plagiarized.
• Use of unreliable electronic sources – Take care to rigorously evaluate your sources, particularly ones from the Internet. Ask who authored the information, who published or sponsored the information, how well the information reflects the author’s knowledge of the field, and whether the information is accurate and timely.
• Use of opinion or anecdotes – Personal opinions or anecdotes generally do not qualify as rigorous and appropriate sociological evidence in support of a claim. Your opinion does not qualify as data.
• Improper use of a theory – If you are applying or testing a particular theory, be sure you have a good understanding of this theory.
• Excessive quoting – When quoting a source to provide evidence, use only the relevant part of the quotation. When you establish a claim/assertion and provide textual support, be sure to explain the relationship between the quotation and the assertion. Your reader can’t read your mind.
• Shifting verb tense – Take care to shift verb tense only when necessary. Science’s strong sense of timing requires that you accurately reflect that research was performed in that past and that certain knowledge is current.
• Passive voice – Use active voice as often as possible. Active voice generally is more concise and livelier than passive voice and makes the social actors explicit.
• Reference to the author by his/her first name – It is customary and respectful to refer to the author using his/her last name.

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