Theories of Crime and Criminal Justice

26Jan 2022 by

Theories of crime and criminal justice can be defined as statements about relationships, 
particularly between an independent variable and a dependent variable. 
When a researcher tests a theory, it might involve a more abstract idea that cannot be 
directly observed; for instance, that an individual’s level of self-control is associated with 
their likelihood of engaging in crime or delinquency. Alternatively, a theory might be more 
applied in nature; for example, when evaluating CJ programming such as D.A.R.E., the 
theory outlines a conceptual model of how the program is intended function. In both types 
of examples, concepts are the building blocks of the theories being tested. 
Locate two academic journal articles from criminology/criminal justice journals that attempt 
to develop or test a theory. Your objective is to describe how theory and research are linked 
in both examples: 
First, identify the major concepts that are featured in each article. (Typically these 
will be listed in the methodology as independent and dependent variables.) 
Second, discuss how the authors construct and operationalize these concepts. Are 
they from a well-established academic literature, or are they more applied in nature? 
How are the variables hypothesized to influence one another? 
 Third, what are the major findings from the articles? Is the theory or hypothesis in 
each example supported or not supported? 
 Lastly, comment on the “value” added by the study: in your view, does each article 
represent a step forward in understanding or addressing real-world issue or 
problem?