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For this research paper, you are to apply one or more theories of crime that we learned about this
semester to a movie. Ideally, you want to choose a movie whose character(s) engages in some form of
illegal behavior. Additionally, you want a real person or fictional character(s) who has enough
of a “back story” available for you to consider the reasons for his or her criminal behavior.

The paper is to be 7 pages of substantive text (not including a title page or references page).
You are required to use a minimum of 6 peer-reviewed journal sources. The paper must follow
APA 6th edition formatting guidelines. You are free to use any of the theories we will be talking about this semester—
everything is fair game (deterrence theory, learning theories, control theories, etc.).
Here is a more detailed explanation of what I am looking for in the paper:

Introduction Section (a setup or preview of what the paper will entail)
• Briefly introduce the reader to:
1) the main plot of the movie,
2) the chosen character(s),
3) the character’s criminal behavior.
• Briefly introduce the reader to the criminological theory (or theories) you plan to discuss
• Conclude with an overview of what the rest of the paper will include

Character(s) Setup (provide enough detail to adequately set up your analysis in a later section)
• Briefly discuss the character(s)
• Briefly discuss the offending pattern by the character(s) in terms of severity and
frequency of offenses; does the character offend with alone or with others? In addition,
does the character(s) specialize in one or a few types of crime or does the character(s)
participate in “cafeteria-style” offending where they do a little bit of everything?

• In sufficient detail/important: Describe the background of the character. Here you
want to include information on the social environment of the offender. If portrayed, you
want to hit on upbringing/family situation, peer context, neighborhood/community
context that the character lived or was raised in.

Discussion of the Theory (or Theories) and Application to Character – *This will be the bulk of
your paper and the most important content component that I will be grading you on.
• The main components and key assumptions of the theory
• The theorist or theorists who pioneered/originated the theory
• Important: The progression/evolution of the theory and its empirical status (hint: this is
where you want to find peer-reviewed journal articles that have tested the theory’s
utility/effectiveness/success in explaining crime and criminal behavior)
• Most Important: Discussion/application of how the theory (or theories) helps explain
the character’s criminal behavior (hint: use specific examples)

Discussion/Conclusion – Also important in terms of content/substantive ideas for grading
purposes
• Wrap up/overview of paper
• Important: Discussion of the policy implications of the theory(ies) (hint: discuss ways to
stop the character’s offending and prevent others from engaging in similar behavior
BASED on what the theory says about the origins/causes of crime)

 

 
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