Final Research Project (25%)
Your final project will demonstrate the knowledge you accumulated from the course and your ability to apply criminological theory. Through your research proposal, you identified a social problem to which you will apply criminological theory. A reminder that this social problem should be within the subject area of criminology and could be a particular type of crime, a specific criminal event, a response to crime, or an established trend you have observed. Some examples of social problems you may use theory to explain are domestic violence, sex work, violent crime, youthful offenders, sexual offending, gangs, property offences, graffiti, distracted or impaired driving, crimes against the environment, kidnapping, white-collar or corporate crime, accused with mental illnesses or brain injuries, financial abuse and neglect of elders, child abduction, and drug-related offending. You could choose to use theory to discuss preventative (i.e. early childhood education) or reactive (i.e. probation) approaches to crime. Or you might examine policy related to the criminalization (or lack of criminalization) of particular behaviour, such as the decriminalization of marijuana, through a theoretical lens. A more extensive list of topics is below.
You will investigate your topic to determine the status and/or scope of the issue in Canada (or within a province or city), who is impacted and how (remember to consider victims, communities, and governments in this discussion), and what some common responses are to that problem. Using one specific theory you have examined through this course, you will attempt to understand the social problem you selected and, if applicable, the social response to it.
You will already have a research question and outline from the research proposal you submitted in Module 8. Build on this proposal and the feedback provided from your Open Learning Faculty Member to write this final research project.
· Your paper will be 10–12 pages (not including title and reference pages). Use double-spaced, 12 point font and APA format.
· Integrate your Open Learning Faculty Member’s feedback from your research proposal when writing this paper.
· Use a minimum of five academic sources (i.e. books or articles in scholarly journals such as Criminology, Social Problems, Journal on Prisoners and Prisons, Justice Quarterly and Contemporary Justice Review). These sources must be outside of the reading materials assigned for this course. You may also include articles in major newspapers and government reports, although these do not count towards the five sources.
· Proofread carefully for correct grammar and spelling.
Here is a suggested structure for your research project:
5. Introduction—include a clear thesis statement, an overview of your paper, and an explanation of why your topic is important
6. Literature Review—an overview of recent, reputable academic literature related to your topic
a. Describe the social problem/policy/program/strategy: Provide a detailed and complete description, and as much of the history and background as you can.
b. Critical Assessment of Theoretical and Ideological Underpinnings: What criminological theory or theories can be applied to explain the social problem or criminal justice issue you are looking at? What are the major assumptions and concepts related to the theory? Who are the major authors that contributed to the development of the theory? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this theory in relation to your topic?
c. Research Evidence: Assess the research evidence related to your topic. What does the research tell us?
d. Critical Evaluation: Given the theory and research with relation to your topic, what recommendations would you have for policymakers? Here you might explore possible alternatives to deal with the social problem based on different theories or ideologies.
8. Conclusion—summary of what was learned through your research project