(1) Locate a documentary that provides detailed coverage of a specific criminal event and/or criminal
offender(s). Then, in your essay, provide a brief (2-3 paragraph) summary of the history of the
criminal event(s) / criminal offender(s) reported in the documentary.
(2) Identify two specific criminological theories discussed in your textbook (Criminology: The Core)
(i.e., Agnew?s General Strain Theory and Hirschi?s Social Control (Bond) Theory; Sutherland?s
Differential Association Theory and Cohen?s Theory of Delinquent Subcultures) that offer useful
explanations for why the person(s) committed the crime(s). In your essay, provide a detailed
explanation of each theory (2-3 paragraphs for each theory). [NOTE: Do NOT use the broader
theoretical categories, such as Trait Theory, Social Structure Theory, Social Process Theory, or
Developmental Theory; you must select more specific theories or theoretical explanations. If you
are not sure if you have selected a specific theory or theoretical explanation, please contact your
(3) In your essay, apply both theories to the criminal event(s) reported in the documentary (2-3
paragraphs for each theory). That is, according to your selected criminological theories, why did
the person(s) commit the crime(s)?
(4) At the end of your essay, compare and contrast the two theoretical explanations of the criminal
event(s) and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the criminological theories (3-4 paragraphs).
Do the two theories offer similar or different explanations for the criminal event? What are the
strengths/weaknesses of each theory? Does one theory do a better job of explaining the criminal
event compared to the other theory? Are there details of the criminal event that conflict with one
or both theories or that cannot be explained by one or both theories?
For your Theory Application Paper, please make sure you follow the instructions provided very carefully. When students do not do well on this paper, it is primarily the result of not following the directions. For example, the instructions state that students need to provide a 2-3 paragraph explanation of each theory (in your own words); however, some students in the past have only provided a 2-3 sentence explanation of each theory or their explanations are primarily direct quotes from the text (note: these students scored between 10-15 points out of a possible 30 points for the explanation of the theories). to earn the full 30 points for this part of the paper, you need to provide detailed explanations of each theory (2-3 paragraphs for each one), paraphrasing the theory explanation using your own words (and cite the text). The instructions and grading rubric are very clear so please follow them if you would like to do well on this paper. You are only required to use two sources for this paper – your textbook for the explanations of the theories and your selected documentary for the information on the offender. Please cite these sources (you can use APA or ASA style) appropriately. You can use other scholarly sources, if needed; however, please avoid cites such as wikipedia or murderpedia.
A couple of students have asked for help in identifying an appropriate documentary. I know there are good documentaries that you can use on topdocumentaryfilms.com (click on “crime” and search for those that focus on a specific offender).
Book: Criminology: The Core, 4th Edition Paperback – February 23, 2010
by Larry J. Siegel (Author)
I can upload pages out the textbook, on the specific theories when I get home if need.
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