Crime Trends Assignment | Crime

Paper proposal

The proposal is designed to prepare you to write your final paper. Things you need to do in your proposal:

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Homework For You

  • Identify a crime topic that interests you — this can be anything from new laws, emerging crime trends, new classifications of crimes, racial inequalities in sentencing, the political significance of the media preoccupation with sensationalist crimes, depictions of crime in popular culture (video games etc).
  • You should identify a problem that you wish to study about your topic. For example, if you are interested in bill C-51, you might identify “the erosion of rights of suspects” as your problem. If you are interested in the way DNA is used to explain why people commit crimes, you might identify “the return of biological theories of criminality” as a problem to study. Maybe you are tired of arguments that violent video games make children more violent, and wish to refute this using some real research findings.
  • Concisely (4-8 sentences) describe exactly what the topic is, what the problem is, and why it is an issue
  • Identify data sources — you are studying a crime problem, so you need to get information about what it is and why it is a problem. If you are skeptical about the falling crime rate in Canada, the methodologies and results of the GSS and the CSI would be reasonable data sources. If you are concerned with prisoners’ conditions in Canadian jails, you might identify some personal testimonies or studies of prisoners’ conditions. If your problem is the “negative depiction of X population as criminals/ deviants in the media”, then you might identify specific media stories that demonize your population of choice.
  • Indicate your argument (2-5 sentences) — your paper is applying criminological concepts to make some kind of argument about your topic. You need to identify what you are hoping to argue. For example, you might be arguing that C-51 is likely to make terrorism more likely; or perhaps you intend to argue that violent video games have a more damaging effect than violent movies, for example. Your argument does not have to be fully formed — I just need to be able to advise you on whether it is reasonable or not.
  • Identify as least TWO scholarly articles/books that you will use in your paper (references + 4-8 sentences) — your final paper must reference at least five academic sources. You need to find some criminological (preferably — sociology/ political science/psychology ok too, if it’s just 1–2) academic articles/books to help make your argument. For example, if you are arguing that Canadian judges are too lenient in their sentencing, then you will want to look at research on trends in Canadian sentencing. If you are interested in DNA as a predictor of criminality, then you should look at recent studies that attempt to link or refute the link between genetics and criminal behaviour. To give another example, if you are arguing that Harper’s “tough on crime” plan is not a factor in reducing the crime rate in Canada, you should do some research on variables that have been identified to affect the crime rate in Canada. Explain why you chose each article — tell us how it is related to a. your topic; and b. your argument.


The response must fill one typed, single-spaced, standard-sized page you should choose a standard, size 12 font (e.g. Times New Roman, Georgia, Helvetica or Arial). You will be penalized if the margins are suspiciously sized. References are not required, but you may quote from your identified articles if it helps you to explain your argument. References should be as short as possible to make your point.

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