This collection provides overviews ofnearly 100 key criminal justice research topics comprising traditional criminology and its more modern interdisciplinary outgrowths. These topics are divided into six thematic parts:
- Correlates of Crime
- Criminology Theories
- Crime Research
- Types of Crime
- Criminal Justice System
Criminology and Criminal Justice Research Topics
Research Topics in Criminology:
Research Topics in Crime and Victimization:
Research Topics in Criminology Theories:
Research Topics in Criminology Research and Measurement:
Research Topics in Types of Crime:
Research Topics in Criminal Justice System:
The study of criminal justice and criminology has experienced tremendous growth over the last years, which is evident, in part, by the widespread popularity and increased enrollment in criminology and criminal justice departments at the undergraduate and graduate levels, both across the United States and internationally. An evolutionary paradigmatic shift has accompanied this criminological surge in definitional, disciplinary, and pragmatic terms. Though long identified as a leading sociological specialty area, criminology has emerged as a stand-alone discipline in its own right, one that continues to grow and is clearly here to stay. Today, criminology remains inherently theoretical but is also far more applied in focus and thus more connected to the academic and practitioner concerns of criminal justice and related professional service fields. Contemporary study of criminology and criminal justice is also increasingly interdisciplinary and thus features a broad variety of research topics on the causes, effects, and responses to crime.
Because just listing suggestions for criminal justice research topics will be of limited value we have included short topical overviews and suggestions for narrowing those topics and divided them into 6 parts as in the list above. If you’re interested in some topic in the list follow the links below for more information.
Examplecriminal justice research paperson these topics have been designed to serve as sources of model papers for most criminological topics. These research papers were written by several well-known discipline figures and emerging younger scholars who provide authoritative overviews coupled with insightful discussion that will quickly familiarize researchers and students alike with fundamental and detailed information for each criminal justice topic.
This collection begins by defining the discipline of criminology and observing its historical development (Part I: Criminology). The various social (e.g., poverty, neighborhood, and peer/family influences), personal (e.g., intelligence, mental illness), and demographic (e.g., age, race, gender, and immigration) realities that cause, confound, and mitigate crime and crime control are featured inPart II: Correlates of Crime. The research papers in this section consider each correlate’s impact, both independently and in a broader social ecological context. The sociological origins of theoretical criminology are observed across several research papers that stress classical, environmental, and cultural influences on crime and highlight peer group, social support, and learning processes. Examination of these criminological theory research papers quickly confirms the aforementioned interdisciplinary nature of the field, with research papers presenting biological, psychological, and biosocial explanations and solutions for crime (Part III: Criminology Theories).
Part IV: Criminology Research provides example research papers on various quantitative and qualitative designs and techniques employed in criminology research. Comparison of the purposes and application of these research methods across various criminal justice topics illustrates the role of criminologists as social scientists engaged in research enterprises wherein single studies fluctuate in focus along a pure–applied research continuum. This section also addresses the measurement of crimes with attention to major crime reporting and recording systems.
Having established a theoretical–methodological symmetry as the scientific foundation of criminology, and increasingly the field of criminal justice,Part V: Types of Crimeconsiders a wide range of criminal offenses. Each research paper in this section thoroughly defines its focal offense and considers the related theories that frame practices and policies used to address various leading violent, property, and morality crimes. These research papers also present and critically evaluate the varying level of empirical evidence, that is, research confirmation, for competing theoretical explanations and criminal justice system response alternatives that are conventionally identified as best practices.
Ostensibly, an accurate and thorough social science knowledge base stands to render social betterment in terms of reduced crime and victimization through the development of research–based practices. This science–practitioner relationship is featured, advocated, and critiqued in the research papers of the final section,Part VI: Criminal Justice System. Here, the central components of criminal justice research paper topics (law enforcement, courts, and corrections) are presented from a criminology–criminal justice outlook that increasingly purports to leverage theory and research (in particular, program evaluation results) toward realizing criminal justice and related social policy objectives. Beyond the main system, several research papers consider the role and effectiveness of several popular justice system and wrap-around component initiatives (e.g., specialty courts, restorative justice, and victim services).
See also: Domestic Violence Research Topics and School Violence Research Topics.
Criminology Questions & Topics
by David H. Kessel
Got any to add? Send them to me!
1. Is there such a thing as "victimless" crime?
2. Marijuana: should it be criminal to use it?
3. Race as a factor in the imposition of the Death Penalty
4. Victimology: sensitivity or revenge
5. The "brutalization" of the public by use of the Death Penalty
6. Pornography: is there such a thing in and of itself?
7. Pornography: is it really a "legal" matter?
8. Crime as essentially a product of the contradictions of Capitalism
9. Civil Liberties and Capitalism: any contradictions here?
10. Crime Statistics and "hidden criminality"
11. Is Criminology "gender-blind": Women and Crime (by and against)
12. Sexual harassment of women: on and off the job
13. Are men ever sexually harassed?
14. Capital Punishment: .`Myths and Realities
15. The social location of crime: its distribution
16. How lawless are businesses?
17. Teaching college courses in prison: Why and How?
18. The Media's role in reporting crime: fact or ideology?
19. The Public's perception and fear of crime: any misconceptions here?
20. Sentencing: Ideas and Issues
21. Understanding crime through literature
22. The portrayal of crime and violence on prime-time TV and/or in the movies
23. Winos/bums/street people/homeless: the response of the CJ system
24. Social Class and unemployment: relationship to crime
25. Child Abuse...why?
26. Ex offenders: labeling and employment
27. Maintaining social order: who is unruly?
28. Who is a deviant?
29. Constitutional issues and Due Process
30. The development of Modern Crirninal Law...focused on a few behaviors
31. Juveniles: where does responsibility begin?
32. Crimes of the rich and of the poor: which are more serious?
33. Gun ownership and control in America...haven't we always had it?
34. White Collar Crime: types and reactions to it.
35. The profit motive: just a way of life...or...criminal?
36. Aggression and Deviance/Crime: is aggression really deviant?
37. Criminal Careers: how are they produced?
38. Alienation of workers and crime
39. Crirninal Justice System: in whose interest is it run?
40. Problems and issues in Police Administration
41. Political Crimes in America: are uniforms used?
42. ACLU: friend or foe (and of whom)?
43. Prisons: historical development and social psychological elements
44. Is life inside a prison so completely different from life outside?
45. Categories of prisoners and their specific needs
46. Correctional Officers: recruitment, training, lifestyle, job attitudes, role conflicts, officer/inmate relations
47. Politics and Prison administration
48. The "view" from within a "cell"
49. Assumptions underlying "rehabilitation": were they ever/are they valid?
50. Social Workers and Psychologists with inmates: what relationship?
51. After imprisonment: what then?
52. Is our imprisonment system pathological?
53. Negotiated Justice: plea bargaining in "exchange-oriented" America
54. Correctional Treatment: is there anything to measure?
55. The purpose and effect of police professionalism
56. The various meanings of criminal statistics
57. Just what is recidivism?
58. The social organization of people in a prison
59. The alcoholic's "return" to society
60. Homosexuality and equal protection under the law
61. Lawyers as legislators: expertise or conflict of interest?
62. Consumer crime: social and physical harm to people
63. Organized Crime: the local political systems
64. American Justice: how much can you afford?
65. Judges: who are they, from where, and appointed by whom?
66. Prosecutors and Defense Lawyers: adversaries or coworkers?
67. Does an adversarial court system really determine truth?
68. The practice of law as a confidence game
69. Police brutality and corruption: can we trust "in-house" control?
70. Has Miranda (reading of rights) really hindered the police?
71. Is it okay to break the law to uphold the law?
72. Does Crime pay: what and to whom?
73. Pretrial and Trial publicity: the media's role
74. Do inmates give up all their rights when incarcerated?
75. Is all criminality deviant?
76. What would our society look like if it actually eliminated all crime?
77. Can we generalize about who's committing crime on the basis of who's been caught?
78. Is any activity MALA EN SE (bad in and of itself)?
79. Is crime an evil which exists in spite of the law?
80. Who makes criminal law?
81. Are there class differences in criminal behavior?
82. Are more men criminal than women?
83. Why do some people challenge the criminal law?
84. Are we a nation "of laws" or "of men (human)"?
85. What does the way a society responds to crime tell us about that society and its values...and about where that society sets its priorities?
86. Is crime a social as well as legal conception...something to be studied rather than merely assumed?
87. Whose "order" or "stability" is disturbed by "crime"?
88. Should the subject matter of Criminology be limited to the existing legal conceptions of crime?
89. Is our image of crime part of the "problem of crime"?
90. Are criminal activities any different in principle, than socalled honest business activities?
91. Could we not ask whether or not our Criminal Justice Systems very existence is JUST, rather than merely if there is justice IN it?
92. What would a "just" system look like?
93. Is our CJ System based on unequal treatment for un-equals and equal treatment for equals?
94. To what extent is public opinion about crime the "result" of the authorities rather than their "guide"?
95. To what extent do the police have an interest in maintaining either a high or low rate of crime?
96. Do correctional officers and prison administrators have a conflict of interest concerning rehabilitation?
97. Is "behavior modification" overused in prisons and other "treatment" programs?
98. Are "conditions" causes?
99. Is there such a thing as "free will"?
100. What other questions need to be asked which aren�t on this list?