In order to better comprehend the crime causation theories addressed in this course, students will apply theories to film. At the conclusion of the semester, each student must submit a final paper (4 to 6 pages) discussing three theories the student feels best explains criminality. Select a crime film or films viewed in class and discuss the explanation for criminal behavior appearing in the movie. Use the concepts discussed in class and in the texts. For example, is the film more psychological or sociological in its analysis?
Good/better papers will incorporate material from the assigned readings, and/or from other academic literature. If you use a source outside of the class material, please provide a citation for that source.
Outstanding papers (those worthy of an A grade) typically incorporate outside research (not necessarily “library research”) where necessary. An example would be including a brief biography of the film’s director. NOTE: This is an example, if the film’s director is not central to the topic you explore, please do not include her/his biography in your paper.
Areas you might address include:
The social context of the film
Causes of crime
Crime/criminal justice myths
Race and/or gender myths
Stock plots/characters, genre
Notes on Written Work: All written work, except exams, must be completed using Microsoft Word. The written assignments must be double-spaced using a 12-point font (Times New Roman preferred). A cover page, header, reference page, and page numbers are required for all written assignments. You must use citations – you are discussing someone else’s work and theories
Citations, notes, and references will conform to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) format for written works – this includes the APA format for citations in text. Avoid reliance on direct quotations, but rather utilize paraphrases with appropriate textual citations. All written work will be graded on factual accuracy, overall content, sophistication, grammar, and general communication skills. By sophistication it is meant that the language used and depth of thought reflected are appropriate to the course. Textbooks will not count as sources, nor will dictionaries or encyclopedias of any sort. Do not use Internet sources that do not have the author’s name and affiliation; Wikipedia is an unacceptable source. When in doubt, ask the instructor.
Grading Criteria for Essays
o Is there a clear-cut thesis statement that controls the direction of the paper and limits the scope of the ideas presented in it?
o Are the ideas presented in an orderly sequence that makes sense?
o Does the paper have a lively introduction that invites further reading?
o Does the paper have a definite conclusion that draws the ideas together and leaves
the reader satisfied? Development
o Are the ideas explored adequately within the limits established by the thesis statement?
o Does the paper avoid excessive plot summary?
to clarify major points and make them convincing?
o Is the paper’s language accurate and effective in making ideas and evidence clear? o Does the length of the paper fall within the required range?
o Does the paper demonstrate control over the essential elements of grammar?
o Are the sentences clear and smooth?
o Has the paper avoided major grammatical errors (such as sentence fragments,
comma splices, fused or run-together sentences, subject-verb agreement errors,
verb form errors)?
o Does the format of the paper match the instructions for the assignment (proper
heading; double spacing; underlining or italicizing of film titles; inclusion of movie’s date, director, and main actors)?