Criminology Essay Topics

If you are tasked with writing a research paper on the field of criminal behavior, there are many areas of study and theories for behavior which you can use as a topic. However, picking criminology research paper topics is still somewhat tricky given the massive amount of data out there. That being said, below is a list of 20 criminology research paper topics which you might find useful when writing your next paper:

  1. Why the Examination of Criminal Behavior Helps to Handle and Prevent Crimes
  2. How Criminologists can Reduce Types of Crime with Criminal Behavior
  3. How Criminologists can Reduce High Levels of Crime Studying Criminal Behavior
  4. The Validity of the Rational Choice Theory
  5. Why Rational Choice Theory is Invalid
  6. The Relationship between Social Disorganization Theory and Social Learning Theory
  7. How Prison Encourages Social Learning Theory
  8. The Validity of Social Disorganization Theory
  9. Why Social Disorganization Theory is Invalid
  10. The Relationship between Social Control Theory and Social Disorganization Theory
  11. How Social Control Theory is Influenced by Social Disorganization Theory
  12. The Validity of Self-Control Theory of Crime
  13. Why Strain Theory is Invalid
  14. The Validity of Social Learning Theory
  15. Why Social Learning Theory is Invalid
  16. The Scientific Validity of Labeling Theory
  17. The Influence of Evolutionary Rewards on Violent Crime
  18. How Mental Illness Encourages Criminal Behavior
  19. Harmful Brain Chemistry: How the Brain can Increase Crime
  20. The Biology of Criminal Behavior: Whether or Not it is All in the Genes

Aren’t those interesting criminology research paper topics? Well that’s not all because this great piece of material is also accompanied by the criminology research paper facts and also a guide on this very topic and paper genre. Below you will find an example essay written on one of the topics from that list.

Sample Research Paper: The Validity of Self-Control Theory of Crime

The self-control theory of crime is a criminological theory which focuses on individual self-control as a factor behind the commitment of crimes. This theory suggests that people who weren’t parented for before they reach the age of 8 have less self-control compared to those who were parented well at the same age. However, there are correlations between levels of self-control and the impulse for criminal conduct. Originally this theory was developed by two criminologists but today has been subject to theoretical debate and other empirical literature which has expounded upon the ideas purported in this theory and claimed it to be limited in terms of understanding criminal behavior.

Originally the theory of self-control was an idea stemming from bonding theory. This theory of self-control was based upon the observation of the behavior and age. By 1990 this theory had gained popularity because of its empirical observations.  The two theorists behind this idea recorded that self-control was an important factor behind people who commit crimes. Individual’s self-control is something which improves with age but can be influenced by socialization, the loss of control one might say, and changing biology as a result of hormonal development. Additionally, criminal acts might be short-sighted or opportunistic. This theory shares similar attributes to the theory of ego depletion. One which focuses on the idea that people are more highly motivated to satisfy their immediate desires and pleasures around.

This theory can be traced to aspects of self-control from a psychological perspective.  It was Freud who established the idea of self-control through the reality principle and the pleasure principle. These two principles referred to the each person’s desires for immediate gratification and the ability of each person to delay that gratification. Individuals have to learn the necessity of delaying gratification, something which they are taught by their parents as they grow up. Part of the reason they must delay gratification was because of the obstacles they face in real life. Somebody wants to immediately have cash or a random purchase have to delay the gratification of that purchase based upon whether or not they have cash in their bank account. They cannot impulsively make a purchase if they don’t have the money now or can acquire the money through illegal means. This is something which is taught by parents and based upon the self-control theory, taught by the age of 8.  Those individuals who are not effectively parented and are not taught that they must delay gratification based on the reality of their situation, are significantly more prone to committing certain crimes in order to obtain that gratification. Following these basic principles the idea of self-control refers to the ability of each person to delay immediate gratification in order to reach bigger goals. This can be compared to the idea of a child who wants money for candy but rather than stealing that money and enjoying immediate gratification from the candy, they delay that gratification so that they can stay out of jail and achieve all of their goals they have in mind which might later on lead to a lot of candy.

This theory presents a loss of control and characteristic for criminal behavior something which can be acute or chronic.  Acute low self-control means that it is not typical of the individual and it is something which happens only once. This might happen when a child is incredibly hungry and chooses to steal a piece of candy due to the hunger, something which they would not normally do. But chronic low self-control is when an individual participates in such activities regularly, something which becomes a central component to their life. In addition to this, a some supporting theory states that self-control reduces in large groups and in large communities more so than in the individual. This is something colloquially referred to as peer pressure, in which an individual who might normally not exhibit low self-control is influenced by the loss of control of the individuals around them which leads to participation in group criminal activities.

While this theory does have a strong foundation in psychology it is clearly not comprehensive enough to thoroughly understand and mitigate the high risk of criminal behavior.  It has been argued that the major weakness to this is the fact that self-control was not defined separately from the tendency to conduct crime. By not doing this individually, the authors suggest that low self-control and a propensity to engage in criminal activities are one and the same.

Culliney, T.W. “Notes On Predatory Behavi Our In Rhinacloa Forticornis (Hemiptera: Miridae )”. Curr. Agri. Res. Jour 2.1 (2014): 01-04. Web.
Hagan, Frank E. Introduction To Criminology. Print.
Kudlac, Christopher S. Fair Or Foul. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 2010. Print.
Lee, Jason W and Jeffrey C Lee. Sport And Criminal Behavior. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2009. Print.
Walsh, A and Jonathan Bolen. The Neurobiology Of Criminal Behavior. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2012. Print.
Wasserman, David T and Robert Samuel Wachbroit. Genetics And Criminal Behavior. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.
Yaffe, Gideon. “In Defense Of Criminal Possession”. Criminal Law and Philosophy (2014): n. pag. Web.

For additional professional research paper writing help on criminology topics you should visit our research paper service –

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Criminology Questions & Topics

(Topics for possible opinion papers, analysis papers, research papers...or just for discussion)
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?

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