This is an OPTIONAL project.

It counts 25% of your grade if

you choose to do the term project


Sociology 3313 - Criminology


                         GUIDELINES FOR TERM PROJECTS


1.   Build as many strong "bridges" as you can between whatever you are

     focusing on and course materials (readings, lectures, etc.).  

    (You do not need to do any outside reading unless we have not covered

     your topic.)  If you do not do this, the paper will not count towards

     your grade.


2.   Your paper should be based on a field observation, an interview,

     or your own field study of something, rather than being the

     traditional comparison of books grabbed from the library.


3.   The subject must have something to do with criminology!


4.   The topic should be as personally interesting to you as possible.


(Note: The above appear in the order of my sense of first priorities.)


     (Note: If you do not center your paper on a "field experience" –

      i.e., NOT a pure library research project --  





You may wish to write about a visit to a type of law enforcement or correction setting you have never experienced before, or some other type of an agency dealing with criminology.  One good way to organize such a paper is to write down your expectations before you make your visit and then write up your paper in the form of evaluations which draw on course materials of how reality differed from your preconceived notions.


You might wish to conduct your own small research project into criminology.  For example, you might want to survey attitudes of police officers compared to their administrators or to college students.


You may wish to write a paper on the effect of some educational process on people who are working in the occupational area you plan to enter.  For example, you might want to talk to a probation officer and try to relate his remarks to course materials.  Or you might wish to visit a courtroom and see if it differs from what you would expect.




Your paper should be about 10 – 12 pages typewritten. Longer ones are okay, but will not get any special points for length. 


Your paper should reflect the fact that you have taken this course.  In other words, a large part of your grade will be determined by the extent to which you integrate your paper with specific references to course readings and lectures.


      Your paper should have a citation format that refers frequently to specific page references.  The particular citation style is up to you.  If in doubt, cite sources often rather than take a chance on plagiarism.  You do not have to cite lectures, or you can just write something like “As we discussed in lecture on December 2nd …”


      A few spelling errors or errors in grammar or composition will not cause points to be taken off.  However, if there are many such errors, I reserve the right to take off one or two letter grades so you may want to have someone you respect academically proofread your paper.


      You should have a brief discussion of the limitations of your methodology and the limits on the generalizability of your results.  Tell how you would redo the study to make it better if you had all the time and money you needed.


      Don't forget to include the SOCIOLOGY!  For example, discuss the effects of traditional sociological variables like race, socioeconomic status, gender, age, rural-urban differences, etc. where appropriate.


      If you interview or question people, be sure to tell us who was interviewed -- i.e., what is their race, age, gender, educational background, etc.?  And under what circumstances did the interview take place?


DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA as a primary reference.  It can often be useful for content and scholarly

references.  However, by it's very nature a "wiki" invites contributions from persons who are

sometimes not fully qualified on a topic. 


You need to turn in a PAPER copy of your final paper, emailing to your professor is ordinarily

not acceptable. 


      Finally, be creative since you have a rare chance to do so, and I hope you find you enjoy your project.


Note: It is the responsibility of each student to keep a backup copy of their paper, either on printed paper or electronic media.