Criminology Terms

Criminology Terms

Terms

Causality.  
A concept more applicable to the hard sciences. Does the appearance of X cause
effect Y? In a perfect relationship, the appearance of X would always cause the effect Y. each
and every time the relationship is seen.
Empirical Validity.
This is the most important factor in evaluating a theory, and means that
the theory has been supported by research evidence.
Ideology.
A belief system and a set of core values or philosophy. In a pure sense, an ideology
states or explains how things should be, and a theory explains how things actually are.
Internal Logical Consistency.
A theory needs to be presented in a logical manner and to have
clearly stated propositions that agree with or do not contradict one another. Restated, does the
theory make logical and consistent sense?
Macro.
Macro theories of criminal behavior explain the “big picture” of crime—crime across
the world or across a society. They attempt to answer why there are variations in group rates of
crime. Other authors have used the terms “epidemiology” or social structural theories.
Micro.
Micro theories of criminal behavior focus on a small group of offenders or on an
individual crime. They attempt to answer why some individuals are more likely than others to
commit crime. Other authors have used the terms “individual conduct” or processual theories.
Necessary Condition.
This means that X must be present to produce effect Y. If X is notpresent, Y will not occur.
Parsimony.
This refers to how many propositions, steps, or statements are involved. How
simple is the theory?
Policy Implications.
If the theory is empirically valid, what solutions are suggested.
Probabilistic Causality.
A concept more applicable to the social sciences. X is more or less
likely to cause effect Y. Restated, X tends to cause Y.
Scope.
Refers to how much or how many types of crime or deviance the theory covers.
Sufficient Condition.  
Each time X is present, effect Y will...

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