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Reaction Paper Supplemental Instructions:

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Students will be required to submit a *3 page* (double-spaced, one inch margins, 12-pt Times New Roman font) reaction paper to a peer-reviewed, original research criminological article taken from an academic journal.

Using the analytic approach we have developed in class, make sure you select a paper where the author is analyzing data in an original way to make an argument. Make sure the source is peer-reviewed.

Your task in this paper will be to identify the author’s main argument, and critique the quality of the development of the argument in the body of his or her paper (i.e., is the evidence presented adequate? is the argument related to a theoretical worldview?).

***make sure you attach an e-copy of the article you have used.

Steps to the paper – follow these steps to do your assignment:

1. Find an academic peer-reviewed journal article that pertains to a subject within criminology that interests you (which relates to North America). This could be: Developments in policing, courts, corrections, young offenders, Aboriginal justice/issues, racialization etc. Note that you must find article with an empirical topic, and not just a conceptual review/theoretical piece.

2. Read the paper carefully.

3. Identify the general theoretical orientation of the author (whether or not it is explicitly stated by the author). Is this author deploying an individualistic (micro) or larger structural (macro) perspective? Are they more consensual or conflictual in their thinking?

4. How explicit is the author in identifying their theoretical position?

5. Does the author make any policy recommendations, and how do these recommendations relate to their theoretical position?

6. Does the author present sufficient evidence in their paper to justify their theoretical position?

7. What kinds of data might they need to make their theoretical position stronger (i.e., to back up their theoretical argument)?

8. If you were going to do research in this area, what kinds of questions would you ask, what kinds of data would you look for, and what kinds of theory would inform your research (what are the next logical steps for research, based on what you found interesting, but a little bit under-developed in terms of evidence, in the paper you have reviewed)?

Once you have thought through the above, you are ready to write up your three pages.


1. Tell us what the focus of your chosen author is.

2. Make an argument (A): is the author’s focus macro or micro, and consensual or conflictual?

3. Tell us what kind of evidence the author presents.

4. Make an argument (B): is the evidence very strong, adequate, or inadequate for the arguments that the author has raised?

This should be about two thirds of a page. (/10)

Body of the paper:

1. Following the same order as the points made in the introduction, prove your two arguments . Start with (A): Provide evidence from the paper to substantiate your claim that the author is either macro or micro and consensual or conflictual. (/5)

Just under a page.

2. Provide evidence from the paper to substantiate your argument (B) that the author’s evidence is strong, adequate, or inadequate for their arguments. (/5)

Just under a page.

3.  In light of your critique of the author’s work, spend the last half page to page of the assignment outlining the most important next steps to take in that domain of research. The steps you recommend should either be things that the author missed, or, interesting arguments that the author made that did not have adequate evidence. You should indicate what kinds of evidence you would go after to develop the next steps of research you have identified. (/5)

Total: three pages. (/25)

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