Study Guides for Comps

 Keep in mind that comps are a multiple choice test and these are not multiple choice questions.  However, if you can answer these questions you should be able to answer the multiple choice versions within comps.

Research Methods

  1. Define and discuss the Snow Ball sample.  Where would this type of sampling be appropriate?  How would we interpret the reliability and validity?  Use examples from the literature.
  2. Evaluation research plays a big part in criminal justice policy.  Discuss this application.  Give examples of evaluation research from the literature.  Be sure to cover all aspects including the politics involved.
  3. Design two methodological models:  One (Qualitative) and the other (Quantitative).  Use any type of example you wish!  Discuss issues of data collection, sampling, reliability, validity, ethics, and lessons that could be learned from possible inaccuracies of your methodology. 
  4. Define and explain the rational of a “snowball” sample.  Design and discuss a research project that would utilize a “snowball” sampling strategy. 
  5. Discuss the philosophy of probability sampling vs. non-probability sampling.  Please cover all aspects of why and how various samples are drawn and the positive and negative attributes of each.
  6. Define and provide examples (good and bad) of validity and reliability
  7. Define and fully discuss the process of “operationalization” in research.  Be sure to include a description of how the process evolves from theory, as well as, implications for both validity and reliability.
  8. Using Laud Humphrey’s Tea Room Trade as an example, define and fully discuss the implications of “ethics” and “politics” in research.
  9. You are responsible for the evaluation of police patrol officers for promotion.  Construct a workable evaluation methodology.  Include sample questions/questioners, etc.  Describe the whole process and the concepts and theoretical foundations for your testing.  What are you looking for and why?  Remember that a promotion evaluation could be challenged in court if conducted poorly.  Justify all of your methodology with this in mind.  Your conclusion should be a critical examination of the flaws of your plan..
  10. Using the Marxian perspective of class conflict, construct a research methodology that would test this perspective.  Describe and define all examples of your hypothesis and all forms of operationalization.  Be sure to cite any previous examples of this research.  Your conclusions should reflect self-examination of the flaws of your methods.

Homeland Security

  1. Discuss the flaws of our security for the country before the terrorist attacks and what Homeland Security is doing to overcome these flaws.  Are these changes making us more safe?  Are they doing something else for us?
  1. How does the new Department of Homeland Security affect our response to other national problems such as natural disasters?
  1. Discuss the need for Homeland Security to work with other agencies within the country to prepare for and respond to future terrorist attacks - who are these other agencies and what would their roles be?
  1. Discuss some of the new technologies that are being used to help with Homeland Security.  Assess their potential to keep us safe, and their potential to have other consequences - negative or positive - on our society.
  1. What gaps exist in our national security and how are we filling them through Homeland Security?  Do you think we focus too much in one area and not enough in others?  Which areas?
  1. Discuss the role that businesses and other private entities can play in Homeland Security.  Are we making effective use of these potential resources?
  1. Why do the various police and intelligence agencies fail to share information or work together to fight crime and terrorism?
  1. Discuss the differences in the threats posed by domestic and international terrorists.  Is the police role different for these different types of threats?
  1. Discuss the role of state and local law enforcement under Homeland Security?
  1. Discuss the threat Bin Laden and al Qaeda posed to the US before 9-11.
  1. Discuss the idea of incident command and how this helps police respond to both terrorist and non-terrorist situations.
  1. Discuss the Patriot Act - its various sections and the legal challenges each section faces
  1. Discuss the various pieces of legislation that create and define Homeland Security and its parts, duties, etc.
  1. Discuss the 9/11 Commission and its work/findings.
  1. Discuss the concept of critical infrastructure – components, threats, methods of security, etc.
  1. Discuss the Department of Homeland security and its major directorates.
  1. Discuss the issues surrounding security at our nation’s borders.  What methods are we using to enhance that security and what vulnerabilities remain?


  1. Discuss the similarities and differences between the Classical School and the Positivist School of criminological thought.  Include the assumptions of each school, the theoretical leaders of each school, and the societal influences on each school.
  2. Discuss why the Positivist School moved from biological to environmental explanations of crime.
  3. There are 5 major paradigms in criminological theory.  Define each and give a detailed example of a theory that fits in each one.
  4. How does Criminological theory fit into public policy on crime.  Use specific examples to demonstrate this role.
  5. Discuss the Chicago School of Criminological theory.  Who were its leaders and how was this school of thought different from other schools of thought.
  6. Discuss the anomic tendencies of the American dream and how these tendencies could influence criminal behavior.
  7. A.  Discuss theory formulation and criteria for evaluating a theory.  B.  Now choose a theory and evaluate it according to those criteria.
  8. Biological theories have largely been discounted, however they represented several important advances in our study of criminal behavior.  Discuss these advances and the reasons why these theories have been discounted.
  9. Choose the theory you think best explains why persons commit murder.  Justify your choice.
  10. What is an integrated theory and why do we have them?  Use an example to explain.
  11. Choose an integrated theory to critique.  Does this theory represent an advance over the individual theories that it is made up of?  How?
  12. How did the women's movement influence criminological theory?
  13. What is the concept of social support and how does it contribute to promoting or preventing delinquency?
  14. Which theory best explains juvenile delinquency?  What does this theory say about stopping or preventing this delinquency?
  15. Which theory best explains adult criminality?  What does this theory say about stopping or preventing this criminality?
  16. Describe Marxist theories.  What do these theories say about fixing the crime problem?  Is this a realistic solution?  Why or why not?
  17. Describe in detail the theory you find most convincing for explaining crime.  What does this theory say about solving the crime problem?
  18. Describe Strain theory in detail including the variety of different strain theories that exist.
  19. There are three major disciplines from which Criminological theory is taken.  Describe in general terms the differences in theories that come from each discipline and then choose a particular theory from each discipline to describe in detail.
  20. Discuss the following types of theories, including a summary of the varieties of each:  Learning theories, Cultural Transmission theories, and Anomie based theories.
  21. What is the purpose of Criminal Justice theories?  What do they explain and how are they useful in the real world?
  22. Most theories Most theories explain why people commit crimes. Describe in detail a theory that explains why people do not commit crimes.
  23. Theories are often based on a particular conception of mankind. Describe the nature of mankind used in deterrence theory. Explain the details of deterrence theory and evaluate its potential to lessen crime.