The term paper is an opportunity for the student to study a particular criminal case and to explore the sociological concepts you have learned in this class and to apply them to a real-life situation.
Your case study is to be of a major criminal case that occurred in the United States sometime in history. Some examples would be the O.J. Simpson case, the Timothy McVeigh case, the Great American Tragedy, etc.
Information about the case can be obtained from the Internet, newspaper and magazine articles, and personal observations and opinions. Major emphasis on marking the paper will be on the formation of a valid opinion. I am most concerned in your opinion about the case, not on the content of your research. Your research will be of value in backing up your opinion, regardless of what that opinion may be.
Part 1 of your paper should include a sociological description of the crime and include:
The act or event.
What criminal code was violated in the case?
Who were the offenders, who were the victims?
Social reactions to the event
How was the behavior rationalized by the defendant?
This part of the paper will require research as outlined above. I fully expect all of your research to be documented and properly cited in the text and the bibliography according to APA standards.
Part 2 of your paper should include the theories you have learned in class, your readings in and out of class, and how you have applied those theories to your particular case. Based on what you have learned in this and other classes, I am interested in your opinion of what caused this particular crime, how the case was handled in the media, and how the outcome of the case came about.
Generally, you should apply several theories to the case as in most cases, you can find documentation for several theories.
Was the defendant found guilty or innocent? What was the social status of the victim and defendant, and did that play a role in the guilt or innocence of the defendant?
While the length of the paper is not really relevant to a quality paper, I would find it difficult for anyone to gather enough research and apply what you have learned in less than ten pages. I would like the paper typewritten and doublespaced with an appropriate title page.
Be sure to focus on why he committed this crime.