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Criminal Justice Theories: Intro

Criminologists utilize many types of theories to analyze an issue or test a hypothesis. This introductory guide directs students to books that will assist them in learning about some of these theories. Links will connect to the Library's catalog.


Criminologists use theories (sociology theories; psychology theories; etc.) to explore issues that have been identified in the criminal justice system or to explain criminality.  This guide will point students toward resources that will assist in learning about some of these theories.

Make sure the theory you choose to explore aligns with your assignment requirements.

Tip! Remember there is no one "perfect" theory for a situation. A question that has you looking at an organizational theory might also require research into a sociological or legal theory.

Below are two books that provide overviews - exploring various theories within the context of Criminology:



Do you need a quick snapshot - a summary - of a concept or theory, just to get going? Read an encyclopedia entry!  The Library has hundreds of encyclopedias. Below is a short selection. If you want to search for encyclopedias: from the main library website click on the tab labelled "Catalog" - take a look at the illustration.

Librarian - Asst Prof


  • The Criminal Justice - General Introduction research guide, is designed to give you a good foundation for researching Criminal Justice topics.
  • My contact information  is listed above, if you have a question or need to make an appointment don't hesitate to contact me!