Criminal Justice Research Topics

Criminal Justice Research 2The study of criminal justice and criminology has experienced tremendous growth over the last years, which is evident, in part, by the widespread popularity and increased enrollment in criminology and criminal justice departments at the undergraduate and graduate levels, both across the United States and internationally. An evolutionary paradigmatic shift has accompanied this criminological surge in definitional, disciplinary, and pragmatic terms. Though long identified as a leading sociological specialty area, criminology has emerged as a stand-alone discipline in its own right, one that continues to grow and is clearly here to stay. Today, criminology remains inherently theoretical but is also far more applied in focus and thus more connected to the academic and practitioner concerns of criminal justice and related professional service fields. Contemporary study of criminology and criminal justice is also increasingly interdisciplinary and thus features a broad variety of research topics on the causes, effects, and responses to crime.

This collection provides overviews of nearly 100 key criminal justice research topics comprising traditional criminology and its more modern interdisciplinary outgrowths.

Criminology and Criminal Justice Research Topics

Research Topics on the Discipline of Criminology

1. Criminology as Social Science.
2. Criminology and Public Policy.
3. History and Evolution of Criminology.

Research Topics on Correlates of Crime and Victimization

4. Age and Crime.
5. Aggression and Crime.
6. Citizenship and Crime.
7. Education and Crime.
8. Employment and Crime.
9. Families and Crime.
10. Gender and Crime.
11. Guns and Crime.
12. Immigration and Crime.
13. Intelligence and Crime.
14. Mental Illness and Crime.
15. Neighborhood Influences on Crime.
16. Peers and Crime.
17. Race/Ethnicity and Crime.
18. Religion and Crime.
19. Social Class and Crime.
20. Victimization.
21. Weather and Crime.

Research Topics on Theories of Crime and Justice

22. Biological Theory.
23. Classical Criminology.
24. Convict Criminology.
25. Criminal Justice Theories.
26. Critical Criminology.
27. Cultural Criminology.
28. Cultural Transmission Theory.
29. Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories.
30. Feminist Criminology.
31. Labeling and Symbolic Interaction Theories.
32. Life Course Criminology.
33. Psychological Theories of Crime.
34. Routine Activities.
35. Self-Control Theory.
36. Social Construction of Crime.
37. Social Control Theory.
38. Social Disorganization Theory.
39. Social Learning Theory.
40. Strain Theories.
41. Theoretical Integration.

Research Topics on Measurement and Research in Criminology

42. Citation and Content Analysis.
43. Crime Classification Systems: NCVS, NIBRS, and UCR.
44. Crime Mapping.
45. Crime Reports and Statistics.
46. Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) and Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM).
47. Edge Ethnography.
48. Experimental Criminology.
49. Fieldwork in Criminology: Observation and Interviews.
50. Program Evaluation.
51. Quantitative Criminology.

Research Topics on Types of Crime

52. Campus Crime.
53. Child Abuse.
54. Cybercrime.
55. Domestic Violence.
56. Elder Abuse.
57. Environmental Crime.
58. Hate Crime.
59. Homicide.
60. Human Trafficking.
61. Identity Theft.
62. Juvenile Delinquency.
63. Organizational Crime.
64. Prostitution.
65. Robbery.
66. Sex Offenses.
67. Terrorism.
68. Theft and Shoplifting.
69. White-Collar Crime.
70. Wildlife Crime.

Research Topics in Criminology and Justice System

71. Capital Punishment.
72. Community Corrections.
73. Crime Prevention.
74. Criminal Courts.
75. Criminal Justice Ethics.
76. Criminal Law.
77. Criminal Specialization.
78. Cultural Arts and Delinquency Reduction Programming.
79. Drug Courts.
80. Drugs and the Criminal Justice System.
81. Felon Disenfranchisement.
82. Forensic Science.
83. Juvenile Courts.
84. Juvenile Justice.
85. Mass Media, Crime, and Justice.
86. Offender Classification.
87. Offender Reentry.
88. Police–Community Relations.
89. Prison.
90. Problem-Solving Courts.
91. Public Health and Crime.
92. Racial Profiling.
93. Restorative Justice.
94. Sentencing.
95. The Police.
96. Victim Services.
97. Wrongful Convictions.
98. Youth Gangs.

Criminal Justice Research 1Because just listing suggestions for criminal justice research topics will be of limited value for students we have included short topical overviews and suggestions for narrowing those topics and divided them into 6 parts as in the list above. If you’re interested in some topic in the list follow the links below for more information and research paper examples.

Example papers on these topics have been designed to serve as sources of model papers for most criminological topics. These research papers were written by several well-known discipline figures and emerging younger scholars who provide authoritative overviews coupled with insightful discussion that will quickly familiarize researchers and students alike with fundamental and detailed information for each criminal justice topic.