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Criminal Justice Theories: Intro

Criminologists utilize 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.


Criminologists use theories (sociology theories; psychology theories; etc.) to explore issues that have been identified in the criminal justice system through a specific lens.  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. Consult with your professor!

Research 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, access these eBooks through the Library Catalog.



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 check out ...


  • The Criminal Justice - General Introduction research guide, is designed to give you a good foundation for researching Criminal Justice topics.
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