Contemporary Issues in Criminological Research


The module explores contemporary theoretical approaches in criminology and their application to key issues that characterise contemporary criminal justice policy and practice.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with enhanced knowledge and understanding of a range of theories and explanations of crime which can be critically applied to the study of deviant behaviour and the administration of criminal justice.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Critically apply theoretical approaches and interpretations to key issues, strategies and interventions in contemporary criminal justice practice and policy.

2.  Confidently communicate information and research findings about crime, victimisation and responses to crime.

3.  Confidently express the distinctive nature of criminology and the administration of criminal justice through collaborative and individual work on solving complex social problems.

4.  Critically evaluate a range of contemporary theories in criminology, confidently recognising their interdependence with criminal justice policy and practice.

Indicative Content

1 Contemporary Issues in criminal justice policy and practice

Victimology and the 'victim'; hate crime; zemiology; restorative justice - 1

2 Contemporary Issues in criminal justice policy and practice

Community safety; anti-social behaviour; restorative justice - 2

3 Insecure State

The insecure nature of `policing' and law making.

4 Antisocial Behaviour

Key issues, debates and challenges regarding the regulation of antisocial behaviour.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module will encourage students to acquire depth of knowledge and understanding in criminological theory, policy and practice through ambitious enquiry. Students will access all materials for seminar discussions and presentations independently using IT resources and will be encouraged to critically analyse and evaluate a range of complex theoretical approaches in criminology as a means of enhancing graduate attributes particularly in developing confident thinking, at this level. Readings will form the basis of discussions in seminars enabling students to share knowledge and reflect on the nature, context and future direction of the discipline of criminology. Collaborative group debates on a range of theoretical approaches and criminal justice interventions are included in the module. Students will prepare for these debates independently through use of IT and Blackboard, drawing on their resources to inform their participation in collaborative debate. The module is assessed by one examination and one essay to help students demonstrate competence in critical thinking, analysis and synthesis in understanding contemporary issues in criminological theory and its application to criminal justice policy and practice. Approximately 50% of the module in each semester is enquiry-based learning evidenced by students answering and debating specific reflexive questions and topics associated with relevant reading material.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 20
Tutorial/Seminar 10
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 4
Assessment 30
Independent 136

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.