CRI-10010 - Understanding Crime
Coordinator: Clare Griffiths Tel: +44 1782 7 33597
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

This module introduces criminology as a discipline and equips students with the skills needed to study the subject successfully at university level.
Early lectures and tutorials are concerned with the development and current scope of the discipline of criminology, and with the development of basic study, research, writing and referencing skills. Later on the focus shifts to the development of different theoretical approaches in criminology, and to their respective strengths and weaknesses as ways of understanding particular types of crime. The module also contains a number of lectures and tutorials dedicated to issues of measurement in criminology and some basic numerical concepts such as the idea of a 'rate'. The production of crime statistics is considered along with alternative ways of measuring crime, such as the use of victimization surveys and self-report studies.
In addition to traditional lectures, learning activities in sessions for all students include the use of an electronic voting system to stimulate discussion, encourage active learning, identify learning needs and provide feedback to students on their progress. Other sessions involve the self, peer and tutor assessment of written work. Tutorial activities include specially designed exercises, group discussions and presentations. Use will also be made of the University's virtual learning environment (KLE) to give access to a range of learning resources and facilitate online discussions.

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the discipline of criminology; different ways of measuring crime; the development of various theoretical perspectives in criminology; and the use of those perspectives in understanding crime as a social problem.
The module also aims to introduce students to studying criminology at university level and help them to develop the skills which they will need to do so effectively by: clarifying expectations regarding assessed work; providing guidance on avoiding plagiarism by using the Harvard system of citation and referencing; developing information collection and management skills (including the use of the University Library); and supporting effective participation in a range of learning activities including lectures, tutorials, private study, online learning and use of the KLE.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Recognise and describe the distinctive characteristics of criminology as a discipline in relation to other disciplines and other, everyday understandings of crime, including those communicated and informed by representations of crime in the media: 2
Distinguish between the principal approaches to the measurement of crime and victimisation and appreciate their use in relation to different forms of crime: 2
Recognise the main theoretical traditions in criminology and illustrate their application in understanding different forms of crime: 1,2
Recognise and illustrate the impact of processes of social change such as globalisation on crime and responses to it: 2
Recognise different approaches to social scientific research (including comparative analysis) and their usefulness in investigating different forms of crime and victimisation: 1,2
Identify and summarise the main points of key texts in criminology: 1
Make use of research evidence, other data and some basic criminological theories in developing arguments and making judgements about criminological issues: 1
Present written work in criminology in an appropriate scholarly style using the Harvard system of citation and referencing: 1
Recognise the relationships between crime and other social problems and between crime and victimisation and social divisions based on age, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and (dis)ability: 2

Study hours

11 hours of lectures
10 hours of seminar contact
21 hours of directed preparation for lectures and seminars via engagement with online asynchronous activities and information specific to each
4 hours on completion of online task
104 hours of private study (including additional self directed preparatory reading and related preparation for lectures and seminars, preparation,
planning and additional study for online tasks assessment).

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Review weighted 80%
1500 word review of research paper
Students will be expected to write a 1500 word review of one of a number of selected journal articles or other papers based on empirical research. Detailed guidance will be provided on what students are expected to consider in completing this assessment.

2: Online Tasks weighted 20%
A time limited open book assessment to be completed by students via the KLE.
Students will complete an open book assessment administered via the KLE, which will feature a range of problems, short answer questions and related activities that will require students to demonstrate breadth of engagement with the topics covered on the module as a whole. Students will be able to refer to lecture and seminar notes, readings and related resources for the module when formulating their responses. These tasks and activities are designed to ensure that student identify and reflect on the bodies of knowledge and theories they are being asked to engage with rather than simply 'looking up' and reproducing information. In order to give the students sufficient time to reflect and engage fully with the nature of the tasks and complete the assessment, the time available to complete this assessment is 28 hours but students will not be expected to invest more than 4 hours of active-working time on this assessment. During the agreed assessment period the open book assessment will be shared with students via the KLE at 0900am (Keele local time) on the first working day until 1300pm (Keele local time) on the second working day, by which point students must submit their attempt. Students will attempt a set of tasks assembled randomly for each student from a bank of activities/tasks/questions, so that students each attempt a unique assessment. The combination of this and the 28 hour time limit are partly intended to discourage collusion.