Reading 1 for Proposal Assignment 8 –
Writing the First Draft of Your Literature Review
After preparing your annotated outline (i.e. organizing the annotations in each section and subsection) and
developing effective communications strategies (e.g. tables, graphs or charts) you are now ready to begin
actually writing the first draft. Here are a few tips.
1. Remove everything from your desk (or screen) but your annotated outline.
2. Reformat each of the sections (in bold) and subsections (in italics) so you will be able to keep up with
where you are at during the process (or format them with a style of your choosing). For now these
headings are just a guide.
3. Within each section or subsection
a. Re-read the annotations to reacquaint yourself with the information.
b. Using transitional phrases and sentences rewrite the section or subsection to summarize the
research findings within that section or subsection.
c. Try to summarize similar findings from multiple researchers into a single sentence and list the
studies (Author’s last name and year of publication) at the end of each summary.
i. If there is only 1 author, it should look like this: (Hirschi, 1969) in parentheses, or in-text
it looks like: In his doctoral dissertation work, Hirschi (1969) formulated social bond
ii. If there are two authors: (Sampson & Laub, 2005), or in-text: Sampson and Laub (2005)
described the interaction between the individual and their environment…
iii. If there are three or more authors, and it appears in your writing for the first time:
(Sampson, Laub, & Wimer, 2006), and each time thereafter: (Sampson et al., 2006), intext: Sampson, Laub, and Wimer (2006) found that the transition of marriage in
iv. Refer to the APA Publication Manual for additional information
d. Incorporate the annotations along with their parenthetical and/or textual citations as you write.
e. After finishing move on to the next section or subsection.
4. Try to avoid starting a major section with the information from its first subsection. Instead write a brief
description of what will be discussed in that section as a short introduction.
5. Don’t be reluctant to either relocate or remove an annotation during the writing process if necessary.
6. When all the sections and subsections are written go back through the document, revising as you do, to
ensure the manuscript is readable and logical.
7. Revise and/or delete section and subsection headings in accordance with APA format.
8. Continue to revise the manuscript until you are satisfied with its quality.
A Few Writing Tips
Use active rather than passive verbs.
▪ Mandatory arrest policies reduce the frequency of domestic violence incidents.
▪ The frequency of domestic violence incidents is reduced by mandatory arrest policies.
Use the present rather than the past tense.
▪ These researchers find that….
▪ These researchers found that….
Watch noun/verb agreement. The noun and its verb in a single sentence must both be either
o Singular, or
▪ The mandatory arrest policies state….
▪ The mandatory arrest policy states….
Write short rather than long sentences.
o Sentences that take up three or more full lines are too long. This one contains 59 words.
▪ While mandatory arrest policies have their place it is important to consider the value of
police discretion in the decision making process because not all domestic violence
incidents are the same, what works in one situation may be a disaster in another, so the
police officer must have the maximum level of discretion when making an enforcement
o Two, or even three, short sentences are better than one long one. This one communicates the
same information in only 43 words.
▪ Mandatory arrest policies can be an effective enforcement tool. It is, however, important
to consider not all domestic violence incidents are the same. Because of this police
officers must be afforded the discretion to decide for themselves the most appropriate
Don’t write to impress. Avoid the use of complicated words, qualifying phrases and parenthetical
clauses when you write. Impress your reader with what you know about the topic, not with your
o This sentence impresses nobody.
▪ While the causes of domestic violence are diverse and as complicated as the relationships
between cohabiters, society has an obligation to protect victims of violence regardless of
the context within which the victimization occurs.
o This one is more like it.
▪ The causes of domestic violence are complicated. It is important for society to protect
individuals who are victimized by violence.
Write with the audience in mind. Scholarly writing is different than magazine writing because their
audiences are dissimilar. Use words and phrases that are understandable and have relevance to your
Tell the story. Often new scholarly writers are reluctant to write conversationally, or as if they are
telling a story. This is probably because much of what they see in academic journals is formally written.
Avoid this if possible. Write the literature review (and the rest of the research report for that matter) as
if you are communicating your ideas to a friend.
Give yourself some time. Don’t wait until the last minute to write your literature review. Wait a day or
so after you’ve prepared the annotated outline before you attempt the first draft of the literature review.
Write the first draft and then leave it alone for a day or so before revising it. Then look over it, revising
if you must, the day a few days before it is due just to be sure you have it right.
Use the ‘buddy system’. Find a classmate or friend willing to read your manuscript and offer
suggestions for improving it. Pick somebody who writes well. Many colleges and universities have free
writing clinics and tutors. Pick somebody who is not afraid of being frank about your writing. Your
reviewer should be comfortable enough to be constructively critical of your work without risking your
Reading 2 for Proposal Assignment 8 – Creating a Theoretical Context
Inclusion of theory might apply to your work and there may be instances when it will be required
for you to incorporate theoretical propositions into your work. For now, just read the rest of this
document. After reading your draft literature review, you may see that I asked you to include
some theory into your revision.
A theory is a cause and effect statement that attempts to predict the outcome of events or
conditions. Theory is an important part of the research process. Research is often done to either
develop or test a theory about human or social behavior. Inductive research begins with a single
observation of human or social behavior and ends with the creation of a theory to explain why an
individual or group of individuals behaved in the way they did. Deductive research begins with
a theory and culminates with a series of observations that tests the viability of the theory.
Either way, theory is necessary in criminal justice research. Well developed and tested theories
communicate what we believe to be true about human and social behavior. When research is
able to demonstrate the viability of a theory the researcher provides valuable insight into human
behavior. This insight guides future researchers as well as influences public policy. The
following is a demonstration of how a researcher identified the theoretical context of a research
project on mandatory arrest policies.
The researcher developed the following question.
Do policies requiring the police to arrest individuals suspected of domestic violence reduce the
incidence of domestic violence in a community?
What theory proposes that individuals will refrain from certain behaviors when the penalty for
getting caught (in this case an arrest and likely prosecution) is relatively certain? Assuming
individuals will behave in ways to avoid punishment one might suggests that specific deterrence
or rational choice theory would be a viable explanation.
Let’s suppose our researcher developed a different question?
Do policies requiring potential domestic abusers to submit to rigorous marriage counseling or
anger management programs reduce the incidence of domestic violence in a community?
This question makes a different assumption about human behavior, doesn’t it? It assumes
individuals who have a tendency to be domestic abusers can develop pro-social behaviors when
exposed to appropriate training. Maybe the theoretical context of this question would fit within
the social learning or cognitive learning theory traditions.
Normally, a researcher’s theory is presented early on in the research report. Ideally, this should
be done either just before or just after the literature review. Because theoretical statements and
hypotheses are linked it is usually advantageous to present then in the same section of the report.
Regarded as the “forgotten few,” (Bergsmann, 1989) girls involved in the juvenile justice
system represent an underserved population at high risk for long-term, deleterious consequences
(Lederman, Dakof, Larrea, & Li, 2004). Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have
demonstrated the daunting outcomes they face as adults including drug addiction, prenatal
substance use, termination of parental rights, incarceration, mental and physical health problems,
suicide, HIV and STDs, and victimization from various forms of interpersonal violence (Battle,
Zlotnick, Najavits, & Gutierrez, 2003; Braithwaite, Treadwell, & Arriola, 2005; Messina &
Grella, 2006; Poehlmann, 2005; Stanton-Tindall, Duvall, Leukefeld, & Oser, 2007; Vainik,
2008; Teplin, Abram, McClelland, Dulcan, & Mericle, 2002). These adverse experiences
associated with female delinquency raise important public health, child advocacy, and juvenile
justice concerns (Lederman et al., 2004), especially given the growing presence of female
adolescents in the juvenile justice system (Zahn et al., 2010).
In light of these issues, a number of important questions regarding juvenile female
offenders arise: 1) What is the scope of the problem? 2) What risks do girls experience that
places them at a greater likelihood of offending? and 3) Will a gender-specific intervention
designed to address these risks be effective in ameliorating their health, mental health, and
delinquency outcomes? The purpose of this article is to respond to these questions, and in doing
so, will first highlight the growing involvement of girls in the justice system. Then a discussion
of the factors associated with female delinquency follows. Lastly, and most importantly, a
research study investigating the effectiveness of a gender-specific intervention designed for
detained adolescent females is proposed.
Scope of the Problem: The Increasing Trend of Female Delinquency
The female presence in the juvenile justice system indicates growth as girls currently
account for nearly a third (29%) of juvenile arrests (Puzzanchera, 2013), but this was not the case
in decades prior (Feld, 2009). For the most part, female delinquents have typically committed
less serious offenses with less frequency when compared to male delinquents. Females still
constitute the majority of status offenders, but recent findings in the past decade show a greater
involvement of girls in the justice system.
A recent account from a primary official data source [FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting
Program (UCR); Puzzanchera, 2013], indicates that despite overall declines in rates of juvenile
arrests for a variety of crimes, rates of female arrests for several offense categories either
increased or declined less than males (e.g., aggravated assault, simple assault, larceny-theft,
vandalism, drug abuse violations, and driving under the influence). For example, in 1980 the
juvenile violent crime arrest rate for males was 8 times greater than the rate for females, but by
2010, the rate was only 4 times greater for males, signaling a narrowing of the gap in arrests for
violent crimes between males and females. More specifically, between 1980 and the mid-1990s,
the female rate for aggravated assault increased by more than 170%, and although the rates for
both males and females declined through 2010, the relative decline in arrests for males was
higher (57%) than for females (40%). Similarly, for simple assault rates, between 1980 and
2010, the increase in the rate for juvenile females far surpassed the rate for males (278% vs.
83%), resulting in an overall increase in the proportion of simple assault arrests for females (21%
to 35%) during this time period (Puzzanchera, 2013).
Troubling rates of increased arrest for juvenile females are also evident for property
crimes. Between 2006 and 2009, the male rate of arrest in overall property crimes declined 3%,
while the female rate of arrest increased 25%. Taking into account specific property crimes,
between 1980 and 2010, burglary arrest rates decreased more for males (75%), than for females
(52%), and the overall increase in the proportion of larceny-thefts for females had grown from
26% to 45% during this time period (Puzzanchera, 2013).
With regards to drug/alcohol-related arrests, juvenile rates also indicate gender
differences [29% decline for males from a peak in 1994, and a smaller decline of 15% for
females from a peak in 2004 (Puzzanchera & Adams, 2012)]. For driving under the influence
arrests, the rate for juvenile males steadily decreased 53% from 1999 through 2010, while the
female arrest rate more than doubled between 1994 and 2006. Although rates of female arrest
for driving under the influence generally declined through 2010, the rate was still 37% above its
low point in 1994 (OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book, 2012).
Further gender comparisons using victim-reported data independent of the legal system,
[e.g., National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)] indicate rates of change over time for
females that parallel those found in official statistics (Heimer & Lauritsen, 2008, Lauritsen,
Heimer, & Lynch, 2009, but see Steffensmeier, Schwartz, Zhong, & Ackerman, 2005).
Specifically for a female-to-male rate ratio of aggravated assault offending, Heimer and
Lauritsen (2008:59) found an upward trend over time: from .11 in 1980, to .15 in 1992, and to
.25 in 2004, in reported victimizations. Similarly for incidents of simple assaults, they found a
female-to-male rate ratio increase over time: from .19 in 1984, to .27 in 1994, and .32 in 2004, in
reported victimizations. Widening the scope in time, Lauritsen and Heimer (2009:367) further
examined NCVS data and found increases in female offending regarding single offender and
multiple offender incidents: in 1976, approximately 11% of violent incidents reportedly
committed by a single offender were female, and 19% of violent incidents reportedly involved at
least one female among multiple offenders. They found the trend moved upward by 2005,
increasing to 20% for violent incidents reportedly involving a single female offender and 26% of
violent incidents involving multiple offenders that included at least one female.
Although studies of female relative to male processing into the justice system are few,
beyond arrest, gender also appears to matter at later stages. For example, in 2009, juvenile
courts handled 415,600 cases involving females, which is double the number of cases seen in
1985. This increasing trend indicates a rise in the female proportion of the delinquency caseload
heard in juvenile courts from 19% in 1985 to 28% in 2009 (Knoll & Sickmund, 2012). In
tandem with the increasing arrest rates for assaultive offending, delinquent females represented
13% of those confined (in residential placements and detention) for aggravated assault and 25%
of those confined for simple assault in 2003 (Feld, 2009). Of any offense, simple assaults result
in greater confinement for female offenders, and this proportion continues to increase (Feld,
Collectively, the greater numbers of arrest for certain crimes and the overall slower rates
of decline of arrest for girls [38% decline for males compared to 23% decline for female arrests
since 1995 (Kempf-Leonard, 2012)], the increases in reported victimizations from female
assaultive offenses, and movement of girls deeper into the justice system has incited much
speculation regarding underlying reasons for these changes. Are boys becoming better, or are
girls becoming worse (Lauritsen, Heimer, & Lynch, 2009; Kempf-Leonard, 2012)?
Unfortunately, the changing gender composition of offending in more recent decades has
left the justice system ill-equipped to handle the growing presence of girls (Kempf-Leonard,
2012; Zahn, Day, Mihalic, & Tichavsky, 2009). For example, corrections officers have
frequently reported difficulties and a dislike for working with delinquent females (Baines &
Alder, 1996; Gaarder, Rodriguez, & Zatz, 2004). Because the justice system has historically
been shaped around the needs of males, young girls in trouble have been treated as an
afterthought, and have subsequently received improper services (Cooney, Small, & O’Connor,
2008). While girls in the system are not as numerous as boys, this does not mean that their needs
are few. There is an opportunity to improve the responsiveness to female delinquents, especially
for those who move deeper into the justice system and find a scarcity of resources (KempfLeonard, 2012; Schaffner, 2006). Appropriate first steps include identification of the factors that
contribute to female delinquency.
Emerging Profile of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System
A developing body of research on female delinquency suggests that the characteristics of
the typical female involved in the justice system differ greatly from her male counterpart, as
critical patterns of characteristics emerge. In particular, individual level indicators such as
trauma and abuse, substance abuse problems, and high-risk sexual behaviors, (e.g., ChesneyLind, 1989; Smith, Leve, & Chamberlain, 2004; Teplin, Abram, McLelland, Dulcan, & Mericle,
2002; Teplin, Mericle, McClelland, & Abram, 2003; Zahn et al., 2010) were important features
of this research on justice-involved, and especially incarcerated girls. As discussed in more
detail below, these experiences can compromise the health and well-being of girls in the system,
and it is, therefore, critically important that the appropriate services to meet their needs are made
available to them.
Trauma and abuse. Female delinquents in the justice system are more likely than males
to experience childhood trauma (Chamberlain & Moore, 2002; Chesney-Lind & Pasko, 2004;
Pasko, 2006; Zahn et al., 2010). Victimization in the home, such as sexual assault, incest, and/or
parental neglect, is more likely to happen to girls than to boys (Snyder, 2000; Finkelhor, Ormrod,
Turner, & Hamby, 2009). Furthermore, experiencing abuse or neglect as a child increases the
likelihood of arrest as an adolescent by 59% (Widom & Maxfield, 2001).
In their review of child abuse studies, Gorey and Leslie (1997) estimated the prevalence
of sexual abuse among adolescent females between 14.5% and 22.3%. With regards to
offending, a prospective study of 206 girls treated in a hospital emergency room following a
child sexual abuse report in the 1970s found that over 20 years later most of the girls who were
sexually abused, like their nonabused peers, did not have an official record of delinquency or
adult criminality (Siegel & Williams, 2003). However, a different study finds that of all girls
who come to the attention of the juvenile justice system, girls ...
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