What is criminology? An Annotated bibliography

Published 10 Apr 2017

The credibility of this book stems from the fact that is written by an expert in the field of criminology. This is demonstrated by his having been awarded the Teacher’s Excellence Award by Mercyhurst College (2006) and recipient of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Fellow Award (2000). The author, Frank E. Hagan, holds degrees from Case Western Reserve and Gannon, Maryland. Director of the James V. Kinnane Graduate Program in Administration of Justice, he has written many journal articles and authored seven other books: Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology; Deviance and the Family; Political Crime; Crime Types and Criminals; Essentials of Research Methods in Criminal Justice; The Language of Research; and White Collar Deviance.

Content Analysis

Criminology and crime are two distinct areas which have often been misused; sometimes being used interchangeably or applied in the wrong context (Siegel 2008). Having an understanding that criminology is a much wider subject area than crime; and that the latter forms one of the subsets of the former; is important for undergraduate students keen on studying criminology and the wider subject of sociology. That is why this book is especially for such undergraduate criminology and sociology students; offering them the much-needed introductory approach to an otherwise strange and wide area. Presenting criminology as an interdisciplinary subject dealing with studies of the nature, causes, extent, and control of criminal behavior (Siegel 2008), this book offers deep insights into the real world of crime and criminal behavior. It not only provides a theoretical framework of criminology but also the accompanying cases and real-life crimes in order to enable its users to better articulate the subject matter and be more appreciative of it in its entirety (Deflem 2006).

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The book also pays a lot of attention to the various crime typologies that have not been included in the earlier editions; and is inclusive of critical Crime Files boxes which make it more appealing to readers by offering not only real-world but also well-known examples of all the various types of crime. As such, it enables the student who is just starting it out on this subject to develop a firm foundation upon which further learning could be built. Further, the book discusses the major criminological theories, and is inclusive of biosocial and psychosocial theories. That aside, the book discusses the latest computer crimes that have been brought about by technological advancement. Other critical areas covered are political, white collar (Israel et al. 2009), and organized crime; property crime, various types of violent crime, public order crime, and professional crime. Such content is bound to interest the undergraduate student through the development of a curiosity about criminal tendencies.

The overall content of the book is vital to the subject matter. It extends beyond a mere definition of criminology to illustrate how it comes about and how it can be dealt with. The 7th edition has current information, and is written in an easy-to-understand manner. The language is credible, never seeking to portray people engaged in various acts of crime as outcasts but rather pointing to the responsibility of the entire society. Although basically building upon earlier editions, the book also incorporates information from a wide array of other sources, including cases and real-world examples. For instance, earlier editions did not contain anything about computer crime (Casey 2004). Neither was there any information regarding white collar crime. However, this edition is updated with a lot of case information about computer crime – one of the leading and most costly modern-day crimes. Finally, the issue of terror-related crime (terrorism) is given consideration, a clear illustration of the book’s in-depth coverage of emerging as well as traditional crimes (Hamm 2007). The reasoning of the author is very objective and so capable of appealing to all kinds of readership.


  • Casey, E 2004. Digital evidence and computer crime: forensic science, computers and the Internet. Academic Press
  • Deflem, M 2006. Sociological Theory and Criminological Research: Views from Europe and the United States. Elsevier
  • Hamm, M 2007. Terrorism as crime: from Oklahoma City to Al-Qaeda and beyond. NYU Press
  • Israel, JH et al. 2009. White collar crime: law and practice. West Siegel, L 2008. Criminology. Cengage Learning
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