Document Type


Publication Date



Students often have difficulty visualizing the practical application of criminological theory. The following activity assists instructors to develop students‘ abilities in evaluating behaviors and determining the theoretical perspectives that potentially could be used to explain those behaviors. It also is designed to assist students in comprehending how their own experiences impact their views on law-violating behavior and its etiology. This exercise facilitates students‘ awareness of how their beliefs about the causes of law-violating behavior inevitably impact their beliefs about potential solutions or responses to this type of behavior. Eventually, students unfailingly begin to realize the artificial dichotomy between us, as the law-abiders, and them, as the law-violators, what students perceive to be the typical criminal.


This article first appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of The Criminologist, The Official Newsletter of the American Society of Criminology, and is reprinted with permission.

©2008 the American Society of Criminology