Women, Crime, and Law / Feminist Criminology 

Professor: Danielle MacCartney, PhD


Email: dmaccartney12@webster.edu

Twitter: @profdmac

Blog: worldsocietyblog.wordpress.com

Insta: daniellemaccartney



This course takes an interdisciplinary lens to analyze the role that gender plays in the law and in the criminal justice system. Topics include female offending, women and girls in the criminal justice system in the U.S. and internationally, the significance of gender in crime analysis, and feminist critiques of criminology.



  1. Describe the frequency and nature of female offending;
  2. Explain the processes in the criminal justice systems and how gender behaves in them;
  3. Compare different  criminological theories and feminist interpretations thereof;
  4. Evaluate the impact of the intersections of gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, and other characteristics in the diversity of women’s experiences within the criminal justice system as victims, offenders and professionals;
  5. Apply critical reading, writing and thinking skills to topics in women, crime, and law.


Teaching Philosophy:


Sociology and criminology can be a lot of fun, and it is my job to show you how. My goal as a teacher is to inspire a passion for learning and to give students the tools they need to become lifelong learners. I do this by making learning exciting, relevant, rigorous, and challenging.


Learning Should Be Exciting


Students don’t learn when they sleep in class. To ensure they stay awake and interested in the material, I use humor and deliver the course material in multiple formats, including lectures, simulations, films, small group work, discussions, and peer review workshops. I will do whatever I can to make class as interesting and exciting as possible; in return I ask that you do what you can to stay engaged and learn.


Learning Should Be Relevant


Sociology and criminology analyze the world around us. That means what we talk about in class is happening, or could happen, to each and every one of us. This is not history; this is the life we are all current living and you should be able to take what you learn in class and apply it to your everyday experiences.


Learning Should Be Rigorous and Challenging


If you are taking this course because you think it will be an ‘easy A’ you may need to reassess your expectation. Even though we all live in a social world, the exact ins and outs of that world are often complex and counter-intuitive. You will be challenged, both intellectually, and in terms of your assumptions and beliefs about our world. Keeping an open mind and staying engaged in both the reading and class discussion is vital for success in this class.



There are no books to purchase for this course. All readings are posted in WorldClassRoom.



Late work is disrespectful to me and your fellow students. Taking more time for an assignment gives you an unfair advantage over your peers – whether your lateness is intentional or not. Because many students have trouble managing their time, they often petition to turn in assignments late. This is a very bad habit and one you should rid yourself of immediately.


You are welcome to turn assignments in early.



Attendance and Participation 200
Article Analysis (30 points each) 300
Prep Paper 1 – Lit Review 75
Prep Paper 2 – Analysis/Argumentation 75
Prep Paper 3 – Executive Summary 75
Oral Presentation 75
Final Policy Paper 200
TOTAL 1000

Total points available:                                           1000 points


Keep track of your points by recording them in a notebook. Remember, part of your responsibility as a student is to make sure you know your standing in your courses.





This course requires your participation. You must: come to class with the readings done, bring in any outside materials requested, and otherwise accomplish the goals required for the class session. If you neglect that responsibility, the class will suffer. With responsible preparation, the class will be interesting and enjoyable.


I am committed to peer learning. An important aspect of this course is that you develop a learning community for each other – that you put forth your best as a “teacher” and that you are respectful as a “learner.” As a result, you MUST come to class prepared and you must regularly participate in class.


At times, your experience will be important to share with the class. Personal experience can be a great way to illustrate concepts from the readings, provided they are relevant and central. Merely speaking often rather than advancing the discussion will not earn a high grade.


Some of you may be accustomed to lectures where you passively take notes. This is not my vision of good education. I am here to work through the material with you, and I ask you to take a lot of responsibility for your own learning. However, you must ALSO take notes during the discussion. If you do not write down the information discussed in class, you will miss an opportunity to deepen the learning taking place in class. Write it down.


What I seek to create is a setting where you can be free to ask questions without fear of censure or ridicule about what you found confusing in the reading, or what knowledge has been assumed that you do not have. You are also free to express opinions, although you will be pressed to defend them. I will argue some interpretations of the readings and the evidence supporting policies are better than others. You may challenge that position. But not all positions are equally supportable; our discussion is not a random chat session. As an educator, I do not believe such a discussion helps students learn (although I would urge you to talk about the material outside of class in whatever way you choose as often as possible).




Each week you do not have another assignment due, you will submit a brief, typed analysis of one of the required readings for the week. Use a numbered list. Begin each answer with the text below. Each answer should run between one sentence and one paragraph of no more than five sentences.


Article analyses must be typed and submitted in class on Monday. Because the purpose of this assignment is for you to have an in-depth understanding of at least one of the required readings for the week, I will not accept late or hand-written article analyses.


Template for Analyzing the Logic of an Article


  1. The main purpose of this article is _______.

(State as accurately as possible the author’s purpose for writing the article.)


  1. The key question the author is addressing is _______.

(Figure out the key research question in the mind of the author when s/he wrote the article.)


  1. The main theoretical point(s) of view presented in the article is (are) _______.

(What are the theoretical explanations the author gives for why we should expect their findings?)


  1. a) The key concepts we need to understand are _______.

(Identify the key vocabulary, key words, jargon, or set of ideas.)


  1. b) By these concepts the author means _______.

(Define and explain the most important ideas, terms, and vocabulary you have to grasp to follow the author’s line of reasoning.)


  1. The main assumption(s) (about human nature, the value of research or a specific program, etc.) underlying the article is (are) _______.

(Figure out what the author is taking for granted that might be questioned. What does the author assume to be true about the world, human nature, research, etc.?)


  1. The data and methods the author uses to make these conclusions are _______.

(State the data the author is using to support her/his conclusions, the methodology/data instrument s/he used to collect the data, the sampling method and sample size.)


  1. The main inferences/conclusions are _______.

(State the key conclusions the author presents. What is the take home message?)


  1. a) If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are _______.

(What consequences are likely to follow if people take the arguments seriously and implement them?)


  1. b) If we fail to take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are _______.

(What consequences are likely to follow if people ignore the author’s reasoning and do not implement the conclusions?)


  1. The limitations of this article are _______.

(Identify the weakness or limitations of the article (including limitations of the data or methods). What has the author overlooked? What more needs to be done in this area?)


  1. The information or findings from this article can be applied by/to _______.

(How might this information be useful? Which constituencies should know about these findings? Be specific – which groups or individuals should read this paper and why. Name specific agencies or organizations.)


Adapted from: Paul, Richard and Linda Elder. Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. The Foundation for Critical Thinking: Dillon Beach, Ca. 2001.



This course requires three “preparation” papers, a final paper, and an oral presentations. Each of the prep papers provides an opportunity to explore one aspect of your semester paper, in preparation for the final version. (Note: for students taking this course as a capstone, the expectations for each of these assignments are more intense.)




This final paper will be in the form of a policy or briefing memo, with more theoretical information than is usually included in a traditional policy or briefing memo.

Assignment details modified from: How to Write a Policy Memo




The typical recipient of a briefing or policy memo a) is extremely busy, b) is less knowledgeable about the subject at hand than the memo’s author, c) is responsible for making important decisions on the basis of memos like yours and d) has an agenda. All the suggestions below should be considered in this light.




Begin your memo with a short summary introduction. This introduction should tell the reader:

  1. The memo topic and what ground or issues it covers.
  2. Why you wrote the memo – the request, the debate, the decision to be made, etc.
  3. What recommendations you make or key themes to remember. Summarize your main points in a few sentences.
  4. Where the memo is headed. You should provide a brief roadmap: Section 1 provides background on female delinquency; Section 2 describes theories to deter delinquency; Section 3 shows the limitations of these theories for female delinquency; Section 4 describes policy recommendations to reduce female delinquency.


Many people never read more than the introduction or executive summary. Those who do will find it much easier to understand your memo after reading it.




Your memo should be easy to follow and easy to read. Five guidelines for good formatting should be kept in mind.


  1. Stay on point and keep it short. The typical memo should make a single point or a handful of related points. Drop any argument that does not support your main point/s. Concise memos earn wider readership and higher praise than long memos no one ever finishes. You should be direct, choose your words carefully, and edit rigorously. There should be no extraneous words in your memo.


  1. Organize your memo around meaningful sections. Repeat the memo’s most salient points and conclusions in the section headers. These will help guide the reader quickly through your memo.


Examples: Gender and War

Models of war

Women as victims of war

Women in the military

Applying gendered understandings to reduce military conflict

(Appendix) Terrorist Threat Profile


If you have multiple, dense paragraphs within each section (i.e., each section is a mini essay), start each section with a mini roadmap (see point II.4 above). (Note: this is probably not necessary for your assignment.)


Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that summarizes its main point. A reader should be able to follow the flow of your memo just by reading the first sentence of each paragraph.



Section Header: The Evolution of Hamas

Roadmap Sentence: This section traces the evolution of Hamas beginning with its origins as a splinter faction to its development as a full-fledged terrorist organization. (Again, this is probably not necessary for this short assignment.)

Topic Sentence for the paragraph: Hamas evolved from a splinter faction of the Muslim Brotherhood into a full-fledged terrorist organization.


  1. Use formatting to enhance the informational content of your memo. An important way to improve ease of readership is the use of tables, figures, and bullet points. The goal in all cases is to say more with less. Make sure when you use these that they actually enhance understanding and don’t just look cool. Use bullets for lists and simple ideas. Avoid long lists. Use paragraphs for complex ideas. Tables and figures should allow the reader to understand more while reading fewer words – if you have to spend a page explaining a figure you probably should drop it.


  1. Write for a broad audience. Don’t write a memo that only you and three other experts can understand. Avoid technical jargon and bureaucratese. Make your memo self-contained and comprehensive enough (while keeping it short!) to enable others to understand the basis for your conclusions.


  1. Provide citations to your sources of information within the text of the memo (Thrall 2006). Bibliographies may be appropriate depending on the circumstances. Obey whatever citation formatting norms are in place where you work. For the in-class assignment, a bibliography and in-text citations are required. You must include a minimum of one peer-reviewed journal article as a reference.




The fundamental purpose of a policy memo is to help people make decisions. Your memo should provide exactly as much description as is required to allow you reader to understand your analysis and no more; but you must include sufficient information to fully explain the policy and your recommendation. Even if you are asked to provide background or an overview of an issue, event, person, or group, your goal is to analyze, not merely describe. When necessary, descriptions of historical periods should aim to illustrate the key themes relevant to current policy debates. Likewise, when you are making a case for a policy option, your memo must persuade through logical argument, not simple recitation of facts and assertions.



Descriptive style (bad choice): 1. Sheik Ahmed Yassin founded Hamas in 1987 to create an Islamic state in


Analytical style (better choice): Three major factors led Sheik Ahmed Yassin to found Hamas in 1987. First,…




Your conclusion should reemphasize your main points and recommendations. How exactly you do this will depend on the purpose of your memo. Generally speaking, however, the conclusion is the place is explore the implications of your analysis and recommendations. What arguments or policies do they call into question, which do they reinforce? What additional analysis seems required? What other key decisions must be made in light of your work?




Ask a friend or colleague to read your memo. It can be especially helpful to have someone from outside your discipline read your work. For this assignment, the Writing Center staff can vet your memo.


Helpful questions to ask yourself before submitting your memo include:

  • Does my introduction provide a clear summary of the memo?
  • Is my main point clear?
  • Is my memo’s organization clear and are all my sections and paragraphs presented in a logical manner?
  • Can my reader easily follow the memo?
  • Can someone outside my department/organization/profession understand my writing?




A good policy or briefing memo should be:


  • Succinct: Be brief and clear; avoid empty rhetoric and sweeping generalizations. (Such as this.)
  • Persuasive: You are aiming to convince your audience on the best course of action.
  • Evidence-based: Cite specifics, and use empirical data wherever possible.
  • Accessible: Incorporate critical technical facts and trends without jargon, in a fashion understandable to a non-technical audience.
  • Realistic: Be careful with the assumptions you make. State the important ones.
  • Thorough: Present enough information to fully explain the policy and your recommendations.


Your memo should dress for success. Check your work for spelling and grammar errors. Legible font sizes, reasonable margins, good paper, and high printing quality are essential.




  • Approximately 10-20 pages long, double spaced, 1” margins, a standard font (such as Times New Roman), a standard font size (12 point). (Capstone students: the length will be closer to 15-30 pages.)
  • Reference page (not included in the 10-20 page guideline), formatted consistently.
  • A minimum of ten academic sources (primarily peer-reviewed journal articles) directly related to your policy or the subject of your policy (not from a class reading). (For capstone students, a minimum of 15 sources are expected.)
  • A minimum of one reading from class (in addition to the above).
    • The required sources must be valid social science research sources, primarily peer-reviewed journal articles. The following works may be added, in addition to the research articles, but cannot be used as scientific background:
      • News and other media articles;
      • Non-scientific professional journal articles;
      • Dissertations or theses;

Rule of thumb for articles: Get your sources from either the SocIndex database, the Academic Search Premier database, or another academic database available through the library. Any other sources that you wish to use have to be cleared with me first.


Make sure your source can pass the CRAAP test. Evaluate the Currency; Relevance; Authority; Accuracy; and Purpose. Learn more: http://libguides.webster.edu/c.php?g=98012&p=634204


NO Web Documents. NO Wikipedia.




Each month, you will turn in one prep paper. These prep papers are designed to keep you on task and to ensure you have adequate research for your final paper.




The first paper will be a literature review. You will gather at least four peer-reviewed journal articles and at least one article from class and write a background paper that will set the frame for your final paper. (Capstone students, gather at least six articles.)


Literature Review Guidelines


Goals of a literature review:

  1. Communicating what social scientists have found about your topic – provide the background information necessary for the reader to understand your project.
  2. Provide evidence of depth and breadth – your literature review should show that you know the details of the most important aspect of the studies that relate to your specific topic and that you know of all the studies done that inform your specific topic.
  3. Demonstrate that you can evaluate research – do not simply summarize all the studies, but evaluate their worth for your project.
  4. Develop a general explanation for observed differences or identify potential relationships between concepts


Components of a literature review:

  1. An introduction that provides an overview of the focus and objectives of the review, along with a thesis statement and why your study is important
  2. A set of themes that categorize and make sense of the sources reviewed and develop the thesis (e.g., sources that support a particular position, those opposed, and those offering alternative views).

Start with general patterns, findings, themes in the literature. Then move to specific findings – explaining why and how the general patterns and specific findings inform your study. Only criticize a study if your project is designed to address that limitation.

  1. Explanation and evaluation of conclusions reached by key sources, and explanation of how they converge and diverge from the conclusions reached by other sources
  2. A conclusion with reasonable speculations and gaps that emerge after considering the literature as a whole. This conclusion should not only restate your thesis, but identify unanswered questions. (These unanswered questions are your project.)


To accomplish the goals and components of a literature review:

  1. Identify the broad problem area, but avoid global statements; have a clear sense of purpose.
  2. Remember the purpose, read with a purpose, and write with a purpose.
  3. Early in the review, indicate why the topic being reviewed is important.
  4. Be selective – select only the most important aspects of the source for your thesis.
  5. Summarize and synthesize each source within the paragraph and throughout the review
  6. Distinguish between research findings and other sources of information (i.e., theory); If citing a classic or landmark study, identify it as such. Indicate why certain studies are important.
  7. Use caution when paraphrasing. If you paraphrase, make sure you represent the author’s information correctly.
  8. If you are commenting on the timeliness of a topic, be specific in describing the time frame.
  9. Discuss other literature reviews on your topic and refer the reader to other reviews on issues that you will not be discussing in detail.
  10. Avoid long lists of nonspecific references; if it doesn’t relate to your topic, cut it.
  11. If the results of previous studies are inconsistent or widely varying, discuss them separately, by thematic findings.
  12. Keep your own voice – start and end each paragraph with how this paragraph’s theme relates to your thesis.
  13. PROOFREAD; do not just spell check
  14. Read your paper aloud to identify problems in flow and awkward phrasing.
  15. If you read over a paragraph you’ve just written and notice that there are only two sources cited in that paragraph, you have summarized too much and not synthesized enough.
  16. Revise, revise, revise. You should write a minimum of three drafts before you turn it in.



Documenting your sources


The papers you utilize as sources should be cited at appropriate locations within the text (where you are using that information). You must cite any research you used to inform your project, thesis, or question both within the text and in the bibliography. The research should almost always be cited parenthetically. Make your main point and then cite the journal article in parentheses afterward rather than directly referring to the article.


When citing a paper, list the authors and the year of publication and nothing else (no page numbers, etc), unless you are taking a direct quote from the paper. In this case, cite the page number where you got the quote.



Burke and others (1997) did a study that showed large woody debris is important in providing inorganic nitrogen to streams throughout the entire year.



Large woody debris in lowland old growth forests has been shown to provide sustained levels of inorganic nitrogen to streams throughout the summer and winter months (Burke et al. 1997).


Direct references to authors are not forbidden, but AVOID whenever possible.


AVOID writing the title of an article in the text of the paper. If you notice you are writing the article title or authors names in your paper, you are probably summarizing too much and not being analytical enough.



Log decomposition greatly accelerated soil development in a lowland old growth forest of southwestern Oregon (Barnes and Lask 1995).


Human trampling is most evident in stressful ecosystems (Newman 1968; Barnes 1984; Daly and Smith 1992; Poldt et al. 1998).



  • Passive voice
  • Any workarounds to the no names rule, such as:
    • “This study found …”
    • “The researchers showed …”
    • “One study suggests … ”
    • “It has been shown that …” (note: this is a double whammy – passive voice and a simplistic workaround)
    • Etc.
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Simple statements, such as “this is important because …” Explain why these research findings are important as part of supporting your project/thesis.




The second paper will be an analysis/argumentation paper. You will write an argument/analysis/recommendation that flows naturally from your literature review. This is the change you are recommending to make to an existing policy, a new policy you are arguing should be implemented, or a policy you are arguing should be discontinued. You will need the theoretical and empirical background (most likely from your literature review) for your argument to make sense. (Capstone students, your theoretical background must be clearly developed and explicitly engage established theories in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Your argument should be original and contribute to creating new knowledge in the field.)


What should you include in your argumentation paper? Review the helpful tips at the OWL at Purdue: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/724/1/


Roane State has provided an excellent set of brief key points in writing argumentative papers (http://www.roanestate.edu/owl/argument.html – Go to the cite for more resources, including examples):

Types of Papers: Argument/Argumentative

While some teachers consider persuasive papers and argument papers to be basically the same thing, it’s usually safe to assume that an argument paper presents a stronger claim—possibly to a more resistant audience.

For example:  while a persuasive paper might claim that cities need to adopt recycling programs, an argument paper on the same topic might be addressed to a particular town.  The argument paper would go further, suggesting specific ways that a recycling program should be adopted and utilized in that particular area.

To write an argument essay, you’ll need to gather evidence and present a well-reasoned argument on a debatable issue.

How can I tell if my topic is debatable? Check your thesis!  You cannot argue a statement of fact, you must base your paper on a strong position. Ask yourself…

  • How many people could argue against my position?  What would they say?
  • Can it be addressed with a yes or no? (aim for a topic that requires more info.)
  • Can I base my argument on scholarly evidence, or am I relying on religion, cultural standards, or morality? (you MUST be able to do quality research!)
  • Have I made my argument specific enough?

Worried about taking a firm stance on an issue?

Though there are plenty of times in your life when it’s best to adopt a balanced perspective and try to understand both sides of a debate, this isn’t one of them.

You MUST choose one side or the other when you write an argument paper!

Don’t be afraid to tell others exactly how you think things should go because that’s what we expect from an argument paper.  You’re in charge now, what do YOU think?

Do… Don’t…
…use passionate language …use weak qualifiers like “I believe,” “I feel,” or “I think”—just tell us!
…cite experts who agree with you …claim to be an expert if you’re not one
…provide facts, evidence, and statistics to support your position …use strictly moral or religious claims as support for your argument
…provide reasons to support your claim …assume the audience will agree with you about any aspect of your argument
…address the opposing side’s argument and refute their claims …attempt to make others look bad (i.e. Mr. Smith is ignorant—don’t listen to him!)

Why do I need to address the opposing side’s argument?

There is an old kung-fu saying which states, “The hand that strikes also blocks”, meaning that when you argue it is to your advantage to anticipate your opposition and strike down their arguments within the body of your own paper. This sentiment is echoed in the popular saying, “The best defense is a good offense”.

By addressing the opposition you achieve the following goals:

  • illustrate a well-rounded understanding of the topic
  • demonstrate a lack of bias
  • enhance the level of trust that the reader has for both you and your opinion
  • give yourself the opportunity to refute any arguments the opposition may have
  • strengthen your argument by diminishing your opposition’s argument

Think about yourself as a child, asking your parents for permission to do something that they would normally say no to. You were far more likely to get them to say yes if you anticipated and addressed all of their concerns before they expressed them. You did not want to belittle those concerns, or make them feel dumb, because this only put them on the defensive, and lead to a conclusion that went against your wishes.
The same is true in your writing.

How do I accomplish this?

To address the other side of the argument you plan to make, you’ll need to “put yourself in their shoes.”  In other words, you need to try to understand where they’re coming from.  If you’re having trouble accomplishing this task, try following these steps:

  1. Jot down several good reasons why you support that particular side of the argument.
  2. Look at the reasons you provided and try to argue with yourself.  Ask: Why would someone disagree with each of these points?  What would his/her response be?  (Sometimes it’s helpful to imagine that you’re having a verbal argument with someone who disagrees with you.)
  3. Think carefully about your audience; try to understand their background, their strongest influences, and the way that their minds work.  Ask:  What parts of this issue will concern my opposing audience the most?
  4. Find the necessary facts, evidence, quotes from experts, etc. to refute the points that your opposition might make.
  5. Carefully organize your paper so that it moves smoothly from defending your own points to sections where you argue against the opposition.





The third paper will be your executive summary. Your entire paper should be more or less written by this point. The executive summary is a shortened version of your paper, that a policy maker could read. The basic theoretical and empirical background should be summarized along with your main arguments and recommendations. An executive summary should be about 5-10% the length of your full paper. This means that your executive summary should be between 1 and 3 pages. (Capstone students: Your executive summary should clearly articulate how your argument contributes to the production of new knowledge in the field.)

For more on executive summaries, see: Executive Summary Guidelines

The executive summary is the most important part of a policy paper because it synthesizes complex data into a succinct and coherent whole that allows a decision-maker or general reader in a few minutes of reading to glean the problem, supporting evidence, and solutions. As such, the executive summary is often the most difficult part of the policy paper to write.

Yet there are basic steps that will help turn complex ideas into succinct and powerful arguments guaranteed to capture the attention of a busy reader. You will, for example, need to state explicitly not only the current problem but the current situation, sign post the pros and cons of your reasoning for change, and highlight your key findings and recommendations. This workshop examines techniques culled from executive summaries ranging from short memos produced for the Spring Exercise to high-level international policy papers and allows you time to try out an executive summary on your own topic.

The Structure of the Executive Summary

Once you have determined your dominant findings and recommendation/s, you are ready to structure your memo and draft an initial version of the executive summary. The executive summary highlights the problem and recommendations but also serves as a road map into the structure of your memo, allowing the reader to follow the course of your analysis. The executive summary does not the chronicle the story that lies behind the problem nor does it track the development of your research. It telegraphs your key recommendations, relying on your authority as a policy analyst. It summarizes your key points for a busy reader and highlights the recommendations in a memorable way to guide future discussions.

After you have finished your research, it can help to write a draft of the executive summary as a structuring device for the longer paper. You will return to the executive summary again at the end of the writing process for the full paper, revising it to make sure that it matches your analysis, findings, and ultimate recommendations. Even a short, two-page memo can benefit from a brief executive summary that foregrounds the recommendations or findings discussed later in the body. (See Gilroy, “Big Picture on Army Recruitment,” as an example at the end of this presentation.)

In telegraphic style, explain who the target audience is (i.e., the decision-maker for your policy proposal), clarify the problem, and describe the main points that the decision-maker should know.

Core characteristics of the Executive Summary—all in brief:

  1. Acknowledges the target audience and intended use/s for the paper
  2. Concisely states the problem or issue either in terms of current policy or as a problematic situation
  3. Sign posts reasons for initiating changes to that policy or situation
  4. Presents key policy options or findings (depending on orientation of your paper)
  5. Sign posts the pros and cons of each option or findings
  6. May reference the methodology used to examine the data
  7. Recommends primary course/s of action or synthesizes key findings that may lead to recommendations in future policy work
  8. Offers supporting reasons for selecting or highlighting that course of action or findings
  9. May restate urgency in a short concluding line

Note that these characteristics answer the core questions a decision-maker must know immediately: WHO, WHAT, WHY, and HOW, with WHEN and WHERE included where necessary.

Examples of Executive Summaries

These examples highlight excellent formats, ranging from short findings to extensive international policy recommendations.

    • This policy analysis paper synthesizes and prioritizes its findings, offering recommendations as subsets. Many clients are more fascinated by a PAE-writer’s survey of the problem than they are interested in the writer’s conclusions and recommendations. This paper offers a way of meeting the client’s immediate interests without losing sight of recommendations.



    • This report presents a vision and a concrete roadmap for U.S.-China  collaboration focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change. The report begins with a “Forward” that highlights the importance of a collaboration between the U.S. and China as key leaders in negotiating climate change policy. The Forward also names key goals and describes underlying motivations.
    • The Executive Summary explicitly names basic assumptions for the rationale supporting the methodology, findings, and recommendations. Without those assumptions, readers will not be persuaded of the report’s ultimate recommendations. The Executive Summary then advocates its major recommendations before moving on to explicit findings with second-level, more specific recommendations. The conclusion to the Executive Summary underscores the urgency of following its recommendations both in a negative sense—what will happen if China and the U.S. do not act on these recommendations—and in a positive sense—what will happen if China and the U.S. do act on the recommendations. While conclusions are not mandatory for executive summaries, they do allow you to return to the big picture or the motive of your policy recommendations.



At the conclusion of the course, you will present your problem/policy, argument, and supporting evidence to the class in a 10-minute academic-style presentation.

Tips modified from How To Make an Oral Presentation of Your Research

Keep the following points in mind:


Time: You will have 10 minutes to give your talk. This time limit will force you to make choices about what you can present. You will need to emphasize the main points of your analysis.


Audience: Imagine the audience for your talk is generally educated, but unfamiliar with disciplinary jargon or theories that inform your work.


Content: You may think you need to present every single thing you learned through the research project. No. Presenting your research is an opportunity for you to distill everything you’ve learned into the most important points for your audience. Think about the “so what?” aspect of your work – the big picture. Why is your project important? Make sure you convey your research so that your audience gets the big picture instead of getting bogged down in all the details. You will need to present some background; your audience needs to know where your project fits in the larger literature, but be selective. Present the most important literature that sets the stage for your research project.


Organization: Your presentation needs to be organized a bit differently than your paper. In an oral presentation, you’re telling a story. You need a beginning, a middle, and an end. During your presentation, make sure you: 1. Introduce yourself; 2. Present your research question and its significance (why it matters); 3. How you conducted your research (your methodology); 4. Your findings and what they mean; and 5. A conclusion with a summary of your main points, emphasizing your take home message.


PowerPoint: Most oral presentations include a PowerPoint as a way to include visual elements in the presentation. This is not strictly necessary, but may help organize your preparation and the delivery of your talk. But remember, PowerPoint is a tool to effectively present your research. Do not get caught up in the PowerPoint and try to make it too fancy – you don’t need animated gifs and weird backgrounds to explain your research. The PowerPoint should emphasize the main points of your project, should guide the audience through your argument, and should include relevant images related to your research. Do not include too much information on each slide. Your audience cannot read a ton of text on the slide and listen to you at the same time. Use contrasting colors (dark text on a light background or vice versa, but avoid green/red, as that is the most common form of color blindness). Be brief- use bullet points instead of full sentences. Use a large font (generally, avoid anything smaller than 24 point). Include charts and graphs, and explain them well during the presentation. Be prepared for technology fails; if the PowerPoint doesn’t work, you’ll need to be able to give your talk anyway.


Tone: Your presentation should be somewhat formal and the tone should be largely academic. Don’t be too conversational and avoid colloquialisms. You don’t want your presentation to be alienating, so don’t get too stuffy, but take your presentation seriously.


Practice, practice, practice. Write notes for your presentation. Use index cards or bullet points, but don’t write out your text word for word. You are not memorizing a script. Give yourself prompts to remember your main points and then practice, practice, practice. Give your talk to yourself, to your friends or family, to your fellow students, to anyone you can get to listen. Time yourself and pay attention to your speaking speed. Speak slowly and clearly.


Sample Oral Presentation Outline. Below is a sample of what an outline for an oral presentation might look like. You do not need to follow this format, but it may give you ideas about how to approach your talk.


Hello, my name is ____.  I am a ___ major at Webster University. Today, I’m going to talk to you about my research on _____. 



  • I had the opportunity to join Professor ____’s lab, where the research focus is____.
  • This is research for my thesis….
  • I got interested in this area because ….


Research question and significance

  • I wanted to find out _______[insert your research question].
  • This is an important question because _____. OR This question interested me because ______.


Research methods/design 

  • I thought the best way to answer this question would be by ______. [Explain your methodology]
  • I chose this method because….


Research activity

The steps I took to conduct this research were:  _______.



Here’s what I found out:  ______.


Significance of results/where this research might lead

  • This result matters because….
  • Now that I’ve learned this, I see that some other questions to ask are….


Conclusion/Summary of main points 

I set out to answer ______ [research question] by _______ [research methods].  And I discovered that ______ [brief statement of results].  This was interesting because _____ [significance]/This will help us understand ____. 



  • I am grateful to my advisor, Professor _____, for her guidance.…
  • My work was supported by a _____ award.  OR I’d like to thank the ____ foundation/organization for their generosity.



Thank you. I would be happy to take your questions.




Grammar and Writing Skills


Almost all college instructors require a written assignment for their courses.  The purpose of these assignments is to test your knowledge of the course material and to see how well you write.  Grammatical errors are the number one reason why students lose points in writing assignments.  All written assignments for my class have a “grammar” component built into the grading rubric; therefore, you need to write well.  This means you must clean up ALL grammatical errors, fix punctuation mistakes, check spelling and cite properly.  If you do not do these things you will earn a poor grade. Many of you know what you are doing and write well.  However, everyone can use extra help; therefore, the Writing Center is available to help you with grammar/writing skills.  For my class, you need to obey the following rules:


  • Write complete (noun, verb etc.) sentences that are easy to understand.
  • Avoid long, run-on sentences that are confusing and make no sense.
  • Spelling is important, spellcheck works nicely but it’s not perfect – proofread your work.
  • Cite all outside sources and use in-text citations to do so (see writing guidelines).
  • Direct citations should be short – paraphrasing is better (cite accordingly).
  • NEVER use jargon or vague terms.
  • Operationalize your terms – Operationalization means to define terms in context – to say you want to discuss “socialization” could mean 1) primary vs. secondary socialization or 2) gender socialization or 3) re-socialization and so on – be clear and concise in your use of vocabulary terms.
  • Do not use terms you do not understand – many papers contain vocabulary terms incorrectly used which means you (as the writer) did not bother to look up the definition of a word before using it in a college paper. Buy a good dictionary (Oxford or Webster’s) and keep it handy when you write papers – do not misrepresent yourself by misusing terms in your paper.
  • Do not ever wait until the last minute (the day before) to start a paper – this leaves almost no time to proofread.
  • Always be clear and concise when writing papers – do not confuse the reader.


Why is grammar important?  Your goal is to have the reader understand every statement you make.  When an instructor has to read a sentence three or four times and thinks “I don’t know what that means” you earn fewer points for grammar and you earn fewer points because you are not writing clearly.   Those that write in a clear manner without mistakes earn better grades because the reader is not struggling to understand what they’re writing.


Here are some inexpensive books on this subject:


Stilman, Anne.  1997. Grammatically Correct: The Writer’s Essential Guide to Punctuation,

Spelling, Style, Usage and Grammar.  Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books.


Woods, Geraldine.  2001.  English Grammar for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley, John & Sons,



Citation Guidelines


  1. Structure: All assignments must be typed, double spaced with one inch margins – use a 12 point font. Page numbers refer to the body of the paper – the bibliography and title page do NOT count towards “page numbers”.  Please do not use a plastic essay cover and handwritten assignments are not accepted.  Late papers are not accepted without an official (doctor’s note or equivalent) documentation to explain your absence.  All late work will earn a 5% penalty for each day it is late.


  1. Recycling papers: I know you write a lot of papers in college.   HOWEVER, you must use theories/information from this class.  Using papers from other classes is academically dishonest.


  • Citing Academic Authors In-text: Make sure you cite correctly – here are examples:


  1. Karl Marx is considered the founder of conflict theory (Giddens 1971). THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF CITING AFTER YOU PARAPHRASE THE AUTHOR’S WORDS – AUTHOR AND YEAR OF PUBLICATION IS REQUIRED.


  1. “Despite their social similarity and psychological affinities, the members of the power elite do not constitute a club having a permanent membership with fixed and formal boundaries” (Mills 2005: 94). THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF DIRECT CITATIONAUTHOR & YEAR OF PUBLICATION & PAGE NUMBER ARE REQUIRED.


  1. Scholars address the importance of class differences with regard to race and gender (White 1970; Ehrenreich 2005; Cole 2005). THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF STRING CITING – CITING SEVERAL PUBLICATIONS AT THE SAME TIME – YOU CITE ALL AUTHORS IN ORDER OF THE YEAR THAT THEY ARE PUBLISHED (OLDEST TO RECENT) WITH A SEMICOLON BETWEEN CITATIONS.


  1. Reference List – in general, your bibliography should look like the following (using only the sources you cite in alphabetical order). Follow the citation style you are most comfortable using, but use it consistently. Do not rely on automatic citation software – software often makes mistakes. You are responsible for accurate citations.


Block, Fred. 1981.  “The Fiscal Crisis of Capitalism.” Annual Review of Sociology.  7:1-27.


Giddens, Anthony.  1971.  Capitalism and Modern Social Theory:  An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber.  New York: Cambridge University Press.


Marx, Karl & Friedrich Engels 2005. “Manifesto of the Communist Party.” Pp. 19-31 in Intersections: Readings in Sociology, edited by R. Trammell. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.


Plagiarism and cheating:


Webster University strives to be a center of academic excellence. As part of our Statement of Ethics, the University strives to preserve academic honor and integrity by repudiating all forms of academic and intellectual dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is unacceptable and is subject to a disciplinary response. The University reserves the right to utilize electronic databases, such as Turnitin.com, to assist faculty and students with their academic work.


Any student who deliberately or unintentionally submits an assignment as his/her own work which is in any part taken from another person’s work without proper acknowledgment is guilty of plagiarism.  That includes downloading papers or other information from the internet, and claiming it as one’s own.  Punitive action for a student guilty of plagiarism or cheating may include a grade of “F” for the assignment or dismissal from the course with a grade of “F” – at the discretion of the instructor. We will take a plagiarism tutorial offered through the Writing Center to clarify what counts as plagiarism. If you have any concerns about whether or not you are plagiarizing, please come talk to me.




If any student in this course has a need for special arrangements, such as note-taking assistance or other accommodations because of a documented disability, please feel free to discuss this with me privately.  The college has professionals to guide, counsel, and assist students with disabilities or learning differences.  The Academic Resource Center (Loretta Hall Rm. 134; x7495) will evaluate and approve your accommodation needs.  If you receive services from the Academic Resource Center that require accommodations in this class, you will need to inform me, but I will hold any information you share in strictest confidence unless you inform me otherwise.   Again, please feel free to make an appointment with me to discuss any specific needs you may have.  If you have a disability and have no need for accommodation, the use of the Academic Resource Center or discussing the issues with me is voluntary.


I reserve the right to have in class assignments with or without notice


**Please note: I will not give an Incomplete (I) as a final grade. If the required work is not completed, I will post an ‘F’ grade; if the work, by agreement with me, is completed later, the grade may be changed at my discretion.


This syllabus is a contract between you, the student, and me, the instructor. By accepting this syllabus and not dropping the class, you agree to abide by the terms of this syllabus.


Thanks to Professors Luciana Herman (Harvard Kennedy School of Government), A. Trevor Thrall (University of Michigan, Dearborn), Michael D. Smith, Jim Waldo, Alon Rosen, and Allan Friedman (Harvard) for ideas on this assignment.








Intro: Gender, Social Science, and Social Control

Kathleen Daly, “Gender, Crime, and Criminology,” in Michael Tonry (ed.), The Handbook of Crime and Punishment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 85-108. © 1998 by Oxford University Press, Inc

Flavin, J. (2001) “Feminism for the Mainstream Criminologist: An Invitation.” Journal of Criminal Justice, 29:271-285.

Miller, J., & Mullins, C. W. (2006). The status of feminist theories in criminology. Taking stock: The status of criminological theory, 15.

Women, Crime, and Feminism

Article Analysis
Chesney-Lind, M. (2006). Patriarchy, Crime, and Justice: Feminist Criminology in an Era of Backlash. Feminist Criminology1(1), 6-26.
Steffensmeier, D. and Schwartz, J. ―Contemporary Explanations of Women‘s Crime.‖ In Price, B.R. and Sokoloff, N.J. (Eds.) (2004) The Criminal Justice System and Women: Offenders and Prisoners, Victims and Workers. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Barberet, R. L. (2014). “International law, human rights, international organizations and women and criminal justice” in Women, Crime and Criminal Justice.: Taylor and Francis.

Female Offending

Article Analysis
Barberet, R. L. (2014). “Women and Offending” in Women, Crime and Criminal Justice: A Global Inquiry. Taylor and Francis.
Steffensmeier, Darryl and Schwartz, Jennifer (2004) “Trends in Female Criminality: Is Crime Still a Man’s World? In Price, B.R. and Sokoloff, N.J. (Eds.) The Criminal Justice System and Women: Offenders and Prisoners, Victims and Workers. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Cunningham, Karla J. (2003) “Cross-Regional Trends in Female Terrorism.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 26:171-195.
For reference: Walmsley, Roy (2012). World Female Imprisonment List. From http://www.prisonstudies.org

Female Offending

Prep Paper I: Lit Review
Chesney-Lind, M. (1989). Girls’ crime and woman’s place: Toward a feminist model of female delinquency. Crime & Delinquency, 35(1), 5-29.
Maher, L., & Daly, K. (1996). Women in the street‐level drug economy: Continuity or change?*. Criminology, 34(4), 465-492.
Daly, K. (1989). Gender and varieties of white-collar crime. [Article]. Criminology, 27(4), 769-794.

Differential Association; Labeling

Article Analysis
Mears, D. P., Ploeger, M. & Warr, M. 1998. Explaining the Gender Gap in Delinquency. Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency 35: 351–466.
Bartusch, D. J., & Matsueda R. L. 1996. Gender, Reflected Appraisals and Labeling. Social Forces 75: 145–177.
Chon, D. (2013). “Test of impacts of gender equality and economic development on sexual violence.” Journal of Family Violence 28(6): 603-610.

Social Control; Self Control

Article Analysis
Bottcher, J. 2001. Social Practices of Gender. Criminology 39: 893–931.
Miller, S., & Burack, C. 1993. A Critique of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime. Women & Criminal Justice 4: 115–134.
Biosociology/Evolutionary Psychology; Strain
Fausto-Sterling, A. 2000. Beyond Difference. 209–227 in Alas, Poor Darwin, edited by H. Rose and S. Rose. New York: Harmony Books.
Broidy, L., & Agnew, R. 1997. Gender and Crime. Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency 34: 275–306.

Critical; Marxist Perspectives

Article Analysis
Klein, D., & Kress, J. 1976. Any Woman’s Blues. Crime & Social Justice 5: 34–49.
Rafter, N. H., & Natalizia, E. M. 1981. Marxist Feminism. Crime & Delinquency 27: 81–98.
Cycle of Violence
Rivera, B., & Widom, C.S. 1990. Childhood Victimization and Violent Offending. Violence & Victims 5: 19–35.
Widom, C. S., Maxfield, M. G., & Department of Justice, W. e. (2001). An Update on the “Cycle of Violence.” Research in Brief.

Life Course; Pathways

Prep Paper II:

Argument /


Martino, S. C., Ellickson, P. L., Klein, D. J., McCaffrey, D., & Edelen, M.O. 2008. Multiple Trajectories of Physical Aggression among Adolescent Boys and Girls. Aggressive Behavior 34: 61–75.
Simpson, S. S., Yahner, J. L., & Dugan, L. (2008). Understanding women’s pathways to jail: Analysing the lives of incarcerated women. [Article]. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology (Australian Academic Press), 41(1), 84-108. doi: 10.1375/acri.41.1.84
Rachel Bridges Whaley, Justin Hayes-Smith and Rebecca Hayes-Smith. Gendered Pathways? Gender, Mediating Factors, and the Gap in Boys’ and Girls’ Substance Use. Crime & Delinquency 2013 59: 651


Article Analysis
Potter, H. (2006). An argument for black feminist criminology understanding African American women’s experiences with intimate partner abuse using an integrated approach. Feminist Criminology, 1(2), 106-124.
Jones, N. (2004). “It’s not where you live, it’s how you live”: How young women negotiate conflict and violence in the inner city. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 595(1), 49-62.
Erez, E., Adelman, M., & Gregory, C. (2008). Intersections of immigration and domestic violence: Voices of battered immigrant women. Feminist criminology

LGBT Law and Policy

Article Analysis
Woolf, L. M., & MacCartney, D. (2014). Sexual and gender minorities. In C. V. Johnson, H. Friedman, J. Diaz, B. Nastasi, & Z. Franco (Eds.). Handbook of social justice and psychology. Praeger.
Bibbings, L. (2009). “The heterostate: Hegemonic heterosexuality and state power.” State, Power, Crime. R. Coleman, J. Sim, S. Tombs and D. Whyte.

Women and the Criminal Justice System

Article Analysis
Sudbury, J. ―Women of Color, Globalization and the Politics of Incarceration‖ in Price, B.R. and Sokoloff, N.J. (Eds.) (2004) The Criminal Justice System and Women: Offenders and Prisoners, Victims and Workers. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Prenzler, T., & Sinclair, G. (2013). The status of women police officers: An international review. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 41(2), 115-131.
Rabe-Hemp, Cara E. (2009). POLICEwomen or PoliceWOMEN?: Doing Gender and Police Work. Feminist Criminology 4(2): 114 – 129.
For reference: UNDOC. Penal Reform International (2008) ―Women in Prison: Incarcerated in a Man’s World.‖ Penal Reform Briefing No. 3.


Prep Paper III: Executive Summary
J.W. Messerschmidt . Becoming “Real Men”: Adolescent Masculinity Challenges and Sexual Violence. Men and Masculinities, Volume 2, Number 3 (January 1, 2000), pp. 286-307
Wozniak, Jesse and Uggen, Christopher. (2009). Real Men Use Nonlethals: Appeals to Masculinity in Marketing Police Weaponry. Feminist Criminology 4(3): 275 – 293.
Messerschmidt, J. W. (1993). “The State and Gender Politics” in Masculinities and crime: Critique and reconceptualization of theory: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.


Article Analysis
Wesely, Jennifer K. (2006). Considering the Context of Women‘s Violence: Gender, Lived Experiences, and Cumulative Victimization. Feminist Criminology 1(4): 303 – 328.
Taylor, Janette. Y. (2005). No Resting Place: African American Women at the Crossroads of Violence. Violence against Women, 11(12): 1473-1489.
Oosterhoff, P., Zwanikken, P. and Ketting, E. (2004) ―Sexual torture of men in Croatia and other conflict situations: an open secret.‖ Reproductive Health Matters, 12/23: 68-77.
Carlson, E.S. (2006) ―The Hidden Prevalence of Male Sexual Assault During War: Observations on Blunt Trauma to the Male Genitals.‖ British Journal of Criminology, 46:16-25.

Gendered Solutions

Article Analysis
Buchanan et al. (2012). From clause to effect: including women’s rights and gender in peace agreements. Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Barrett, N. & M. Shaw. (2011). Towards Human Trafficking Prevention: A Discussion Document. International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy.
Carey, F. (2007). ‘Women and peace and security’: The politics of implementing gender sensitivity norms in peacekeeping. International Peacekeeping, 8:2, 49-68
Spees, P. (2003). Women’s Advocacy in the Creation of the International Criminal Court: Changing the Landscapes of Justice and Power. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society vol. 28, no. 4  
15 Oral Presentations
16 Final Policy Paper DUE MONDAY, MAY 8, 10:30am-12:30pm



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