ABSTRACT

This chapter argues that research emphases have swung so far toward technique that substance has been largely ignored. It explores problems in our dependent variable, crime, and the critical variables used to explain crime. If the social sciences are, indeed, to emulate the natural sciences, then one might expect the equivalent of a classification scheme as is in biological phyla. Criminologists know such an approach means that a political definition of crime is being used. The end product of most of our endeavors has been a critical dependent variable that has been reduced to the level of a and unreliable construct. The inherent political nature of the legal system forms a relatively dynamic and changing milieu of criminological issues. A closer examination of crime leads invariably to the necessity of establishing the reliability and validity of proposed measurement forms, a procedure long disdained in practice by many social scientists.