Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Criminal Justice

Degree Program

Criminal Justice, PhD

Committee Chair

Swartz, Kristin

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Campbell, Bradley

Committee Member

Campbell, Bradley

Committee Member

Fisher, Benjamin

Committee Member

Olinger, Andrea

Author's Keywords

criminology; writing studies; scholarly writing; literate practices


This study investigates how criminological writing style is "a [more] complicated terrain" than we realize in criminology (Butler, 1990, p. xix). Data is drawn from interviews with forty of the one hundred most influential criminological writers (Walters, 2015) to explore perceptions of good writing in the field, namely in describing writing practices, norms and values. Thus, the findings of this study come in three chapters. The first two result chapters explore the terrain of writing in criminology by presenting perceptions of best practices and values of good writing. The third results chapter then examines these perceptions within a lens of writing studies and literary theory, which juxtaposes universal and socio-cultural perspectives of writing. By framing perceptions of best practices and values for good writing within a writing studies and literary theory framework, this study demonstrates that the way criminology perceives and discusses writing is different from the way writing works in criminology in reality. Last, this study provides conceptual implications that demonstrate how thinking about writing incorrectly forecloses potentially fruitful writing perspectives and practical implications that suggests how writing studies can benefit the future of the criminological enterprise.