Round-up: criminological psychology

Image: Tony Webster.

I’ve finished teaching criminological psychology for the time being so here’s a round-up of the resources I’ve published here recently on the topic.

Resources: drug treatments for sex offenders

Source: wikimedia.

Here are some bits I’ve made recently for teaching drug treatments for sex offenders. There’s an evaluation exercise where students are invited to identify weaknesses in a sample of evaluative writing about drug treatments for sex offenders and then write their own improved version (includes a teacher cribsheet with the main issues). There’s also a summary of some recent research  in this area and a short slideshow to support the lesson.

Resources: anger management with offenders

Here is a lesson on anger management with offenders. There is a slideshow giving background including Novaco’s cognitive model of anger and two application problems where students identify anger-relevant process and suggest ways of addressing them. There is also a results table and some extracts from Henwood et al’s (2015) meta-analysis of anger management with offenders. The lesson assumes you have set preparation learning on the topic.

Resources: labelling theory and crime

Here are some bits I’ve made recently for teaching labelling theory and crime.  There’s a jigsaw activity with slideshow and material on recent studies of the effect of labelling.  There’s also an applied learning scenario on labelling for developing application and analysis skills.

Resources: Socrative quizzes on various topics

Image: kake

I’ve been making quite a lot of use of the quiz/assessment website (free account needed; pay for enhanced features). I’m mainly using it to check comprehension of preparatory reading assignments, particularly for targeting areas where misconceptions are likely to arise (e.g. the difference between privacy and confidentiality when discussing research ethics). Here are some of the quizzes I’ve made recently.


Criminological psychology

Research methods and statistics


Resources: 47,XYY kayrotype and criminality

Souce: wikimedia. Creative commons license.

Here’s a lesson on the 47,XYY karyotype (XYY syndrome) using the jigsaw format. It starts with a factual learning check and some slides to support an explanation of three different explanations of the association between XYY and offending. The jigsaw element is oriented towards using research into 47,XYY as a way of discussing various issues and debates in psychology. These are based on some of those specified by Edexcel (reductionism, socially sensitive research, development of knowledge over time and nature/nurture) but I imagine they’re fairly broadly applicable. There’s a slideshow, a Socrative true/false quiz on XYY and a set of jigsaw materials on XYY for four groups.

Resources: two lessons on jury decisions

‘The INSET’ by John Morgan (Creative Commons).

Here are two lessons on jury decision making (plans). Both assume that you have set advance study of the relevant material.

The first addresses the characteristics of the defendant. There is an analysis task (based on an Edexcel sample question) you can use to structure a group discussion on  influences on jury decisions, explanations of those influences and the evidence that relates to them. This is followed by a consideration of the weaknesses of mock-jury research and an activity on research design to help integrate RMS knowledge and understanding with the topic of criminological psychology. Invite students to design studies and summarise them on this form, then stick them on a visualiser/photograph/scan and project them for a group critique. There is a slideshow to structure the lesson.

The second lesson focuses on pretrial publicity. It is also RMS-focused and structured around a content analysis of two newspaper articles about the Joanna Yeates case, one from the Daily Mail and one from The Guardian. The slideshow gives a structure for the lesson.

Improving assessment with a single-point rubric


I’ve started using single-point rubrics for assessing and feeding back on essays since coming across them on  This post has a nice summary of the benefits which I won’t repeat here.

Here are a couple of essay questions and single point rubrics designed to develop and assess critical thinking and writing skills in line with Edexcel’s Psychology specification. They are both ‘context’ questions requiring a combination of analysis/application, critical thinking and knowledge and understanding. I’ve tried to construct them to facilitate the sort of structure that works with Edexcel (but which is also consistent good academic writing). There is one on different types of brain scanning/imaging and another on eyewitness testimony (weapons effect, postevent information). These are RTFs, so you can hack them about to make your own. If you do, please share in the comments.  

Resources: two lessons on interviewing witnesses and suspects

Photo: Krystian Olszansky (Creative Commons licence)

Here are two lessons on interviewing witnesses (cognitive interview) and suspects (ethical interview). Each lesson assumes you have set advance reading from whichever textbook or other source you are using.  Lesson one starts with students making comparisons between standard police interviews and cognitive interviews using this visible thinking routine for comparing. The main application activity is to write a letter to a chief constable persuading her to adopt cognitive interviewing in her force.  I’ve found that some students get all up tight about writing an essay because it smells like assessment and they do a better job if they write a letter instead, even though the same skills are required. The slideshow gives a structure for the lesson.

Lesson two starts with the use of the same VTR. This is followed by an analysis task using this recording of a police suspect interview.  Finally, students work up an evaluation using a handout of evidence. A slideshow structures the lesson.

Resources: weapon focus, research methods and statistics

Ministry of Defence; licensed under Creative Commons.
Do to weapon focus, you will later be unable to recall this blog post.

Here are some resources for teaching weapon focus, research methods and statistics. There is a set of stimuli for a weapon focus experiment and a response sheet (copy for the students or project it). The experiment is designed with at least one fatal flaw (failure to counterbalance in a repeated measures design) and several extraneous variables (e.g. image quality). You could use it to demo the general idea underlying most weapon focus research, use it as a stimulus for class discussion etc. Alternately, there is a slideshow to structure a lesson and a set of activities on weapon focus, research methods and statistics.