Confronting Gun Crime

Anthropology 157: The Ecology of Crime

Research Paper

CONFRONTING GUN CRIME
After more than two decades of steady decline in crime in the
United States, 2015 saw a sharp increase, particularly in
violent crime. Gun crime makes up a significant fraction of the
most serious violent crime in the United States and few would
disagree that this is the case. There is little agreement,
however, on what can and should be done about gun crime.
Your task is to present a compelling, evidence-based argument
for a gun crime prevention strategy.
Your research project has several components:
1. Provide a quantitative characterization of the problem
(backed up by well-sourced numbers)
2. Pick a domain and develop a solution in that domain
a. Gun “culture”
b. Gun markets
c. Gun laws
d. Gun design (engineering)
e. Other (written approval from Prof B. required)
3. Provide a practical justification for the solution
4. Project the impact of the solution
GUIDELINES FOR PRODUCING A SUCCESSFUL PAPER
This research project is NOT a standard class paper. Simply
describing the results of past gun crime prevention strategies
conducted by other researches will earn you a “D.” You need to
push the envelope and try to come up with novel, practical
interventions and clearly articulate how and why you expect them
to work. This means you really need to endeavor to understand
the problem.
It is important to ground your intervention strategy in theory,
but is equally important to consider whether your solution is
practical. Your grade will reflect whether it is possible to
implement your solution given existing economic, political,
social or constitutional constraints. Do not neglect these
issues in your paper.
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ITS TIME TO PROVE THAT YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO COMPETE IN THE
REAL WORLD. Therefore I want you to assume that you are actually
generating the proposal for a city or government official and
that you are really trying to fix the problem. Your paper
should therefore be scientifically convincing and practical as
well as professional in its organization and presentation.
Note that this project is a LIBRARY RESEARCH PAPER. Common sense
may be useful in when seeking inspiration for how to best
accomplish crime prevention. However, you MUST also back up your
ideas and perspectives using information gathered from
acceptable SCIENTIFIC SOURCES.
LIBRARY RESEARCH & ACCEPTABLE SCIENTFIC SOURCES
You MUST cite and correctly reference 5-10 journal articles or
book chapters from acceptable SCIENTIFIC SOURCES. One important
type of acceptable scientific source is an article from a peer
reviewed journal. Peer review means that the article has been
evaluated by two or more experts in the field. The reviewers
have checked to make sure that the authors of the paper have
used state-of-the-art theory and methods and are not
inadvertently (or deliberately) misleading the reader.
Publication in a peer reviewed journal does NOT mean that the
paper is necessarily correct, nor that the reviewers necessarily
agree with the arguments in the paper. It only means that the
paper can be read as an honest presentation of perspectives and
data.
Books and book chapters from reputable scientific publishing
houses and from University presses are generally also peer
reviewed, but not with the degree of intensity that journal
articles are reviewed. Books and book chapters may also be
acceptable scientific sources, but you should be more cautious
in accepting what is said in these sources. Authors have much
greater freedom in a book to present ideas, opinions and data
that might not pass muster in a peer reviewed journal.
Journal articles obtained from journals accessed through UCLA
databases ISI Web of Science and J-Store are guaranteed to be
acceptable. Most books on the shelves of the UCLA libraries are
acceptable scientific sources.
UNACCEPTABLE SOURCES
All other information from the web should be treated as
unacceptable. This means information from websites such as
wikepedia.org, britannica.com, joesacriminal.com, latimes.com,
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etc., are ALL UNACCEPTABLE as scientific sources. Web pages and
blogs are not peer reviewed by experts in the field and
therefore they are under no obligation to use state-of-the-art
theory and methods, nor are they required to be honest. In fact,
it is not unreasonable to expect that blog authors are simply
interested in attracting as much attention as possible. Why be
careful and honest, if playing fast and loose earns you more
eyeballs?
Main stream newspapers such as the LA Times do hold themselves
to a higher standard than bloggers. However, the journalistic
standard is one of “confirmation” from multiple sources not
scientific accuracy. Thus if two or more people confirm the same
outlandish story, then it is fit to print. If you see something
in a news story that attracts your attention, you must back up
the claims in that story with information data from other
sources.
One final unacceptable source: Lectures. If you hear something
intriguing in lecture, you must find acceptable scientific
sources that back that up. Do not cite (Brantingham, Lecture
15)!
WARNING: I WILL DEDUCT ONE WHOLE LETTER GRADE FROM YOUR PAPER
SCORE FOR EACH CITATION TO UNACCEPTABLE MATERIALS. FOR EXAMPLE,
CITE WIKIPEDIA ONCE AND YOUR GRADE WILL GO FROM A- TO B-
.
PAPER FORMAT
Your paper MUST adhere to the following formatting guidelines:
• 5 page maximum, EXCLUDING references, tables and figures.
• Double-spaced, 12 pt font
• 1” (inch) margins top, bottom, left right (not more not
less)
• Citations and references in Chicago B format:
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.htm
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Note: You must be on UCLA campus, or using the UCLA VPN if
off-campus to access the Chicago Manual of Style.
It is recommended that you write your paper working from a point
form outline. Make sure you have all the pieces of your argument
together before you start turning it into prose.

 
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