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Strengthening Theoretical Testing in Criminology Using Agent-Based Modeling

NCJ Number
247810
Journal
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 51 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2014 Pages: 509-525
Author(s)
Shane D. Johnson; Elizabeth R. Groff
Date Published
July 2014
Length
17 pages
Annotation
The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (JRCD) has published important contributions to both criminological theory and associated empirical tests.
Abstract
The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (JRCD) has published important contributions to both criminological theory and associated empirical tests. In this article, we consider some of the challenges associated with traditional approaches to social science research, and discuss a complementary approach that is gaining popularityagent-based computational modelingthat may offer new opportunities to strengthen theories of crime and develop insights into phenomena of interest. Two literature reviews are completed. The aim of the first is to identify those articles published in JRCD that have been the most influential and to classify the theoretical perspectives taken. The second is intended to identify those studies that have used an agent-based model (ABM) to examine criminological theories and to identify which theories have been explored. Ecological theories of crime pattern formation have received the most attention from researchers using ABMs, but many other criminological theories are amenable to testing using such methods. Traditional methods of theory development and testing suffer from a number of potential issues that a more systematic use of ABMsnot without its own issuesmay help to overcome. ABMs should become another method in the criminologists toolbox to aid theory testing and falsification. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage.