In this assessment you’ll be working in groups of four, which we’ll organise in class once the first semester is underway. The objective is to put together a short presentation in response to the following proposition:
In recent years, UK-oriented news outlets have periodically highlighted the apparent proliferation (growth) of violent crime (see, for example, BBC, 2018; The Sun, 2021), either generally or in specific forms. With reference to criminal justice data and wider criminological scholarship, assess the validity of these claims.
Your group presentation should run to 10-minutes in length, accounting for 35% of your total module mark. It’s important to note that you might be expected to respond to questions about your presentation, particularly if you run short. This is an opportunity to bolster your mark.
This submission will be marked in line with the presentation assessment grid in the module guide.
You may use generative AI such as ChatGPT to assist you in the process of undertaking the assessment in the following ways: brainstorming, research, planning, feedback, editing.
All use of generative AI must be explicitly acknowledged, and any artificially generated content (e.g., images) explicitly labelled, with the source of the AI tool referenced using current APA referencing conventions You can find further guidance on the library website on their AI webpage).
In submitting your assignment, you agree to disclose the extent to which you have used generative AI in preparing this work and include evidence of your AI use in your appendices (e.g., dated screen shots of your use of this tool or copy and paste your AI chat into Word).
Failure to disclose your generative AI use may result in a 0 for your assignment and a referral for academic misconduct (see the Student Academic Misconduct Policy under Essential Info in the MyLTU app).
Group presentations help students gain important skills which are valued by employers including oral communication, digital and information literacy, teamworking and other interpersonal skills. Teamwork is also relevant to the way that many students will work once they graduate since complex problems often require collaboration to solve. Group presentations therefore develop academic skills in researching and critically analysing a topic and professional skills in communication, negotiation, and teamwork.
During the first semester, we will spend a lot of time discussing the frequency and incidence of violent offending because the ability to grapple with such issues is vital when it comes to developing an advanced understanding of criminal offending and the criminal justice system. We will return to these issues throughout the module, but it’s our first port of call because the question of what we know and what we don’t is entirely foundational of specific offending forms – to put it simply, before we can think about ‘why’, we need to know ‘what’.
During the module, you be expected to engage with relevant academic readings, concepts, and methods through formative tasks to help you with the assessment. These will involve doing a bit of research amongst the available statistical data and engaging with relevant data/sources/reading. Informal feedback during teaching sessions will form part of these discussions, particularly a formative group task in week 2/3 that goes some way to mirroring the requirements of this assessment.
I will work with you all to ensure you have a strong understanding of the assessment and what is required. This will involve going through assessments during the lectures and engaging in the assessment sessions. In addition, your understanding of the assessments will be consistently tested (i.e., constructive alignment, assessment clinics, and content designed around the assessment) throughout the module to ensure clarity and understanding.
The reading list will also be helpful and can be accessed via the reading list on Moodle. In addition, we will be looking at several sources which you can draw from in the ‘resources’ for each week. You could also ask questions about the assessment in person or by contacting me via e-mail ([email protected]).
Additional academic support can be found from the Learning hub, located in AG11, e-mail [email protected]
Pre-session and post-session tasks on module templates/session worksheets have been specifically designed to help you to prepare for assessments. Pre-session tasks focus on key readings which are accompanied by directed questions which ask you to consider security and intelligence issues on weekly topics and broader social, political, and historical contexts in keeping with what is being asked of you from the group presentation assessment.
Post-session tasks focus on consolidating your learning and directing you to relevant sources such as archival material as well as reminding you to ‘check-in’ with your groups and plan your preparation for the presentations effectively.
The reading lists from sessions provide a detailed list of key and additional texts which will be useful and can be accessed via the reading list on Moodle in the Course Materials folder. Additional sources will be included in lecture slides. A list of relevant journal titles is also given in the resources section 12 of the module handbook.
How to Approach the Task
The first thing you’ll need to do is to decide who’s going to be in your group and to use the online sign-up mechanism through the module Moodle site.
The general task details can be found above, but please note that your specific approach to this issue is entirely open to group decision. It’s likely that you will find it difficult to focus your entire presentation on violent crime as a whole and might well have an easier time of focusing on a relatively narrow aspect of it. This might include such categories as ‘homicide’, ‘sexual violence’ or ‘knife crime’. In addition, your presentation should directly address the proposition, using evidence and argumentation to assess the validity of the media narrative around violent crime. It’s also possible that this outcome will vary depending on choices made. You might find yourselves coming to different conclusions within or, more likely, between groups, this is no bad thing as long as your analysis is adequately evidenced.
In order to engage fully with this issue, you’ll need to key into the news media cycle as it relates to violent crime and to the available data from the criminal justice system:
- The simplest way of engaging with news media for the purposes of this assessment is to use any standard search engine with term like ‘violent crime UK’, this will be producing an endlessly scrolling cycle of local and national news media reporting like that linked from the original assessment proposition. However, it’s important not to get lost in this, because it can be something of a rabbit hole.
- Second, the best place to find relevant, reasonably dependable statistics is the major evidential outlets of the criminal justice, particularly the Office for National Statistics, the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the Ministry of Justice. The usual parade of search engines will typically produce something with search terms such as ‘[crime type] statistics UK’.
- Finally, you should also treat this early assessment as an opportunity to explore some of British criminology’s major outlets, such as the British Journal of Criminology - https://academic.oup.com/bjc
In groups of 3 to 4 (preferably 4), you will work together as a team and you will need to decide between you how best to designate tasks, both in terms of research and delivery of the presentation. You may decide to set up your own group using Microsoft teams or another online platform so that you can collaborate virtually.
You have a lot of freedom when it comes to planning and delivering your presentation, but you may find the following structure useful:
- Introduction – A quick outline of the problem, ideally showing that you understand why you’re being asked to engage with the stated proposition and an outline of your approach to it. You might find it useful here to highlight and explain any choices you’ve made related to specific focal points. You might have chosen to focus on a specific type of violent crime, for example, and this should be clearly stated and connected to the wider issue. It’s also useful to inform your audience of what they can expect to learn and why this is important/useful.
- Evidence and Analysis – The largest aspect of your presentation should follow through on the parameters of your analysis outlined in the introduction, developing point-by-point as you explain your group response to the assessment proposition. In the process, you will be expected to demonstrate a level of discernment when it comes to selecting appropriate evidence, drawing upon key literature and data sources to resource your analysis. With reference to your body of evidence, to what extent might a criminologist agree or disagree with the assertion that violent crime has become increasingly commonplace in recent years. To put it another way, using all the evidence available to you, do you think violent crime is more common than it used to be? You will also need to consider how you will deliver the content (e.g., PowerPoint), whether you will incorporate visuals or other media and how you will present this on your slides in a coherent manner.
- Conclusion - Provide an evaluation of the material presented and your argument in a concluding slide (i.e., explain the conclusions you have drawn from your presentation and why you have reached them). The outcome of your analysis should not be a surprise to your audience at this point. It should be a logical outcome directly connected to the preceding evidence and argumentation.
Technology: It is your responsibility to check that any technology that you are planning to use works prior to delivering your presentation.
Presentations are expected to be delivered in person to your course tutor and a second marker. These will be recorded for external examination. Your peers may be present if scheduled during a usual teaching slot. If any unexpected changes need to be made to the delivery, these will be communicated in advance – please check your emails.
Timing: You have no more than 10 minutes to present – you will be timed, and presentations stopped once you have reached your time allocation so please bear this in mind during your preparation to ensure you keep to time on the day. You will have a 15-minute timeslot and will be asked follow-up questions.
Group working: As mentioned, an important aspect will be deciding on how to designate tasks such as research and the presentation of the material. You will need to organise yourselves so that your presentation is planned and practiced prior to your assessment slot.
Any issues with group working need to be identified prior to the assessment delivery day and cannot be used as reasons for poor performance after the event.
Although this is a group presentation, you will be judged on both academic and professional skills. In keeping with the assessment criteria, group presentations are expected to demonstrate the following:
Knowledge and understanding: You should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the topic through your ability to marshal evidence to your cause, connecting your presentation to key debates and concepts and by contextualising your work in wider social, political and/or cultural events.
Structure and argument: You should structure your presentation in a coherent way so that it is clear to your audience what the key issues/debates are relevant to your topic that you are addressing, and what your argument is in respect to them.
Analysis and conclusions: As with more standard academic assessments, there should be evidence of critical ability. For example, by critically engaging with sources and theories relevant to your selected topic/security issue and drawing conclusions based on your assessment of what they tell us about the topic/security issue you are focusing on.
Use of sources: You will need to give good thought to what sources you will engage with in your presentation. You need to demonstrate knowledge of key literature on your topic. You may want to use a variety of sources to make your presentation more engaging. However, please make sure that you do engage with academic sources (e.g., key texts such as academic journals and/or academic books/book chapters, theorists/ theories) and use them effectively (i.e., their relevance should be clear). These should be correctly referenced in your presentations, both in-text and in a reference list at the end.
Communication skills: You will need to give thought to how the material is communicated. This includes both oral communication and written content where used on slides, as well as how you communicate other visuals/multi-media should you decide to use them. It is important to practice your presentations to help with you feel more confident and fluent in your delivery.
APA Referencing: All sources should be appropriately referenced in your presentation, both in-text and by including a reference list at the end of your presentation. All sources including images and multi-media should be referenced appropriately using the latest APA referencing system (see referencing guide on Moodle in the assessment tab and hyper-linked in the module handbook).