Today, my students and I have been reviewing their latest assessment and how to use an introduction to help glue it all together. WHY? Because I am tiring of the regurgitated paragraph I have advised them to include and they whack it in with no mention of why it is there.

Our essay was all about assessing Functionalist explanations of crime and deviance.

I will keep this short as I am still marking and haven’t really got time to waste….but here is my top tip

  • have an introduction that highlights the main focus of Functionalist theory, ie) Functionalism is a perspective that highlights the nature of social order and the importance of shared values in achieving this. Central to their analysis is how socialisation into agreed values and the the pressure from informal social control within communities is essential for limiting deviant activity. This essay will explore the usefulness and relevance of these ideas in understanding criminal and deviant activity in society’.
  • now – we have a box of hooks that we can use to run through our answer and connect to all the paragraphs that follow.
  • When a new consensus perspective is introduced – the student MUST write an opening sentence that connects to one of these hooks to ensure RELEVANCE – if not, it is just a bolt on KU point with no application to the set question, ie) “The idea of Strain Theory was developed by Merton, by considering how the shared values of society taught through socialisation, actually can drive many into criminality…….”

or “The New Right have more recently explored the decline of community and informal social control in              their explanation of crime. They note how the erosion of traditional morality resulting from a breakdown in social integration and bonds between members of society……”

The future: All essay plans in future will look a bit like schematic diagrams from electronics with links to central concepts clearly identified. We get this right – we get those I&A skills nailed (good old skool AO2a).

All the best,

Chris