Reminder: Please complete the post-assessment (Step 9) by Tuesday!

The link for the assessment is here:

Dear students,

This is an important email about a required class activity. The course in which you are enrolled is participating in a project funded by the National Science Foundation to improve students’ quantitative literacy skills. As a result of our participation in this initiative, during the semester I am administering two rounds of assessments that focus on quantitative reasoning skills. Your participation in these assessments is a required classroom activity and counts towards attendance/participation. However, you have a choice as to whether or not you want your data to be used for research purposes. Please watch the video here to learn more about this project:

In order to receive attendance/class participation credit, you must complete the post-assessment by December 14th. Your participation in these assessments is very important to evaluate the effectiveness of faculty efforts to teach quantitative data analysis. In some classes, students will complete the assessments even if they do not participate in any quantitative literacy activities. In other classes, they will undertake quantitative data analysis.

We ask that you kindly treat the assessments seriously as the results are important for understanding how we can effectively improve our curriculum. Your performance on the assessment has no bearing on your grade in this course and will never be used to evaluate you personally. That said, please try your best, but don’t try to look up answers as that will negatively impact our research.

Meanwhile, you do have the option of deciding whether you want your results to be used for research purposes. Regardless of whether or not you choose to participate in this research, the assessment you complete for class will be the same. However, if you choose to participate in the research, you will be paid $5.00 for your completion of the assessment and you will be asked some additional background questions.  

The principal investigators for this project, including Esther Wilder (Lehman College), Rebecca West (Lehman College), and Eduardo Vianna (LaGuardia Community College), would be extremely grateful if you would be willing to allow your data to be used for research. If you choose to do that, the research team will protect the confidentiality of your data. We can only provide compensation ($5) to students who are participants in this research study.

The link for the assessment is here:

Thank you for taking the time to do this!

The DARE Team



Once the data are imported into Google Sheets, you will need to analyze them. The training on how to use Google Sheets will be provided during class in a computer lab. Subsequent training will be offered by appointment. 

You will begin to analyze a particular aspect of the data that has been collected. To analyze our data, we will start by summarizing our data using descriptive statistics. You will then explore the relationships between the two variables that interest you (from your research question and hypothesis). This will be represented in tables that include raw and percentage data. Together we will learn to create tables and charts in Google Sheets that can help us display the data related to our research questions of interest. Each student will then compile these tables and charts into an OpenLab post. 

For example, you will show a Line Graph of a chosen crime ( homicide, for example) in your neighborhood, and rates for this crime at the state, and the national level for the past 10 years. You will also calculate percentage change for your picked crime comparing such percentage change in your neighborhood.

Here is how to create a line graph in Google Sheets:

Make a time series graph in google sheets

Here is how to calculate percentage change in Google Sheets: Percentage, Percent Change, Percent Increase, Percent of Total Formulas – Google Sheets Tutorial

Here is how to calculate rate per 100,000 for a chosen crime: Crime Rate = Total Crime / Population *100,000 [use population from Step 6]

Your analysis post will include: 

  • reflections on your tables (How does your pivot/bivariate table help you to both answer your research question and present your research findings?)
  • reflections on your line graph (How does the graph help you to answer and present your research question and findings?); 
  • Reflection on crime trends in your chosen crime at the local, state and national levels. 
  • Reflection how the chosen crime (homicide, for example) increased or decreased as a percentage of all violent/property crimes.
  • Was your hypothesis supported? Why do you think it was/wasn’t so?

Example of Line Graph of Homicide As Related to All Violent Crime (using Newark NJ Summary Crime Data from FBI) (the chart is linked to data in Google Sheets)

Examples of Line Charts (Crime Data from FBI) (the chart is linked to data in Google Sheets). 

Example of a Line Chart Comparing State and National Homicide Rates (the chart is linked to data in Google Sheets). 

Share your analysis in the OpenLab and write a short post reflecting on the bullet points above. Offer feedback to at least two of your classmates’ reflections.  

WEEK 9 (10/31 to 11/06): Theories of Strain and Anomie Durkheim, Merton and Agnew

Lesson Overview

This week we are introduced to the mainstream sociological approaches to understanding crime. We start with Durkheim’s anomie theory, which postulated that social changes and the feeling of normlessness in society were linked to crime. Merton expanded on this concept through the strain theory, which stated crime was a result of discrepancies between societal goals and the means to achieve those goals. Agnew expanded the theory further in developing the General Strain Theory, stating that the anger or frustration that resulted from negative relationships or experiences led to criminality.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify Émile Durkheim’s contributions to understanding social changes and anomie.
  • Explain why Robert K. Merton’s theory of strain become popular when it did, as well as how his conceptualization of “anomie” differed from Durkheim’s.
  • Discuss how Robert Agnew’s proposed model of general strain added more sources of strain to Merton’s original framework.
  • Identify some ways the various models of strain theory have informed the making of policies intended to reduce criminality.



1. Anomie. Brittanica –

2. Chapter 3: Anomie. In Tierney, John. Key Perspectives in Criminology, McGraw-Hill Education, 2009. ProQuest Ebook Central, 480635

Download the chapter here.