Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm gonna make it do what it do!

The last couple of weeks of preparation have been difficult. I was feeling okay about this, until I started really thinking about the amount of material I have to memorize, and I managed to convince myself I was going to fail. This, coupled with some other stressful grad life related events, put me in a bad place for awhile.

Yesterday, I printed up 38 pages of notes that I got third-hand for the exam, and spent some time looking at them, both in the hardcopy and in Word. There are three general issues I have to know inside and out: measurement & measurement problems, the correlates of crime (race, class, gender, and age), and major criminological theories (classical, social disorganization, self control, social control, social learning/differential association, strain, life course, labeling, and critical/feminist). Even if you know what all of that means, it's an overwhelming amount of material. So, as a way to combine everything, I decided to approach it differently and combined concepts to make studying easier. This is how it shakes down:

Measurement issues remain their own thing, but also incorporate life course vs. self control theories, since those theories argue for cross sectional versus panel data.

Age also links with life course theory, self control theory (to an extent), and some Marxist theories.

Gender links with feminist theories, a brand of strain theory, power and control theory, but that's more or less it.

Race and class link with strain theory, social disorganization theory, Marxist theories, and subcultural theories.

Life course, learning, control (self and social), strain, and labeling all pretty much exist on their own.

So that's that. I am nervous as hell about this exam, but at least I am not so scared that I can't come up with a way to at least try and approach the material.

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