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The Essentials

Second Edition
Additional resources:

December 2012 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This is an essential introduction to undergraduate studies in criminology. Short, clear and concise, it provides a comprehensive overview of the key themes covered on your criminology course.

The second edition provides:

  • Summaries of key course content, including new sections on race and ethnicity, cybercrime, ordinary crime, state crime, global and comparative criminology, green criminology and zemiology
  • A helpful study skills section with extensive advice on how to write essays and pass exams, including new sections on how to avoid plagiarism and how to find, read and use journal articles
  • Recent international case studies drawn from the United Kingdom, Australia, Africa and The United States
  • An all new companion website providing guides to further reading and links to relevant blogs, journal articles and useful websites

Criminology: The Essentials is an indispensible learning tool. As well as mapping out course content in a coherent and engaging way, it offers helpful hints and tips for getting the most out of your studies.

How to Use This Book
Why Use This Book?
Criminology Essentials: Thinking Like a Criminologist
What Is Crime?
Perspectives on Crime
Categorising Criminological Theory
The Origins of Criminology
Research Methods in Criminology
Locating Crime Within the Individual: Biological and Psychological Approaches
Crime as External to the Individual: Classic Sociological Theories
Contemporary Criminology
Crime Statistics and Crime Data
Crime and the Media
Youth and Crime
Gender and Crime
Race and Hate Crime
Serious Crime
General Introduction
Dealing with Theory
How to Get the Most Out of Your Lectures
How to Make the Most from Your Seminars
Essay Writing Tips
Revision Hints and Tips
Exam Tips


Click for online resources

Free resources on the companion website:

  • Links to free SAGE journal articles 
  • Practice questions
  • Additional tasks
  • Links to suggested websites 

This book is an excellent springboard into the world of criminology and academic study.

It has been on the essential reading list for all my 1st year criminology undergraduate students since it was published, and this revised and expanded 2nd edition brings a welcome update, including useful new sections on race and hate crime and cybercrime.

The book is a truly student-friendly introduction for those new to the subject area. Not only does it provide an understandable overview of key criminological concepts and core issues, but crucially it links these to the achievement of degree-level learning and assessment, through facilitating critical thinking and clearly explaining how to best develop university study skills.
Dr Kate Williams
University of Wolverhampton

Criminology recruits undergraduate students from all sorts of backgrounds. As they enter their first year they confront a dauntingly complex and diverse discipline. Therefore, a no-nonsense basic primer is an essential survival tool. For me, Treadwell's book, which covers everything from underlying philosophical principles to exam tips, is the most comprehensive and accessible basic primer on the market.
Steve Hall
Professor of Criminology, Teesside University

The second edition of Criminology: The Essentials is just what it promises - a no-nonsense, straightforward and immensely engaging guide to the fundamental issues and concerns facing criminologists today. James Treadwell's enthusiasm and knowledge shine through every page and this lively little volume will prove an indispensable introduction for countless students of criminology at schools, colleges and universities.
Yvonne Jewkes
Professor of Criminology, University of Leicester

This is a welcome updating of an extremely useful text for undergraduate students in criminology. The work has responded to feedback and developments in more contemporary aspects of criminology, and it continues to emphasise to students the need to develop critical thinking and analytical skills, so if offers clear insight into criminology and also guidance for study at higher education level.

James Treadwell has an engaging writing style and he places explanations of offending and how society responds to this in a context which students can relate to and grasp. This is vital in an introductory text and it offers a very good, comprehensive start to providing students with an understanding of criminology and criminal justice policy.

The core parts of the text continue to guide students through key concepts, theory and prominent authors who have offered these theories, with continued emphasis on critically analysing these views and ensuring students understand the importance of reading beyond mandatory and introductory texts.
Susie Atherton
Senior Lecturer, De Montfort University

James Treadwell has done a fine introduction job. It’s aimed at students, so if you are thinking of, or have started, a masters degree course in security management, this book lays out the basics to study, and offers tips on how to get the most out of your course and write essays less painfully - which I know is a difficulty (and a fear) for some security managers before MSc courses, after many years out of schooling...This book, like the subject, is about answering life questions. Take restorative justice - what it really boils down to is: if a mother of a 12-year-old caught shoplifting wants her son to stand out in a t-shirt saying ‘I am a thief’, what does the shop do? Criminology is the theory behind your choice.

Mark Rowe
Professional Security

This is a very useful book which I intend to use for a new module I am designing for September which explores patterns and trends in crime and victimisation. This book will be an essential book for the module as it covers many of the core areas we will be exploring such criminal statistics, gender, youth, race etc as well as victimisation.

Miss Samantha Reveley
Faculty of Education and Society, Sunderland University
March 14, 2019

This is a nice introductory book which I have recommended to students who are beginning from a foundational level. There are nice summaries of key concepts that students can easily grasp. In particular the study skills section proved popular among 1st year undergraduates.

Dr Suzanne Young
Department of Criminology, Leeds Beckett University
June 17, 2015

This book is clearly written, neatly structured and organised, and provides the reader with the key essentials pertaining to criminology in a way that students can easily understand.

Mr Aliraza Javaid
School of Social, Psychological & Comm, Leeds Beckett University
March 12, 2015

Criminology by James Treadwell is a no nonsense essential resource for anyone interested in understanding what is a fascinating area of study.

Mr Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera
Faculty of Business, Sport & Enterprise, Southampton Solent University
February 18, 2015

An excellent intro to the world of criminology - essential for all students embarking on the criminological journey

Ms Anne Thomson
[DEPARTMENT NOT SPECIFIED], Southampton Solent University
October 5, 2014

A learners friendly book which guides students through key concepts and theory in a straightforward manner. Widely informative.

Mrs Pam Lavender
Access, South Staffordshire College
August 18, 2014

Covering a wide range of topics this book is recommended for 1st year students particularly

Mr Ashley Tiffen
Institute of Policing and Criminal Justice Studies, University of Cumbria
August 14, 2014

this is been really useful for my first years as it provides a detailed overview of some important aspects of criminology.

Miss Amber Rose Maloney
public services, Sheffield College
June 18, 2014
  • Sections on race and ethnicity, cybercrime, ordinary crime, state crime, global and comparative criminology, green criminology and zemiology
  • Coverage in the study skills section of how to avoid plagiarism and how to find, read and use journal articles
  • Recent international case studies drawn from the United Kingdom, Australia, Africa and The United States
  • companion website with guides to further reading and links to relevant blogs, journal articles and useful websites

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preview this book

James Treadwell

I became a Professor in Criminology at Staffordshire University in 2017, having started my career as a   Lecturer in Criminology in 2003 at the University of Central England.  Before I moved into academia I had previously worked for NACRO and the National Probation Service.  I have previously held academic posts at Birmingham Law School (University of Birmingham) the Centre for Applied Criminology (Birmingham City University) and the Department of Criminology (University of Leicester).  I am currently a member of the executive with the British Society of Criminology (and act as Chair of the Prizes Committee). ... More About Author

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