Is there a relationship between a low social class and high crime rate in conjunction with a specific religion? If so, how do you support your findings?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In order to answer this question, one would need to have data on socio-economic status, crime rates, and religious affiliation from the same population. Take it from an eNotes educator who studied the social sciences quite extensively at Furman University back in the 1990s. In regards to research, The University of Chicago Social Science Department has a large database that one can pull distinct variables to test. It is important that the sample size of the study be adequate to ensure there are not spurious correlations.

One can perform an ANOVA or Anaylsis of Variance on these variables to determine if there is a correlation between any two. This does not, however, indicate causality. Multiple regression analysis would need to be used to determine the influence of each variable on crime rates.

There are many studies in the field of sociology that look at these particular variables. Social Class, in itself, is a factor that consists of more than one variable. It may include race, age, education, and economic variables. Crime rates would also be a factor including more than one variable. For example, there are many different types of crime rates. These would include violent, non-violent, misdemeanor, felonies, etc. When determining the religion factor, it would be important to decide whether the question is simple denomination affiliation or one's concept of religiosity which could include church attendance, prayer, personal affiliation, and spirituality.

This is an interesting question which on the surface appears simplistic, however, when determining these variables, the picture becomes more in-depth. Take it from Durkheim whose desire it was “to establish a scientific methodology that could objectively observe and analyze the social instead of the individual.”

In order to do this, it was necessary to have social things that were separate and distinguishable from individuals. To this end, Durkheim crafted the concept of "social facts." A social fact is a social practice, rule, duty, or sanction that exists outside of the individual. Durkheim believed the study of social facts could uncover universal social laws. These laws could then be used to judge a society's well-being.

I have included the eNotes link below where you can find more about Durkheim and this sociological research in order for you to complete your assignment.

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