Criminology: Two Explanations of Causality


When speaking about causal relationships, many people see them simply as a sequence of events in which the final results are directly from the previous. This explanation is referred to as idiographic, or qualitative, apparently because it only includes descriptive data (Bachmann & Schutt, 2017). Due to the lack of statistical analysis, it applies to individual cases rather than tendencies because identifying the latter presupposes calculations. They, meanwhile, fall under the so-called nomothetic, or qualitative, explanation of causality; specifically, this approach serves to measure the connection between the independent and the dependent variables (ibid.). Simply stated, this means the conviction that a variation in the former changes the latter while all other points remain equal.


Presumably, most people appeal to the qualitative explanation considerably more often because they do not need to think globally in their everyday lives. They communicate with particular individuals, not entire societies, visit certain cities rather than whole counties at once, and others. Therefore, they automatically apply their analytical skills to individual cases, possibly even without realizing this; such behavior is natural. The duty of criminal justice researchers, on the contrary, is to serve communities and maintain public safety, which calls for quantitative approaches because they have to be aware of the factors that breed mass crime. Along with this, every particular occasion needs thorough examination for identifying the measures to take, for which reason researchers most probably use both approaches, depending on circumstances.


Other jobs may require such complex approaches as well; furthermore, professional life can influence personal, enabling people to appeal to the nomothetic explanation permanently and sometimes unconsciously. I am not an exception because the need to perceive and analyze large amounts of information at work doubtlessly has made me think more globally in everyday life. I believe that such an ability improves my understanding of modern society, adding to its broadness.


Bachman, R., & Schutt, R. K. (2017). The practice of research in criminology and criminal justice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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LawBirdie. (2023) 'Criminology: Two Explanations of Causality'. 25 July.


LawBirdie. 2023. "Criminology: Two Explanations of Causality." July 25, 2023.

1. LawBirdie. "Criminology: Two Explanations of Causality." July 25, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Criminology: Two Explanations of Causality." July 25, 2023.