This study assessed the nature and extent of funding for randomized experiments in criminology and criminal justice from the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) since 2000.
The findings show a significant increase in recent years for NIJ's funding for experiments, compared to the 1991-2000 period. During this earlier period only 21 awards were made for experimental work. These findings suggest that NIJ has responded to a series of critiques of the methodological quality of funded projects, as it has given greater emphasis to high-quality social science research. Although the bulk of NIJ funding goes to forensic science and technology projects, among the 800 social science awards there were 99 awards for experiments. Support for the use of experimental designs increased during the 18-year period examined. The awards for experiments between 2001 and 2013 went to a variety of researchers and research organizations, and they addresses a variety of criminal justice program areas. These findings are based on data from official records of grant awards made by NIJ between fiscal years 2001 and 2013. Awards were categorized based on whether they were for randomized experiments, non-experimental evaluation research, non-evaluation social science research, social science program support, forensic science and technology research, or forensic science and technology support.