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Social Research-Getting It Right for Practitioners and Policy Makers, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1999
129 pages
Publication Series
This study focused on the ways in which researchers, practitioners (police), and policy advisers can cooperate more effectively.
Although this report is addressed to a range of different audiences, it is primarily relevant to those responsible for funding government social science research. The information on which this report is based was obtained from a variety of sources, including the research literature, particularly that on evaluation; discussion with a wide range of professionals, both from the academic and policing communities; and the author's personal experience as the head of the British Home Office Police Research group in 1992, the group responsible for conducting or funding social science research on policing in England and Wales. The author argues that there is a major new demand of the police to deliver outcomes in terms of reduced crime, and that in order to do so they must embrace research and evaluation in a way that has not so far been done, either in the United Kingdom or the United States. A new agenda of research and evaluation regarding police policies and practice would mark a partnership between police practitioners and academics that would be driven by hypothesis-based inquiries into what works where and why. There would be a presumption that the work would be published in a form that is readily accessible to practitioners, but also readily available to the wider research community where the quality of the work could be fully scrutinized. In developing this new agenda, attention must be given to the entire process of research, from commissioning, through execution, to delivery. This process is discussed in this report. The author notes that currently there is support at the highest level of government, both in the United States and the United Kingdom, for the kind of rational decisionmaking that is derived from quality research. This is raising the profile of research and the importance of making it relevant to practice through the cooperation and interaction of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. The questions of concern are how long this support will last and whether the research community will be able to respond to the challenges before it in a timely fashion. 96 references and an appended proposal to the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice regarding how researchers, practitioners, and policymakers can work together more effectively

Date Published: June 1, 1999