Criminology Research Organization Research Paper

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Prior to the 1960s in the United States, criminological research resulted from individual efforts. The reliance on individual investigators to conduct (and oftentimes fund) their own research agenda was primarily a function of a lack of funding sources devoted to issues surrounding criminology and criminal justice. Since the 1960s, however, research in criminal justice has dramatically increased. The period between 1960 and 1980 saw the emergence of a concerted effort in the federal government to initiate research projects that were designed to understand the extent of criminal behavior, including the etiology of criminal behavior as well as the reaction of the criminal justice system to criminal behavior. Although still noticeably undersupported financially, funded research efforts during this time period gathered much information that helped set the stage for the continuation and expansion of criminological research efforts. Since 1980 there has been a substantial increase in the financial resources afforded to criminological research, which has led to a proliferation of scholarly activity within criminology and criminal justice.

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The interest in understanding the causes and consequences of crime can be traced back to the U.S. presidential campaign of 1964 and the consequential passage of the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act (Pub L. No. 90–351, 82 Stat. 197). Since that time, the focus on crime-related issues has emerged as an important matter for the federal government. As a result of the elevated importance of crime and its consequences, monetary allocations for researching and understanding this phenomenon have been elevated dramatically.

The organization of criminological and criminal justice research can best be described at four levels: international, federal, state, and local. International efforts have consisted of coordinated efforts by countries with an interest in understanding and preventing problems associated with crime both within and across country boundaries. For example, the United Nations has funded a number of criminological studies focusing on transnational and transatlantic crime, terrorism, espionage, and white collar offenses. In addition, the federal governments of many European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, have funded a number of longitudinal studies that have attempted to unravel the complexities associated with criminal behavior over an individual’s life span.

In the United States, participation in criminological research has been most extensive at the federal level. The largest funding agencies within the federal government have been the National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and Mental Health, the National Science Foundation (and the National Consortium on Violence Research), the Federal Justice Research Program, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Since 1980 funding at the state level has increased. For example, state planning agencies, state commissions on crime and delinquency, and state analysis centers (SACs) have proliferated across the United States. These agencies perform a number of functions, including statewide research activities, program development, and program evaluation. State-level police and correctional departments plan, support, conduct, and encourage the study of criminal justice issues, particularly as they relate to resources within the system. At the local level, planning agencies and police departments plan and carry out research activities. With the advent of geographic information systems (GIS), a mapping system designed to pinpoint the location of crimes, these agencies are now better equipped to understand the nature of the local crime problem(s), and develop strategies aimed at curbing the problem. An additional advancement in aiding state and local agencies inform the public on matters of crime is the Internet. The Internet allows researchers and citizens to access and review the collected information on criminal justice issues. In fact, some agencies like the Philadelphia Police Department allow users to explore the nature and distribution of homicides throughout the city. Many other big-city police departments such as Baltimore, Phoenix, New York City, Charlotte, and Edmonton, Canada, have followed suit. Although state and local agencies have developed research capabilities that far surpass what was available to them in the 1960s and 1970s, it is the federal government that possesses the resources to conduct and sponsor large-scale studies.

Development of Research Centers

In addition to the increase in funding from the federal government for crime-related issues, a number of private (both not-for-profit and forprofit) research centers have also increased the distribution of resources available to the study of criminal justice issues. Some of the most notable include the Institute for Law and Justice, the Vera Institute, the Urban Institute, Rand Corporation, Abt Associates, Police Foundation, and the Police Executive Research Forum. Various private foundations have also entered the criminal justice arena, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

Located in northern Virginia, the Institute for Law and Justice (ILJ) is a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to consulting, research, evaluation, and training in criminal justice issues related to policing, courts, and corrections. ILJ fields a comprehensive research staff who also works with cities, counties, states, federal agencies, and private industries in matters associated with criminal justice. In addition, ILJ organizes the Annual Research and Evaluation Conference held in Washington, D.C.

The Vera Institute designs and implements innovative programs that encourage ‘‘just practices’’ in public services toward improvement in the quality of life. Located in New York City, Vera operates the programs it designs only during the demonstration stage; if these programs succeed, the demonstrations often lead to the creation of new government programs, the reform of old ones, or the establishment of nonprofit organizations to carry them out. In addition to a focus on applied criminal justice and social reform issues, Vera also has projects that examine child welfare and juvenile justice, a neighborhood drug crisis center, the citizen jury project, support for people with disabilities, and a Bureau of Justice Assistance Project in South Africa.

Located in Washington, D.C., the Urban Institute is a nonprofit policy research organization established in 1968. The goals of the institute are to sharpen thinking about society’s problems and develop efforts to solve them, improve government decisions and their implementation, and increase citizens’ awareness about important public choices. The Urban Institute is comprised of a variety of centers that fall under various domains, including economics, social welfare, community building, and policy briefs. The crime/ law and behavior program, which handles much of the institute’s criminal justice research, is part of the State Policy Center located within the community-building domain. The law and behavior program conducts evaluations and analyses of federal, state, and local crime programs and policies. Research foci include the police, courts, and programs designed to prevent and respond to drug use, delinquency, and family and youth violence. Recent projects include evaluation of comprehensive community-based anticrime initiatives, evaluation of Washington, D.C., drug courts, a gun control policy evaluation, and an assessment of the gains from criminal activity.

With its main headquarters in Santa Monica, California, one of the largest research centers in the country is the RAND Corporation. Originally designed to study matters associated with national security, the 1960s witnessed RAND’s entrance into domestic policy concerns. Areas of research within RAND include national defense, education and training, health care, and criminal justice. RAND’s criminal justice program started in 1976 and has been analyzing issues and policy related to three domains: sentencing and corrections, drug policy, and violence prevention. RAND’s work in the criminal justice area has included projects on criminal careers, the effects of determinant sentencing, violence prevention, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity within the criminal justice system, and drug use trends and drug use reduction strategies.

Founded in 1965, Abt Associates is a forprofit government and business consulting and research firm based in suburban Boston that uses research-based approaches to help solve social and business problems and guide government policy decisions. Abt maintains proficiency in four large areas: social and economic policy, international economic development, business research and consulting, and clinical trials. Within the social and economic policy domain, Abt fields the law and public policy area. Abt’s work in this area focuses on issues related to crime and substance abuse. It includes policy-oriented research and evaluation and translation and synthesis of research for nonscientific professionals in criminal justice and substance abuse areas. One recent development is a Neighborhood Problem Solving System that was designed for community crime prevention organizations in Hartford. The software package developed by Abt enables community groups to produce computerized maps showing the location of crimes and arrests.

The Police Foundation was established in 1970 with a $30 million fund from the Ford Foundation to assist a limited number of police departments in experiments and demonstrations aimed at improving operations, and to support special education and training projects. Since then, the Police Foundation has been at the forefront of several major police studies, including: the Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment; the Newark Foot Patrol Experiment; the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment; the Status of Women in Policing Project; the San Diego Patrol Staffing Project; the Houston-Newark Fear of Crime Project; the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department’s Repeat Offending Project; the Police Use of Force Project; and the Big Six Project, which studied the six largest police departments in the country. In addition, the foundation produced Crime File, a twenty-twopart criminal justice videotape series that focused on topics such as deadly force, domestic violence, and gun control.

Another organization that focuses on police research, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), is a national membership organization of police executives from the largest city, county, and state law enforcement agencies. PERF originated in 1975 when ten police executives from some of the nation’s largest cities met informally to discuss common policing concerns. After a successful initial meeting, the chiefs decided to meet on a regular basis to explore issues related to improving the quality of policing. The twofold mission statement of PERF includes the improvement of policing, and the advancement of professionalism through research and involvement in public policy debate. PERF is primarily concerned with research and experimentation that generates knowledge, discussion, and debate about policing. Some of the projects undertaken by PERF include the effect of fatigue on officer performance, police use of force, and the potential effect of the police on reducing homicide.

Created in 1978 by John D. MacArthur, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grant-making institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. Based in Chicago, the MacArthur Foundation supports research, policy development, dissemination, education and training, and practice. Of all private foundations, MacArthur provides the most financial support for criminal justice research. It makes grants through two major integrated programs: Human and Community Development, and

Global Security and Sustainability. The former program supports national research and policy work, while the latter program focuses on arms reduction and security policy, ecosystems conservation and policy, and population. The foundation also supports two other programs: the general program, which undertakes special initiatives and supports projects that promote excellence and diversity in the media, and the MacArthur Fellows Program, which awards fellowships to exceptionally creative individuals, regardless of field of endeavor. The Program on Human and Community Development focuses broadly on social conditions, including community and child development. One focus of the foundation is its infusion of teams of collaborators that are comprised not only of interdisciplinary scholars, but also policy analysts, policymakers, and the individuals who do their jobs, work with civic and neighborhood organizations, and support the growth and development of children, families, communities, and friends. The foundation approaches this mission with two strategies: projects and networks. Foundation projects are large-scale and are designed to document social conditions, evaluate the effectiveness of social policies, and track the progress of major policy reform initiatives. One of these projects is the multiagency funded Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, a project that is tracking the developmental histories of several cohorts of individuals throughout Chicago. The second strategy pursued by the foundation is the formation of research networks. Referred to as ‘‘research institutions without walls,’’ the foundation networks bring together individuals from a broad spectrum of disciplines, perspectives, and research methods to explore basic theoretical issues and empirical questions that deal with fundamental social issues. Several networks deal with issues related to criminology and criminal justice (Psychopathology and Development, Mental Health and the Law, Successful Pathways through Middle Childhood). Principle among these is the Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. This network has brought together a team of researchers and practitioners to study issues associated with development and juvenile justice. Two main studies are being undertaken by this particular network. The first is a two-site, longitudinal study of the process by which serious offenders navigate the criminal justice process, and the patterns by which they persist or desist from criminal offending. The second project consists of a multisite study on issues related to competence and culpability regarding young offenders in the criminal justice system. The MacArthur Foundation is able to provide all of these research services because it has assets of $4 billion and makes grants totaling more than $170 million annually.

Founded in 1936, the Ford Foundation operated as a local philanthropy in Michigan until 1950 when it expanded to become a national and international foundation. Since its inception, it has been an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that has provided more than $9.3 billion in grants and loans. The Ford Foundation has as its goals the strengthening of democratic values, the reduction of poverty and injustice, the promotion of international cooperation, and the advancement of human achievement. To accomplish these tasks, the foundation encourages initiatives by those living and working closest to where problems are located; promotes collaboration among the nonprofit, government, and business sectors; and assures participation by men and women from diverse communities and at all levels of society. Three domains of research mark the foundation’s funding: human and community development, peace and social justice, and education, media, and arts.

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation grew out of financial resources from the Avon Company. The main funding priorities for the McConnell-Clark Foundation cut across four areas: the poor, children, the elderly, and the developing world. These topical areas have turned into research programs studying children, tropical diseases, New York neighborhoods, student achievement, youth development, and justice. Within the area of criminal justice, several grants have been awarded to youth law centers in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and to the law institute at the University of Minnesota.

Started in 1936 by William T. Grant, the William T. Grant Foundation’s mission is to ‘‘assist research, education, and training through the sciences which have their focus in the study of man and the fundamental principles of human relations.’’ Support from the Grant Foundation is available within three broad areas: research on the development of children, adolescents, and youth, research to evaluate broadly based social interventions; a faculty scholars program; and a small grants program. One current project being supported by the foundation concerns the disrupted transition of high school dropout from adolescence to adulthood, and the implications high school dropout has for successful life development, including involvement in antisocial behavior.

The purpose of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is to test promising ideas, evaluate results, and give heightened visibility to particular issues. Although the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concentrates their grants in the health care arena, recent funding has been awarded to researchers interested in promoting health and reducing the harm associated with substance abuse in the form of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, as well as the criminal events that arise from substance use and abuse problems.

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation sponsors scholarly research on problems of violence, aggression, and dominance. The Guggenheim Foundation also provides funding for grants that explore various aspects of violence related to youth, family relationships, media effects, crime, biological factors, intergroup conflict related to religion, ethnicity and nationalism, political violence deployed in war and substate terrorism, as well as processes of peace and the control of aggression.

Research centers have also sprung up in universities nationwide. Early centers were attached to law schools and social science departments; however, since the early 1980s, research centers have been made part of a variety of criminal justice and sociology departments around the country. Perhaps the most interesting advent since the late 1960s has been the proliferation of graduate programs in criminology and criminal justice. In the 1970s, there were only two programs granting the Ph.D. degree in criminology and criminal justice. As of 1999, there were over twenty such programs within criminal justice, and many more that distribute Masters-level degrees in criminal justice. Further, a large number of programs granting the Ph.D. degree in sociology and psychology exist in which students can specialize in issues surrounding crime, law, psychopathy, deviance, and antisocial behavior. Many of these graduate programs are leaders in the dissemination of criminological, criminal justice, and violence research, including the University of Maryland, Carnegie Mellon University, State University New York–Albany, University of Cincinnati, Florida State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Northeastern University, Michigan State University, University of Missouri–St. Louis, Arizona State University, University of California–Irvine, University of Illinois– Chicago, American University, Rutgers University, University of Washington, Cambridge University, University of Montreal, University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, and others.

The Federal Impact on Research

The federal government’s interest in appropriating funds for the research and understanding of crime has continued to grow since its early interest in the 1960s. Housed within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is principally in charge of allocating research funds. OJP is topically divided into bureaus and programs that provide research support per topic area, including: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Institute of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Office of Victims of Crime.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) was created in 1979 and is primarily in charge of criminal justice statistics, including the collection, analysis, publishing, and disseminating of all information related to crime and criminal victimizations at all levels of government. BJS also administers the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), which provides funding and technical assistance to improve the quality and accessibility of criminal history and related records, to support the interface between state and national record systems, and for data collection on presale firearm background checks. Finally, BJS assists states in technical and financial support of Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs), state-level agencies that are responsible for statistical activities concerning criminal justice issues and policies in each state. The national organization of the SACs is the Justice Research and Statistics Association ( JRSA). This association is comprised of state SAC directors, analysts, researchers, and practitioners throughout the justice system. JRSA performs three main functions: it provides a clearinghouse of information on state criminal justice research, programs, and publications; offers training in computer technology as it relates to criminal justice issues; and reports on the latest research being conducted within federal and state criminal justice agencies.

In addition, JRSA holds an annual conference in which grantees, researchers, and practitioners convene for information dissemination and sharing.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) was established by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and administers the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Enforcement Assistance Program. BJA provides funding and technical support to assist state and local agencies to combat crime and drug abuse. BJA also identifies, develops, and shares programs, techniques, and information with the states to increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system, and provides training and technical assistance to enhance the expertise of criminal justice personnel. In addition, BJA provides funding for the National White Collar Crime Center (NWCCC), which offers national support for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of economic crimes.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), also created by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, is authorized to support research, evaluation, and demonstration programs, development of technology, and both national and international information dissemination. NIJ funds a number of programs covering a variety of issues within criminal justice. Among its many funded programs are: Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM), Breaking the Cycle, Correctional and Law Enforcement Family Support Program (CLEFs), Crime Mapping Research Center, Data Resources Program, International Center, Sentencing and Adjudication Program, Violence Against Women, and Family Violence Research and Evaluation Program. In particular, ADAM tracks trends in the prevalence and types of drug use among booked arrestees in urban areas within the United States, and has also expanded to rural areas and a site in England. Breaking the Cycle is a systemwide intervention designed to identify and treat all defendants in need of substance abuse treatment throughout the entire justice system. CLEFS is designed to find ways to prevent and treat the negative effects of stress experienced by law enforcement and correctional officers and their families. The Crime Mapping Research Center was established in 1997 with the goal of promotion, research, evaluation, development, and dissemination of GIS (geographic information systems) technology and the spatial analysis of crime. The International Center takes as it mission the comparison and study of criminal behavior and criminal justice systems in an international context. Although NIJ holds an annual conference in which grantees present workin-progress to other researchers and practitioners, many of the programs within NIJ, such as ADAM and the Crime Mapping Research Center, also hold annual conferences.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) was established in 1974 and provides funding to states, territories, localities, and private organizations on matters related to juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice. There are seven divisions within OJJDP: missing and exploited children, concentration of federal effort, information dissemination, state relations and assistance, research and program development, training and technology assistance, and a special emphasis unit. Since the mid1980s, the office has been engaged in a number of important research projects including Blueprints for Violence Prevention, Safefutures, and a three-site longitudinal study known as the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency. This last program, with sites in Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Denver, employs a team of researchers who have been collecting data for cohorts of individuals since middle/late childhood through early adulthood in an effort to understand the development and desistance of criminal offending.

The Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) was formed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1983 and formally established by Congress in 1988 through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA). The office provides federal funds to support victim assistance and compensation programs around the country and advocates for the fair treatment of crime victims. OVC administers formula and discretionary grants for programs designed to benefit victims, to provide training for diverse professionals who work with victims, and to develop projects to enhance victims’ rights and services. The mission of OVC is to enhance the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. The office accomplishes these tasks by administering the Crime Victim’s Fund, supporting demonstration projects with national impact, and publishing and disseminating materials that highlight promising practices in the effective treatment of crime victims that can be replicated throughout the country. A major responsibility of OVC is the administration of the Crime Victims Fund, which is derived not from tax dollars but from fines and penalties paid by federal criminal offenders. In 1997, $363 million was collected and distributed to states to assist in funding their victim assistance and compensation programs. Since 1988, OVC has distributed over $2 billion to the states to support victim services and compensation.

In addition to providing monetary support to crime victims, OVC also sponsors training on a variety of victims’ issues for many different professions, including victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, the judiciary, the clergy, and medical and mental health personnel. OVC also provides discretionary grants for innovative projects and has funded important reports on civil legal remedies for victims, on model antistalking laws, and on protocols for handling offenses on native tribal lands. The office has also established the OVC Resource Center, an information clearinghouse that provides current research findings, statistics, and literature on emerging victim issues. Finally, OVC has established the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC). This center serves as a centralized access point for information about OVC’s training and technical assistance resources.

In addition to OJP’s bureaus, which provide monetary funds for research, OJP has also developed specialized programs to aid in furthering criminological research. The corrections program office was established in 1995 to implement the correctional grant programs created by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The Drug Courts Program Office was established to administer the drug court grant program and provide financial and technical assistance, training, guidance, and leadership. Operation Weed and Seed is a program that seeks to ‘‘weed’’ out criminal behavior and ‘‘seed’’ the target area through social and economic revitalization. State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support is offered to aid local public safety personnel in acquiring the equipment and skills to safely respond to domestic terrorist activities. The Police Corps is a college scholarship program designed to pay for education expenses for students who agree to work in a state or local police force for at least four years after graduation.

In addition to the funding available from the Office of Justice Programs, the National Science Foundation (NSF), under the Law and Human Behavior Program, has provided researchers with funding opportunities to study criminological and criminal justice issues. In 1994, NSF called for proposals for an interdisciplinary, multi-university effort to be supported by a fiveyear, $12 million grant. The funding for the grant was primarily from NSF with an additional $2 million from Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and $400,000 from the National Institute of Justice. Of the thirteen proposals received, one from Carnegie Mellon University was selected and has been the distributor of funds under the name National Consortium on Violence Research (NCOVR). The purpose of NCOVR is to employ a ‘‘virtual’’ consortium whereby the top researchers in the social and behavioral sciences use communication technology (i.e., e-mail) that was largely unavailable twenty years ago to study issues related to violence. Each summer, the consortium members convene for a summer workshop that involves the reporting of research results and development of future plans. As of 1999, the consortium had seventy members at thirty-eight universities in twentytwo states and four nations, including England, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

NCOVR is comprised of three research program areas that are designed to cover the array of violence-causing factors: individual, situational, and community. The individual level is concerned with individual characteristics and developmental experiences that lead some individuals to become more violent than others. The area on Continuity and Change uses a variety of longitudinal data sets to examine developmental processes and how they affect differential individual responses to a variety of violence-inducing stimuli. The situational level is concerned with identifying those factors that contribute to escalation in violence in some conflict situations and to peaceful resolution in others. The area on Situational Dynamics uses data on individual experiences in conflict situations that range from unstructured ethnographic observation to structured interviews to identify when conflicts turn into violence and when they are resolved otherwise. Specific attention is directed at studying guns, relationships, and the presence of drugs, including alcohol. The community level is concerned with identifying the differences between communities with high and low rates of violence, even after controlling for demographic and socioeconomic compositions. The Time and Space area is concerned with identifying factors that contribute to both long-term trends in violence as well as short-term variation around those trends.

In the late 1990s NCOVR initiated a series of projects in two other research areas: Race and Ethnicity, and Women and Violence. Research in the Race and Ethnicity area focuses on the factors that contribute to the differences and similarities among racial and ethnic groups in their involvement in violence as both victims and perpetrators. An important emphasis within the Race and Ethnicity area is the explanation of ethnic differences within racial or broader ethnic categories. Research in the Women and Violence area explores violence involving women, both as offenders and victims.

NCOVR provides two main sources of funding and operates four educative programs. The two main funding opportunities are grants and research initiative funds. The former are the kinds of awards that are typically awarded to those interested in studying criminological issues, while the latter entail small amounts of monies (under $5,000) that are designed to field small-scale pilot studies that are hoped to result in larger-scale research projects. The four educative programs operated by NCOVR include: predoctoral fellowships, postdoctoral fellowships, professional career-development fellowships, and an undergraduate training program. Predoctoral fellowships are designed for students pursuing a doctoral degree with an NCOVR member and with a secondary advisor of a different discipline. The pre-doctoral stipend is $10,000 per year. Postdoctoral fellowships are new Ph.D.s who work on one of the ongoing NCOVR research projects. The stipend is $30,000 for full-time work. The Professional Career Development Fellowships are designed for faculty members at minority-serving institutions who work with one or more NCOVR members on research projects to improve their research and grant-writing skills. These fellowships are eligible for funding to support their research efforts. The Undergraduate Training Program is designed to reach out to minority-serving institutions in an effort to provide undergraduates an opportunity to learn about research and education opportunities related to the study of violence.

In addition to grant-making and education, NCOVR also fields the NCOVR Data Center. Accessed through the NCOVR web site, the Data Center maintains a number of important data sets that can be readily linked. As of 1999, NCOVR had the complete set of Uniform Crime Reports from 1980 through 1996 as well as the complete 1980 and 1990 census data. The Data Center also retains Supplemental Homicide Report Data on details of individual homicide incidents. These crime and census data are available to the broader research community and are not restricted to NCOVR members. Finally, the Data Center has a special version of the National Crime Victimization Survey. This data set is provided to NCOVR by BJS through the Census Bureau, which collects the data for BJS, and indicates the census tract of each respondent, and so permits examination of victimization risk based on community characteristics. Because of Census Bureau policies designed to limit disclosure risk, these data can only be used in the Regional Census Data Center located at Carnegie Mellon University. Importantly, NCOVR believes that this can be an important resource for violence research, and as a result, it is prepared to cover the out-of-pocket costs of anyone wanting to pursue research with these data.

Research Tools

A variety of research tools are available to individuals interested in studying criminological and criminal justice issues. Located at the University of Michigan, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization serving member colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. ICPSR provides access to the world’s largest archive of computerized social science data, training facilities for the study of quantitative social analysis techniques, and resources for social scientists using advanced computer technologies. Currently, ICPSR supports five topic data archives: health and medical care archive, international archive of education data, national archive of computerized data on aging, substance abuse and mental health data archive, and the national archive of criminal justice data (NACJD). For those interested in the study of crime, the NACJD contains over five hundred data collections on a variety of issues related to criminology and criminal justice. For many of the data sets supported at ICPSR, users can download data, codebooks, and oftentimes the SAS and SPSS syntax statements to create readyto-analyze data sets.

Information on criminological and criminal justice issues can be obtained primarily through two sources: agency clearinghouses, and academic journals, book, and serials. Federal agencies involved in the study of crime, primarily OJP, deposit their research reports and research briefings with the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS). This service, accessible via the Internet, phone, or fax-on-demand, provides individuals with information on an array of criminal justice topics including issues related to the police, courts, corrections, and crime statistics. Each year BJS distributes, via NCJRS, the SourceBook on criminal justice statistics that contains a wealth of information on the justice system, as well as topical reports in Crime

Victimization, Capital Punishment, and Recidivism. The other avenue for research information and dissemination occurs through academic outlets. A variety of journals publish topics regularly on issues related to criminology and criminal justice, including: Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Journal of Criminal Justice, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Justice Research and Policy, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, Journal of Crime and Justice, Violence and Victims, Prison Journal, Journal of Drug Issues, British Journal of Criminology, Canadian Journal of Criminology, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention, Development and Psychopathology, Deviant Behavior, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Crime and Delinquency, Journal of Adolescent Research, Journal of Research on Adolescence, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Review, Theoretical Criminology, Youth and Society, Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Policy Review, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, American Sociological Review, Western Criminological Review, American Journal of Criminal Justice, Homicide Studies, Social Forces, Social Science Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, Psychology, Crime and Law, Policing, Police Quarterly, Federal Probation, Law and Human Behavior, and a number of law school journals. In addition to academic journals, a number of different serials contain information on criminological and criminal justice issues. Three of the most popular serials include: Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research, Advances in Criminological Theory, and Sociology of Crime, Law, and Deviance. The first of these serials, Crime and Justice, publishes lengthy, review articles on a variety of crime-related topics, with a slight emphasis on issues related to criminal justice. Advances in Criminological Theory publishes theoretical and empirical articles on criminological theory, while the Sociology of Crime, Law, and Deviance publishes articles of criminological interest from a sociological perspective. Finally, academic books continue to operate as important sources of research information. Many of the large academic presses, such as University of Chicago Press, Northeastern University Press, Cambridge University Press, Sage Publications, and Plenum Press, publish books related to crime issues on a regular basis.

In addition to these publication outlets, the field of criminology and criminal justice has two professional organizations: American Society of Criminology (ASC) and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). ASC is an international organization concerned with criminology, embracing scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the etiology, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency. This includes the measurement and detection of crime, legislation and practice of criminal law, as well as the law enforcement, judicial, and correctional systems. The society’s objective is to bring together a multidisciplinary forum fostering criminology study, research, and education. Its members include practitioners, academicians, and students in the many fields of criminal justice. ASC also conducts annual meetings for its membership, each devoted to a discussion of a particular topic of general interest. In addition, members of ASC receive the journal Criminology, published four times a year, and the Criminologist, a newsletter published six times per year. There are four specialized divisions in ASC: critical criminology, women and crime, international criminology, and people of color and crime. Each distributes newsletters and announcements on a regular basis. The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences is an international organization established in 1963 to foster professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice. ACJS is comprised of a number of scholars and practitioners that are international in scope and multidisciplinary in orientation. In addition to its annual conference, ACJS oversees publication of two academic journals: Justice Quarterly and the Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Unlike ASC, ACJS also has regional organizations that come together once a year for meetings and information dissemination. These regional organizations include the Western, Southern, Mid-Western, and Northeastern Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. These regional organizations also sponsor several academic journals, including: Western Criminological Review (Western), Criminal Justice Policy Review (Northeastern), Journal of Crime and Justice (Midwestern), and the American Journal of Criminal Justice (Southeastern). In addition to these main criminological associations, other disciplines have annual meetings and sponsor academic journals that have substantive import for criminologists. These include the American Sociological Association, the American Psychological Association, Society for Research on Adolescence, and the Southern Sociological Society.

Future Trends

The history of criminological and criminal justice research suggests at least six important trends that will affect the research and practitioner communities. First, while private foundations did not show substantial interest in funding criminological research during the 1970s and 1980s, interest has picked up in the 1990s with private foundations distributing millions of dollars earmarked for research on crime and violence. Second, the federal government continues to be one of the main grant providers to researchers interested in crime issues. Interestingly, in his original essay, Charles Wellford hypothesized that federal research efforts would be further consolidated such that many of the branches of OJP would be brought into closer coordination. Although this has yet to occur formally, Wellford’s premonition appears to be taking shape. For example, many of the agencies who were tangentially involved in criminological research and grantmaking have been either consolidated or eliminated. Toward this end, an OJP reorganization plan was proposed in the late 1990s to consolidate all research, including juvenile justice research currently being conducted by OJJDP, within NIJ. It would also consolidate all statistics within BJS. The plan would eliminate the presidentially appointed directorships of the five bureaus (NIJ, BJS, OJJDP, BJA, and OVC). Under the reorganization plan, the directors of the NIJ and BJS would become appointees of the Attorney General. As of late 1999, the plan and its recommendations had yet to be voted upon, but whatever the outcome, it is likely to influence future funding for criminological research. Third, crime research is likely to continue on an interdisciplinary trajectory, while remaining cognizant of both qualitative and quantitative research, and relevant across macro, meso, and micro levels of analysis. Much of the current work employs researchers from different fields of study, including psychology, sociology, political science, biology, neuropsychology, and criminology, to approach criminological and criminal justice issues via a number of different methodologies and disciplinary training. Funding agencies are becoming more likely to administer grant awards to researchers working from this multidisciplinary, multimethod perspective. Fourth, the Internet has become a powerful research tool. Researchers can download data from police, courts, and corrections databases, view crime maps for a number of different cities, and retrieve journal articles and publications via ProQuest Direct in many more ways than ever before. These advents will make doing research, sharing data, and publishing results much easier than ever before. Fifth, with continued work on emerging methodological tools, researchers will likely revisit many secondary data archives in an effort to apply these new tools to old data to determine the usefulness of the new tools. Sixth, research will continue to be associated with universities and research centers (both private and nonprivate). Toward this end, crime research will probably expand to involve undergraduate students in more significant ways than ever before as universities continue to encourage undergraduate research projects and honors theses.

Since the 1980s, through the Office of Justice Programs, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health, the federal government has created a solid, long-term program of research in criminology and criminal justice. In addition, private foundations have entered the criminological research area with a fervor of interest. Across both the federal and private domains, important and timely research programs have been created and sustained. The future of criminological and criminal justice research will probably anticipate and embody a working partnership between federal and private agencies. One exemplar of this working relationship is the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. This project is a major interdisciplinary study aimed at deepening society’s understanding of the causes and pathways of juvenile delinquency, adult crime, substance abuse, and violence. Directed by the Harvard School of Public Health, this project is a joint venture among a variety of public and private agencies including the MacArthur Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the Stein Foundation, the Turner Foundation, and the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families. It is believed that these partnerships will continue the multidisciplinary, multiagency, multi-methodological approach to studying criminal behavior and the criminal justice system response to such behavior. This approach should continue to contribute to the knowledge base regarding the understanding and control of crime.


  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Sourcebook of Criminal Statistics. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, 1998.
  2. ICPSR web site:
  3. NCJRS web site:
  4. Office of Justice Programs web site:
  5. Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods resource guide:

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