Collecting Data From the Criminal Courts: Perspectives of Court Staff Members

Brion Sever, Monmouth University

ABSTRACT
Although there is abundant literature focusing on issues surrounding the proper use of research methods and data collection, there is less emphasis placed on problems that researchers encounter while acquiring data. The present study is a follow up to a study that examined researchers' efforts to collect data from the criminal courts. In that study, a sample of researchers were asked about any problems that they had encountered while collecting criminal court data, and any successful strategies that they had used to overcome such problems. The present study analyzes the collection of criminal court data from the opposite viewpoint: the court staff members who oversee such collection efforts. Specifically, interviews were performed of staff members from 20 Administrative Offices of the Courts (AOCs) from around the country and 25 large county criminal courts in the Northeast. Court staff members were asked their experiences with displeased researchers, and their viewpoints concerning how researchers could make the data collection experience smoother for themselves and the agencies. Results of the views of both researchers and court staff members will be reviewed.

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Updated 05/20/2006