Keeping the Knowledge Store Stocked: What Researchers Produce and What Practitioners Need

Thomas E. Feucht, National Institute of Justice

Research knowledge comes in many sizes and shapes. In some situations, qualitative research may be the best way to reveal key social relationships in which crime, social order, and justice can be understood. However, funding agencies face increasing pressure to focus on "gold standard" program evaluation. Typically, this translates into an emphasis on randomized control trials using quantitative measures and statistical tests. At the same time, criminal justice practitioners demonstrate a desire for continuous involvement by researchers in solving day-to-day practical problems and providing "real-time" feedback of research findings for policy-making. How should a "knowledge broker" funding agency respond? What drives the demand for some types of research strategies? Can we better anticipate the need in our field for these alternate research strategies?

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Updated 05/20/2006