Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Natasha A. Frost
Experimental criminology is the body of criminal justice research that employs experimental designs to test the effectiveness of criminal justice interventions. While experimental designs abound in other disciplines, they tend to be less common in criminal justice research. Several explanations have been offered for the relative underutilization of experimental designs in criminological research. Experimental designs have been described as impractical, time-consuming and cost-prohibitive to implement. In some instances, researchers cannot meet the requirements of an experimental design. In other instances, implementing an experimental design would be considered unethical. Despite these and other obstacles, in recent years numerous influential criminologists have advocated for more frequent and systematic utilization of experimental designs in the evaluation of criminal justice policies and practices. Virtually every undergraduate textbook on research methods describes experimental designs as the “gold standard” of research methodology. While there are many variations on the experimental design, the classic experimental design involves ...