Criminology and the Role of Experimental Research
This chapter discusses the role of experimental research in policy-focused criminology. It makes some fairly simple points in response to a current tendency to overstate the contribution that particular research methods can make to the discipline. The context on which the chapter draws is British, but the conclusions drawn here may have wider applicability and relevance. The main argument is this: the questions with which policy-focused criminology grapples range from the simple to the very complex; experimental research methods have a value in answering questions of middling complexity; but they are useful in answering neither very simple questions nor very complex ones; criminologists should not artificially restrict themselves to examining issues of middling complexity, by insisting that experimental research methods should lie at the heart of the discipline.
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