Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

History of Randomized Controlled Experiments in Criminal Justice

  • Cynthia Lum
  • Lorraine Mazerolle
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_252


This entry examines the history of randomized controlled experiments in criminology and criminal justice. First, fundamental characteristics of randomized controlled experiments are briefly described, emphasizing the connection between this research method and evidence-based crime policy. Then, historical trends of experiments in criminal justice are reviewed, highlighting David Farrington’s work in this area. The authors continue by connecting the history of experiments as well as their characteristics and the debates surrounding their use in the context of the evidence-based crime policy movement. Specifically, the authors suggest that the history of experiments in criminal justice and their relative rarity compared to other evaluation research cannot be divorced from the broader discussions and realities about the “what works” movement in criminal justice. Finally, this entry provides thoughts about the future of experiments in criminal justice and the research...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Law and SocietyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Social Science ResearchThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia