Can “disciplined passion” overcome the cynical view? An empirical inquiry of evaluator influence on police crime prevention program outcomes
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Investigate the degree and nature of influence that researchers have in police crime prevention programs and whether a high degree of influence is associated with biased reporting of results.
Meta-analytic inquiry of experimental and quasi-experimental studies (n = 42), drawn from four Campbell Collaboration systematic reviews of leading police crime prevention strategies: problem-oriented policing, “hot spots” policing, “pulling levers” policing, and street-level drug enforcement.
Larger program effects are not associated with studies with higher involvement on the part of the evaluator (e.g., assisting in strategy design, monitoring implementation, overcoming implementation problems).
This study does not find support for the cynical view, which holds that researchers have a personal stake in the program or are pressured to report positive results. Importantly, the evaluator’s involvement in the implementation of the program may be a necessary condition of successfully executed police experiments in complex field settings.
KeywordsAcademic–practitioner partnerships Conflict of interest Crime prevention Evaluator influence Policing
We are grateful to the editor, David Wilson, and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.
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