SAGE Journal Articles
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There has long been a debate about what, if anything, differentiates criminology and criminal justice programs. Both grew about of sociology and, to a lesser degree, law and political science. In the 1970s and early 1980s, debate arose over the scope and limits of the two. That debate has faded today but the perceptions emanating from that controversy linger. The current study seeks to reopen the debate and invite disciplinary reflection. Two sources of data are analyzed: (1) doctoral program curricula and (2) articles in the top-tier disciplinary journals. Results show criminology courses are well represented in criminal justice doctoral programs, while criminal justice courses constitute a comparatively smaller part of criminology doctoral programs. In top-tier disciplinary journals, criminology articles are more prevalent than criminal justice articles. Plausible explanations are advanced. It is hoped that these findings provide a new springboard for further research and discussion that will lead to a better understanding and delineation of these allied disciplines.
This research investigates changes in scholarly influence by identifying the most-cited scholars and their most-cited works in 20 journals: Five American criminology journals, Five American criminal justice journals, Five international criminology journals, and Five international criminal justice journals. Results obtained in 2005 were compared with previous findings in 2000, 1995, and 1990. Exactly the same methods and journals were used in each year. In 2005, the most-cited scholars were Robert J. Sampson in American criminology journals, American criminal justice journals, and international criminal justice journals, and David P. Farrington in international criminology journals. Overall, Robert J. Sampson was the most-cited scholar in these 20 journals in 2005. He was also the most-cited scholar in these journals in 2000, compared with Lawrence W. Sherman in 1995 and Marvin E. Wolfgang in 1990. The most-cited works of the most-cited scholars included the theories of Sampson and Laub, Gottfredson and Hirschi, and Moffitt, as well as the criminal career paradigm, the effectiveness of correctional treatment, and evidence-based crime prevention. The authors conclude that these analyses reveal changes over time in theoretical concerns and policy issues.
Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners have indicated support for the notion that social science research should inform policy and practice. Although expressions such as “data-driven policy” have become commonplace, there is no consensus about how research can and should contribute. In this article, two ways for criminal justice research to contribute to policy and practice are discussed. Criminologists can be providers of findings from their research that can be used to help policy makers and practitioners make informed decisions. Or they can be advocates for positions they espouse based on their substantial knowledge and experience as scientists. The former is more consistent with their training and socialization as social scientists. However, in this article, it is argued that for social scientists in general and for criminologists in particular to be effective, they need to be able to compete and collaborate in a political process that includes others making contrary claims.