New Directions in Policing: Balancing Prediction and Meaning in Police Research




Jack R. Greene

Justice Quarterly

Volume 31, Issue 2, 2014

29 Oct 2013



Police research has developed and matured over the past 100 years. The richness of the police research tapestry gives it gravitas precisely because of its many underlying theoretical linkages as well as differing ways of understanding the police and policing. In recent years, police research has become tied to ideas of evidence; rooted in experimental methods and addressing instrumental questions. The rise of the “medical model” in police research has important implications for what we know, yet adoption of this model has shifted the discourse on police research creating a narrow “cognitive lens” through which to judge policing and police research. This essay considers what we have come to know about the police, how multiple theoretical and methodological vantage points add value to understanding policing, and calls for a broader and more ecumenical approach to police research, including the use of mixed methods to enhance research on the police.