Juvenile Justice

Use of Research Evidence by Juvenile Justice and Youth Service Professionals

Paul Elam
President, Public Policy Associates

Key Findings

  • Juvenile justice and youth professionals have limited knowledge and awareness of research evidence, though familiar with evidence-based programming


The study utilized focus group interviews to examine use of research evidence by juvenile justice and youth service professionals. It was undertaken to help explain why social research is underutilized in determining policy and practice. Through focus group interviews, the current study explored research use among professionals providing various local services to troubled youth in a one-county area. A total of 35 professionals participated in four focus groups. Results suggest that participants have limited knowledge and awareness of research evidence, though they were very familiar with evidence-based programming itself. The need continues for strategies to bring research and the field closer together in an effort to develop more effective policies and practices. For example, public policy and research/evaluation firms should be given a major role in pursuing this mission.

View Full Research