U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

How Research Is Translated to Policy and Practice in the Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Corrections Today
Yunsoo Park
Date Published
September 2018
3 pages

This NIJ Update reports on the findings and methodology of a study whose goal was to describe the use of research and other factors in developing state juvenile and adult correctional policy and practice in Florida and to answer targeted questions related to this issue.


These are some of the targeted questions: 1) What sources of information do Florida's correctional policymakers use to make their decisions, and how much influence do these factors have? 2) What are the primary strategies used to inform policy with research evidence, and what methods would help policymakers use evidence-based information in their decisionmaking process? 3) What is the underlying process for research translation in shaping how policymakers assess and respond to problems? The study used data from several sources, including a review of relevant research and relevant legislative and state agency documents; interviews and web surveys with established academic researchers and key decision- makers from state agencies; and observations of archived, pre-recorded legislative public hearings and committee meetings. In addition, the study examined four policy cases in order to assess how research was used in resulting policy/legislation. Three important findings indicate how research is translated into correctional policy and practice, as well as methods to improve this process. First, the study found that government research, peer networking, and policy/research organizations were most often used for the research translation process, rather than academic publications and expert testimony. This is likely because the aforementioned types of evidence are easier to understand, are viewed as more credible, and can more easily be applied to local settings. Second, successful research translation was most likely to occur when researchers and practitioners regularly interact. Finally, the findings suggest that academic researchers should be proactive in contacting and working with policymakers and practitioners.