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Model Programs Guide

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Literature Reviews Development Process

Contract research staff [1] conduct and draft literature reviews for the Model Programs Guide. Generally, the staff include research assistants and analysts, with supervision from the project director, and senior science staff, who conduct technical reviews and respond to questions. The following outlines the process that the research staff use to develop the literature reviews.

  1. Broad Topic Selection
    • Research staff review OJJDP-sponsored and academic publications to identify potential topic areas. The research staff then propose potential topic areas to the OJJDP task monitor for review and prioritization.
    • The OJJDP task monitor also identifies potential topic areas. Any topics identified by the OJJDP task monitor are priorities.
  2. Initial Topic Scope Identification
    • After a broad topic is identified, research staff draft an initial topic scope, which will determine the parameters for the comprehensive search of the literature. To draft this initial topic scope, research staff review selected publications, consult with subject matter experts, and solicit feedback from the OJJDP task monitor.
    • From this topic scope, research staff identify a series of keywords to be used in the comprehensive literature search.
  3. Comprehensive Literature Search
    • Research staff use the key words to conduct a comprehensive literature search of research, evaluations, and other source materials via:
      • Topical searches of programs included on the Model Programs Guide and/or CrimeSolutions.ojp.gov.
      • Keyword searches of relevant databases, such as
        1. Academic Search Premier
        2. JSTOR
        3. Google/Google Scholar
        4. OJJDP, National Criminal Justice Reference Service, and National Institute of Corrections websites
        5. Education Resources Information Center
        6. EBSCO Information Services
        7. SocINDEX
        8. Criminal Justice Abstracts
        9. Social Science Citation Index
        10. Sociological Abstracts.
      • Topical searches of government-funded, national foundation-funded science and research organizations, and other representative organization websites.
      • Searches of reference pages and bibliographies from identified research materials.
  4. Literature Identification
    • Research staff review the identified literature for (1) research sources and (2) other source materials.
      • Research sources
        1. Research sources include findings from a systematic investigation meant to contribute to generalizable knowledge. This includes both qualitative and quantitative sources, such as (1) research-based theoretical sources; (2) statistical and descriptive sources; or (3) impact and evaluation sources.
        2. Research staff include research sources if they identify them through reliable and credible scientific sources (such as peer-reviewed journals or government websites).
        3. Generally, the research sources that research staff include were published since 1990. However, research staff will include articles published prior to 1990 that provide foundational information about the history of the topic or background for later research.
      • Other source materials
        1. Research staff identify other source materials to further clarify the topical scope, common definitions, and examples of related programs or practices.
        2. These materials can come from policy, program, government, or organizational publications and websites. Research staff include them if they are representative of subject matter experts, comprehensive, and reliable.
  5. Literature Selection, Review, and Analysis
    • Research staff review the research sources and select them according to the following priorities:
      • For research-based theoretical literature, staff place the highest priority on publications in peer-reviewed journals and publications representing the field of study.
      • For descriptive statistics about the target population or scope of the problem, staff place the highest priority on federal data collections and nationally representative statistical collections, followed by rigorous research conducted on large samples.
      • For evaluations, staff prioritize the most methodologically rigorous evaluations, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses, as identified on CrimeSolutions.ojp.gov or an analogous resource.
    • Research staff review the other types of source materials and select them according to the following priorities:
      • For policy descriptions, staff prioritize original source documentation (such as applicable federal or state laws) and policies that academic or government sources have objectively synthesized.
      • For program descriptions, staff prioritize neutral sources that are as representative, as possible, of the problem or target population. This may include advocacy or practitioner-representative organizations. Research staff recognize that it is often difficult to identify objective, non-research based sources that address a particular program or practice approach and try to identify sources from a variety of perspectives.
    • Staff review the prioritized sources and identify the key findings, conclusions, and descriptions.
  6. Literature Review Draft and Review
    • Research staff draft the literature reviews from the key findings, conclusions, and descriptions in the selected sources.
    • The sections and headings for the literature reviews generally include the following: Introduction, Target Population, Theoretical Background, Scope or Problem Description, Policy and Program Responses, Outcome/Impact Research, and Conclusions.
      • Research staff use the research sources to draft the sections on Theoretical Background, Scope of Problem, and Outcome/Impact Research. They do not use other source material in these sections unless to further clarify the description of a problem or topic introduced in a research source.
      • Research staff use other source material to introduce the topic, identify the definitions or general description of the problem or topic, and provide examples of policy and program responses.
      • The Conclusions section summarizes information presented in earlier sections and does not introduce new ideas or discussion points.
    • Research staff draft the literature reviews in an objective manner that describes multiple perspectives, acknowledges variations among scholars, and presents relevant information for the topic area. All statements are supported with citations to the source documents and are not based on individual opinions or experiences.
    • Once drafted, research staff submit the draft literature reviews to the OJJDP task monitor for review and comment. The OJJDP task monitor may also refer the review to other subject matter experts.
    • Research staff review comments and edits received from the task monitor or subject matter reviewers.
    • Research staff places the literature review in the standard template and conducts an editorial review to ensure consistency with the OJJDP author guidelines.
    • Research staff provides a final draft to the OJJDP task monitor for final review and posting.

[note 1]The literature reviews on the Model Programs Guide are funded as a task in the CrimeSolutions.ojp.gov contract, for which an OJJDP staff member serves as the contractual task monitor.

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