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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91521 Find in a Library
Title: Learning From Experience, the Secret Service, and Controlled Experimentation (From Behavioral Science and the Secret Service, P 113-119, 1981, Jane Takeuchi et al, eds. - See NCJ-91518)
Author(s): L E Moses
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: National Academies Press
Washington, DC 20001
Sale Source: National Academies Press
500 Fifth Street, N.W.
Keck 360
Washington, DC 20001
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The author analyzes the controlled experimentation method involving simultaneous comparison of two well-defined different procedures on cases of unquestioned comparability and its relevance to evaluating Secret Service operations.
Abstract: This technique has produced convincing information with practical consequences in many areas, such as proving that followup calls might not improve survey response rates and that arrested persons with community ties may be safely released before trial without bail. However, an effective experimental approach using comparison groups contains certain essential elements. First, there must be two or more alternate ways of proceeding, and these procedures must be definitively described. The classes of subjects to whom the treatments are applicable also must be clearly defined, and the relevant outcomes and fair measurement methods agreed upon in advance. The alternative procedures should be applied simultaneously, with experimental and control groups determined by mechanically random choice. Using these principles as guidelines, the Secret Service could assess its tasks and procedures. The first experiment should focus on a small problem with a high likelihood of success because continuous vigilance is necessary to prevent any deviations from the essentials of controlled experimentation.
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Program evaluation; Research methods; US Secret Service
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