Lessons from a field experiment involving involuntary subjects 3,000 miles away

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Describe the challenges involved in conducting field experiments that entail a long distance between the research team and the research site. Methods: A summary of the lessons learned from the field experiment of Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE). Results: Pre-trial planning is especially important when the research team is a long distance from the research site. A good communication strategy helps educate practitioners on the merits of conservative design choices, such as intent-to-treat, and helps to signal the importance of the study and therefore of maintaining the condition assignments and delivering the intervention with fidelity. Conclusions: Distance creates additional challenges for the research team. These challenges make it even more essential to exploit assets at the research site. Distance creates more uncertainty, which makes pre-planning even more important, but it is expensive. Criminal-justice funding agencies' support for exploratory studies as precursors to full-blown trials would improve the quality of experimental criminal-justice research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Field experiment
  • Involuntary subjects
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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