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Researching Sex Offenders: A Workshop on Conceptualizing and Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects. R. Karl Hanson Public Safety Canada Presentation at the 13 th Annual Conference of the NYATSA, Saratoga Springs, NY, May 14, 2008. Big Questions.

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Researching Sex Offenders: A Workshop on Conceptualizing and Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

R. Karl Hanson

Public Safety Canada

Presentation at the 13th Annual Conference of the NYATSA, Saratoga Springs, NY, May 14, 2008


Big questions
Big Questions Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Impact of criminal justice and social policy interventions (e.g., community notification, residency restrictions, civil commitment, risk assessment)

  • Assessment of reduced risk in high risk offenders

  • Active components in sexual offender treatment

  • Social policy for prevention on onset


Evaluation of Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

Sex Offender Treatment Programs


Collaborative outcome data committee
Collaborative Outcome Data Committee Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Formed in 1997

    Goals:

    • Define standards for research on treatment outcome for sexual offenders (develop consensus)

    • Organize existing sexual offender outcome studies

    • Promote high quality evaluations


Codc contributors

Anthony Beech Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

Darren Bisshop

Guy Bourgon

Dawn Fisher

R. Karl Hanson

Andrew Harris

Calvin Langton

Roxanne Lieb

Janice Marques

Michael Miner

William Murphy

Michael Seto

Vernon Quinsey

David Thornton

Pamela Yates

CODC contributors


Codc study quality guidelines
CODC Study Quality Guidelines Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Structured rating scale

  • Definition of study quality

    • “…judgement of minimal bias can be made with high confidence.”

  • 20 items (plus 1 additional item rated for cross-institutional designs)

    • Items fall under 7 categories

    • Items assess either confidence OR bias (including direction of bias)


I administrative control of independent variables
I) Administrative control of independent variables Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Defining treatment (confidence)

  • Defining comparison group (confidence)

  • Miscellaneous incidental factors (bias)


Ii experimenter expectancies
II) Experimenter expectancies Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Experimenter involvement (bias)

  • Blinding in data management (bias)


Iii sample size
III) Sample size Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Sample size of treatment (confidence)

  • Sample size of comparison (confidence)

  • Sample size of institutions (confidence) (for cross-institutional designs only)


Iv attrition
IV) Attrition Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Subject selection (bias)

  • Program attrition (bias)

  • Intent-to-treat (bias)

  • Attrition in follow-up (bias)


V equivalency of groups
V) Equivalency of groups Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • A priori equivalency of groups (bias)

  • Adequacy of search of differences (confidence)

  • Findings on group differences (bias)


Vi outcome variables
VI) Outcome variables Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Length of follow-up (confidence)

  • Validity/reliability of recidivism information (confidence)

  • Equivalency of follow-up (bias)


Vii correct comparison conducted
VII) Correct comparison conducted Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Data dredging (confidence)

  • Effectiveness of statistical controls (confidence)

  • Computation of least bias comparison (bias)


Global rating
Global Rating Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • All items considered in making overall judgment of bias and confidence

    • Same three-point scales as individual items

  • Bias and confidence are considered separately


Global rating categories
Global Rating Categories Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Strong

    • High confidence AND negligible bias

  • Good

    • High confidence and some bias, OR

    • Some confidence and negligible bias

  • Weak

    • Some confidence and some bias

  • Reject

    • Little confidence, OR

    • Considerable bias


Reliability study 1 students
Reliability Study 1: Students Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • 2 senior undergrad students

  • Approximately one week training (8 practice studies)

  • 10 real studies rated independently


Results global ratings
Results: Global Ratings Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Overall 9/10 (ICC = 0.95)

  • Global confidence 10/10 (ICC = 1.00)

  • Global bias 9/10 (ICC = 0.69)

  • Direction of bias 7/10


Reliability study 2 experts
Reliability Study 2: Experts Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • 12 Experts in sex offender research evaluation

  • No training on guidelines

  • 10 hypothetical studies ranging in quality

  • Rated 1-6 studies each (3 ratings per study)


Expert raters

Guy Bourgon Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

Andrew Harris

Grant Harris

Niklas Langstrom

Roxanne Lieb

Ruth Mann

Robert McGrath

William Murphy

Vernon Quinsey

Marnie Rice

David Thornton

Pamela Yates

Expert Raters


Expert reliability
Expert Reliability Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Some agreement on individual items

  • No agreement on global ratings


Www publicsafety gc ca
www.publicsafety.gc.ca Implementing Sex Offender Research Projects

  • Collaborative Data Outcome Committee. (2007). Sex offender treatment outcome research: Guidelines for Evaluation (CODC Guidelines). Part 1: Introduction and overview. Corrections User Report No 2007-02. Ottawa: Public Safety Canada.

  • Collaborative Data Outcome Committee. (2007). The Collaborative Outcome Data Committee’s Guidelines for the evaluation of sexual offender treatment outcome research. Part 2: CODC Guidelines. Corrections User Report No 2007-03. Ottawa: Public Safety Canada.


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