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Decision support toolkits for evaluating crime prevention SSS3

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: SSS3

Practitioners/crime prevention programme managers are faced with a dual challenge. How can they evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention and demonstrate social return on investment, without commissioning expensive professional evaluations? Evaluation is complex and errors of inference easily made. They cannot readily be expected to design and conduct gold-standard evaluations unaided, or even with the support of professional evaluators. Forcing practitioners to sit through protracted courses is not feasible. The solution is to empower practitioners to grow evaluation knowledge through principles and techniques with guidance to appropriate professional support.

A proposed solution is an interactive decision support toolkit. This should build on existing toolkits with limited interactivity for decision support, for example EMMIE, the College of Policing ‘what works’ toolkit and the Treasury Magenta Guide. How can we best develop interactive toolkits to support decision making for evaluation in a way that (i) is dynamic (ii) supports users engaging via a series of inputs and choices; (iii) follows a logical, sequential process to ensure consistency in approach; (vi) that guides users step-by-step by questions and briefings; and (v) as they progress, generates a set of recommendations for the most appropriate choices for their local context. Moreover, how can we design a toolkit to support capacity building and empower practitioners to design and conduct their own evaluations – using a decision support toolkit that enables users to increase their knowledge of evaluation every time they work through the toolkit, aiding both novices and those with evaluation experience.

This project aims to produce an interactive toolkit, that supports practitioners in the decisions and actions taken when planning and conducting evaluations of crime prevention measures in their local context. This is underpinned by a comprehensive framework for evaluation developed as part of this research. It will also require co-creation with the practitioner community to iteratively test and refine the toolkit – to ensure it is fit for purpose and supports their decision making. Applicants should have a good understanding of data science to develop and scientifically test how an online toolkit supports decision making for evaluation. An understanding of the criminal justice system or third sector agencies working in this area would be beneficial.

The successful PhD candidate will join the Quantitative and Spatial Criminology (QSC) research group at Nottingham Trent University. QSC research identifies the individual, household and area characteristics that shape crime and directly informs crime reduction policy and initiatives.

School strategic research priority

This aligns with the aims of the Quantitative and Spatial Criminology Group (QSC) in the Centre for Crime and Offending Prevention and Engagement (COPE).

It also aligns with the University thematic priority – Safety and Security of Citizens and Society.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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