Thursday, October 18, 2012

60 Steps Revisited: Step 60 - Contribute To The Store Of Knowledge

Back in 2009, I did a series of posts covering the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. The book is published by the US DOJ's Problem Oriented Policing Center (POP Center). Because of the value I think this book has for crime analysts, and policing in general, I am going to re-post this series on here on the blog.

This is the final post in our collective walk through the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. In this post, we're going to look at Step 60 - Contribute to the store of knowledge.

With the advent of the Internet the store of knowledge for crime analysis is much more accessible than it's ever been. Now, it's possible for a police officer in a small one or two man department to access the same publications that were once only available to academics or crime analysts from large departments that could afford to send them to professional conferences. This is a great thing.

However, for this store of knowledge to remain relevant, it's important that it continue to grow and evolve as policing does. As we develop new solutions to crime problems, we need to ensure that these are communicated not only to our agency, but to others so that they can learn from our experience or expand on what we have done.

The authors discuss a number of ways we can to this, through websites, conferences or via networks of crime analysts and professional newsletters or journals. They also include a pretty good outline that will help to effectively communicate your findings and increase this store of knowledge. The basic outline goes like this:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the old situation - why the standard understanding or practice is insufficient in particular circumstances.
  2. Search for alternatives - how a new understanding or practice was discovered.
  3. Evidence supporting alternatives - comparison of old and new approaches.
  4. Conclusions and implications - summary of what people should consider, given this new information.
Another added benefit of putting this down into words is that we tend to learn more when we put it down into words. In fact, my covering the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers here on the blog started because I wanted to learn the material contained in the book better than I would have by just reading it.

What are you doing to contribute to the store of knowledge?

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