Assessing Asymmetry: The Life Course of a Research Project
This article describes the evolution of a project examining the impact of encounters on public
confidence in the police. It reviews the background of the research, the central puzzle that
drove the project, and the events that led to its 10 discovery. I was surprised by my initial
inability to confirm the expected relationship between encounters and confidence. Rather
than encouraging confidence, encounters that people themselves rated positively did not
seem to increase satisfaction with police, and for many actually made things worse. Here I
discuss how I confronted this puzzle, what I concluded, and what other 15 researchers have
since done with the findings. I conclude with some notes on the research agenda implied by
all of this research, and how the entire process accords with the ways in which scientific
research proceeds.
Police-Public Encounters Abstracts