Canadian Social Science Faculty Survey

1. Introduction

The Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Justice Canada undertakes research in support of the Department’s work in making Canada’s justice system relevant, accessible and responsive to the needs of Canadians while providing effective stewardship of that system. While this is part of a long-standing focus in the Department, in an era of rapid change this requires that the Department be ready to respond to emerging new areas of law, policy, and legal services. Good research is essential in facilitating this response.

Within this context, the Research and Statistics Division currently is engaged in a broad range of social, socio-legal, and socio-economic research to provide an understanding of both current and future needs. This research includes, but is not limited to, studies on crime patterns, family violence, underground economies, street youth, youth justice, transnational crime, crime on the Internet, restorative justice, crime prevention, diversity and gender equality, access to justice, and legal aid. While our research staff is made up of a dynamic group of professionals with backgrounds in a broad range of disciplines,[1] we have been building close associations and linkages between research activities at the Department of Justice and the broader research community both within and outside government. The Division participates in government-wide initiatives such as horizontal, or interdepartmental, policy development on the future needs of the Canadian justice system, as well as on interdepartmental working groups addressing a number of broader areas. In addition, we have been extending relations to multidisciplinary teams and forums which include partners from a broader research community, such as experts from the academic community, non-government organizations, and think tanks.

Working as partners in this broader research community, we routinely provide information about our own research activities. Our Web site provides information on the project areas in which we are currently engaged along with access to our publications where they can be viewed, ordered or downloaded at no cost. [2] We also produce a quarterly publication, JustResearch, which provides information on current and upcoming Divisional research, along with information about our highly successful seminar series, and syntheses of the latest relevant research literature. JustResearch also is available at our Web site.

1.1 Faculty Surveys

As part of our ongoing partnerships in the research community and in order to ensure access to the full range of academic expertise across Canada, we undertook an initiative to establish closer links between academic institutions and the Department. The first phase of this initiative was the Canadian Law School Faculty Survey, conducted in 1999 in collaboration with the Canadian Council of Law Deans. The Law Faculty Survey gathered information on the legal and socio-legal research being undertaken by the faculty of Canada’s twenty-two law schools. A database of these faculty members and their areas of expertise is now resident in the Research and Statistics Division and we will be able to draw from this as the need arises. In addition a final report was prepared. [3] This final report identifies summary information on the current research interests and activities in law schools across Canada.

The use of the Law School Faculty database as a source of experts working in a broad variety of legal areas is so rich that the decision was made to undertake a similar survey of social science faculties. Initially the faculty survey was to be sent to schools of criminology only. However, given the multi-disciplinary nature of the research that we do and in order to avoid missing more complex and non-criminal justice related issues that impact on justice policy, the list of faculties was soon expanded to include political science, psychology, social work and sociology. Most issues, be they emergent or longer term, are complex and often require a multidisciplinary approach to understand them fully. Identifying researchers and professors across disciplines facilitates this approach. Because the research undertaken by the Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Justice incorporates such a wide range of topics, and, moreover, because of the complexity of most issues at hand, it would be incomplete not to look at a particular topic through many lenses. For example, we are currently conducting research in the area of the corruption of public officials within the broader area of organized crime. While this has traditionally been an area under the jurisdiction of criminal law, contemporary organized crime extends far beyond a simple crime and justice approach. In order to get a complete picture of the topic, a more holistic approach must be taken such that the topic is looked at from the perspective of, to name a few, sociologists who can provide understanding of the social forces at work in creating environments that facilitate such criminal activity, psychologists who can shed light on the behaviour and characteristics of individuals involved in such criminal activity, and economists who are familiar with the financial repercussions of the corruption of public officials.

To assist in this, the Social Science Faculty Survey was conducted in 2000 and it gathered detailed information on teaching interests and research activity in broadly defined justice-related areas. This final report provides summary information on the current justice-related teaching areas and research activities of these faculties; while the report is a summary document, this summary information also proves interesting in and of itself.

  • [1] Disciplines include anthropology, criminology, economics, education, law, political science, psychology, social work, sociology and statistics.
  • [2] We can be reached at
  • [3]See Research Report 2000-3, Canadian Law School Faculty Survey, Anna Paletta, Christopher Blain and Daniel Antonowicz, Ottawa: Research and Statistics Division, Department of Justice Canada, 2000.
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