Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on course work. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth. 

The course provides students with an understanding of key concepts surrounding evidence-based policing. Through the course, students will learn how to strategically use research evidence to inform management and decision-making. They will become effective consumers, producers and commissioners of research evidence within public policing, and be prepared to support adoption of strategic uses of research within their own police services.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Evidence-based policing - the basics

  • Week 1: Introduction, course overview and learning objectives
  • Week 2: What is evidence-based policing (EBP)?
  • Weeks 3 & 4: Understanding Social Research Parts I & II

Unit 2: Program evaluation in EBP and alternative perspectives on evidence

  • Week 5: What is evidence?
  • Week 6: Non-experimental evaluation strategies and alternative perspectives on EBP research

Unit 3: What (and where) is the evidence base?

  • Week 7: The Evidence Base Part I
  • Week 8: The Evidence Base Part II
  • Week 9: Accessing research evidence

Unit 4: Translating research into practice

  • Week 10: Knowledge translation: from research to practice
  • Week 11: Roles in EBP – Leaders, Researchers, ‘Pracademics’, et al
  • Week 12: Future directions for EBP

What You Will Learn

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • provide a working definition of ‘evidence-based policing’ and differentiate this from other related concepts such as ‘problem-oriented’ and ‘intelligence-led’ policing;
  • differentiate between sources of information and evidence, such as anecdotal, experiential, qualitative, quantitative, systematic, experimental, and so on;
  • differentiate research and evidence by its strength and applicability to a specific problem;
  • understand the differences between ‘best practice’ and ‘promising practice’;
  • develop a research question and identify the kinds of information needed to answer that question;
  • be aware of the range of ways in which other police services have used research to inform strategic management and decision-making, as well as times when data has been misused;
  • identify and use research resources, such as policing research databases and professional networks, to identify the best available evidence on policing strategies, tactics and interventions;
  • create a research partnership with external researchers; and
  • apply research evidence to policing problems.


The course content will be at a university undergraduate level, and suitable for students with a basic prior understanding of general principles of research in the sciences or social sciences. Additional preparatory readings will be made available to students wishing to take this course but do not have any prior college or university education.

Enrolling in this course automatically enrols you into the Certificate in Police Leadership. There is no obligation to complete the certificate.

The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Recommended For

  • Students in the Police Services Leadership Certificate
  • Police and criminal justice professionals
  • Students interested in evidence-based practices in criminal justice

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

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Section Title
Evidence-Based Policing
Online - Self-Paced
Apr 07, 2023 to Jun 29, 2023
Total Learning Hours
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Fee non-credit $1,045.00
  • Damian Kowalewich
Required Software
Students will require a webcam and microphone to participate in live sessions.
Reading List / Textbook
Evidence-Based Policing: Translating Research into Practice. (2017). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198719946. This book can be purchased at Amazon.ca.
Section Notes

This course has scheduled written assignments and scheduled discussions within the term time frame. Days and times for scheduled meetings to be announced at a future date. Scheduled sessions: students who are unable to attend live sessions will be able to view a recorded version. The course syllabus will be available on the course site. The Brightspace course site will be available from 8:00 AM on the course start date.

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