The data sets housed in the National Juvenile Court Data Archive are the property of the court or state agency that originally collected the information and were willing to contribute their data for use in the national reporting effort. This means that any use of the data, including use by Archive staff, must have prior written approval from the original data supplier. Obtaining such permission is rarely a problem, but it is a critical part of the dissemination process. With this understood, the general process for obtaining access to an Archive data set is as follows:
Selection of data sets
Some individuals will know which data sets they would like to have before they contact the Archive. Others will approach the Archive with an understanding of the general characteristics of the data they will need to support their research design, but will not know which of the archived data sets meet these needs. These individuals should discuss their needs with Archive staff. The staff have analyzed each of the data sets themselves and can judge the data's ability to support specific research needs. User's guides available on this web site have been developed by Archive staff for each of the data sets and should be reviewed before a final selection is made.
Formal request for data
Once the data sets have been selected, a letter should be written to the Archive identifying the data set(s) of interest and outlining the reasons for the request (i.e. the specific research proposal). Costs for data services will be negotiated at this time. If the data set requires approval before release, the Archive will request permission to release the data from the data supplier. Often permission is granted with some preconditions. Normally these preconditions restrict the further distribution of the data files to other users, require the researcher to provide the data supplier with drafts of all reports using the data, and require that all reports recognize the data supplier's role in the work. Additionally, the researcher must submit a copy of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before any data file will be released. Click here for more information about the IRB.
Delivery of the data files
Once permission to release the data has been received and a contractual agreement has been reached on the preconditions, the data files are copied onto an electronic media and shipped. If so desired, the Archive will also provide an automated SPSS control file for each of the data sets.
Production of special analyses or customized data files
The archive will also conduct special analyses of the data files or create customized data files to the specifications of the researcher. As with the release of the data, this work also requires prior permission from the original data suppliers. Once permission is granted, Archive staff and the researcher will agree upon the exact nature of the product and produce written specifications. The Archive will then prepare the analyses or the customized data files specified and provide the researcher with the results of the work. While past experience will enable Archive staff to gauge the approximate cost of the project, the exact fee cannot be determined until final specifications have been established.