Expert Surveys: Firearm Researchers
Every month firearms researchers are asked four questions, in the following format. First, responders are asked to give their level of agreement with a statement: (a) strongly disagree, (b) disagree, (c) neither agree nor disagree, (d) agree, or (e) strongly agree (or “I don’t know”). Respondents are then asked to rate the quality of the scientific evidence about this issue/statement. Then they are asked their level of familiarity with the issue/statement, and finally their area of research (e.g., public health/medicine; sociology/criminology; public policy).
The surveys are conducted on Qualtrics.
Expert firearms researchers were defined as those individuals that 1) publish in peer-reviewed journals and 2) publish specifically about firearms in the public health, public policy, sociology, or criminology literature. Expert researchers were defined as first authors on at least 1 peer-reviewed journal article from 2011 to the present (February 2014). It was felt that including all authors would overweight the public health/medicine area of research since articles there tend to have more authors.
Papers were identified through keyword searches using databases including Web of Science, Sociological Abstracts, Criminal Justice Abstracts and MEDLINE. Authors included scientists from criminology, public health and social science.
In March 2014, a total of 1180 citations were reviewed. The following categories of citations were removed:
- Book reviews
- Case studies
- Articles without a clear author
Certain journal categories were also excluded:
- Law journals – not peer-reviewed
- Forensic journals – it became too subjective to ascertain which forensic articles were relevant (e.g., studies of bullet types in certain crimes)
Certain topics were deemed to be irrelevant based on keywords. These included:
- History articles – e.g., “military history” or “civil war”
- Engineering and manufacturing articles
- Medical treatment articles – e.g., “treatment,” “management,” “procedures”
- Psychology and psychiatry of gun users and victims – e.g., “resilience”
- Different types of guns including nail, air, mole or electron guns
A total of 468 citations were included. Duplicate entries were removed and 358 distinct first authors were found. Of these, a total of 287 working email addresses were found and included in this survey study.