The predominant use of research study designs that have limited ability to study causality, like case-control and ecological studies that aggregate data from sources and levels, have compounded the challenge faced by researchers and policy makers alike. Progressing to other experimental and quasi-experimental designs that have better ability to study causality and utilizing interdisciplinary partnerships and consultations with academics, practitioners, and community members would strengthen research.

These issues related to research design and data, if not addressed, will limit the ability of researchers to perform rigorous studies, as well as the ability of policy makers to use research to inform the development and evaluation of future policies. The CDC, in collaboration with its federal and state partners, can improve the reliability and accuracy of data and research about firearm-related violence.


The research agenda proposed in this report is intended as an initial—not a conclusive or all-encompassing—set of questions critical to developing the most effective policies to reduce the occurrence and impact of firearm-related violence in the United States. No single agency or research strategy can provide all the answers. This report focuses on the public health aspects of firearm violence; the committee expects that this research agenda will be integrated with research conducted from criminal justice and other perspectives to provide a much fuller knowledge base to underpin our nation’s approach to dealing with this very important set of societal issues.

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