8 Clinical Forensic Psychology

Research Methods in Psychology


  1. Kevin S. Douglas PhD, LLB1,
  2. Randy K. Otto PhD2,
  3. Sarah L. Desmarais PhD2,
  4. Randy Borum PsyD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop202008

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Douglas, K. S., Otto, R. K., Desmarais, S. L. and Borum, R. 2012. Clinical Forensic Psychology. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 2:II:8.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Simon Fraser University, Department of Psychology, Burnaby, BC, Canada

  2. 2

    University of South Florida, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, Florida Mental Health Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Clinical forensic psychology involves assessment and treatment of persons involved in the legal process, or consultation on related matters. Although psychologists who conduct research in forensic contexts are faced with challenges that present themselves in any research context, they are also faced with some unique ones as well. Therefore, in addition to being well versed in general research design and methodological principles from clinical and experimental psychology, researchers must be aware of and responsive to the unique challenges they will face as a function of working in the legal process. In this chapter, we review (a) common areas of inquiry in clinical forensic psychology (descriptive assessment and psycholegal capacities, predictive assessment, and legally relevant diagnostic constructs and response styles); (b) general challenges to conducting research within these areas; and (c) specific research designs and methodological approaches that scholars effectively have employed within these areas.


  • clinical-forensic research;
  • psycholegal;
  • forensic psychology