Professor Jonathan Jackson

Professor Jonathan Jackson

Professor of Research Methodology

Department of Methodology

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Key Expertise
Criminology; Survey methods; Psychology and Law

About me

"I am currently using virtual reality technology to study the impact of police drones in the context of policing and public health, testing a psychological theory about the subjective experience of fairness and legitimation."
- Professor Jonathan Jackson discusses the innovative technology involved in his research as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations. Read the full close-up with Methodology faculty.


Jonathan Jackson is Professor of Research Methodology. He is an Honorary Professor of Criminology at the University of Sydney Law School and an Affiliated Scholar in the Justice Collaboratory of Yale Law School.

He has held visiting appointments in criminology at Oxford, Sydney, Griffith and Cambridge, in psychology at New York University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in law at Yale, and in public policy at Harvard (Kennedy School).

Jon is an editor of the British Journal of Criminology and an academic editor of PLOSone.

Working at the intersection of psychology and law, his research focuses on procedural justice (the importance of fair process in interactions between power-holders and subordinates), distributive justice (the allocation of finite resources that determine who gets the benefits and burdens of social control)and legitimacy (perceptions of the right to power) in the context of the criminal justice system. He is interested in clarifying the meaning and measurement of these concepts; understanding the causal mechanisms that transmit the effects of procedural justice, distributive justice and legitimacy on various behavioural and attitudinal outcomes; testing how well procedural justice theory travels across diverse social, political and legal contexts using methodologically equivalent research designs; bringing perceptions of structural racism into procedural justice theory; and examining the importance of ‘bounded authority’, i.e. respecting the limits of one’s rightful authority.

He has led several high-profile projects into public trust and institutional legitimacy in the field of criminal justice, most of which have been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the European Commission’s FP7 programme. For instance, he led the design of a 45-question module in Round 5 of the European Social Survey that tested procedural justice theory in 28 countries.

He is currently finishing off an ESRC-funded project (with Clifford Stott at Keeleand Ben Bradford at UCL) that aims to systematically test and advance theoretical understanding of some core causal claims of procedural justice theory. He is leading the part of the study that uses virtual reality simulations of police-citizen drone encounters. The project also has a parallel programme of ethnographic research to gather direct observation and other empirical evidence on the policing of marginalised communities, defined as groups where relations with police are problematic. 

He has just started a 18 month study looking at the effect of rapid digitalization on the delivery of justice in the areas of housing and special educational needs and disability. Funded by the Nuffield Foundation and led by Professor Naomi Creutzfeldt at the University of Westminster, this study examines the effect of rapid digitalization on the delivery of justice in the areas of housing and special educational needs and disability. Covid-19 has forced the justice system, where possible, to go digital at a rapid pace. By empirically understanding areas that work well and those that need improvement, there is a huge opportunity to draw positive (potentially radical) lessons from this crisis. What lessons about digitalization and pathways to justice can be learned? How can trust in justice – the belief that justice system is fair, effective and open to all – be maintained? We seek to (1) better understand the effect of rapid digitalization on the advice and redress systems as well as its users; (2) identify the effects on access for marginalized groups; and (3) explore how trust can be built and sustained intwo specific parts of a justice system affected by the pandemic.

Another project about to begin is about police stop and search, and particularly the change of accessing hard to reach people. The ability to the police to stop and search people in the street is one of their most intrusive and contentious powers. When the police misuse regulatory capacities, this can reproduce structural racism, cause suspicion among the communities that feel unfairly targeted, and undermine a fundamental aspect of the British model of policing by consent. Individual experiences of stop and search can dehumanise, humiliate and criminalise. Yet, even though many thousands of stop searches are carried out in London each year, gauging the views of those stopped by police is hard to do. At a population level this is still a rare experience, and those stopped by the police are disproportionately likely to be from ‘hard to reach’ groups who are less likely to respond to standard surveys.

Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) is an increasingly commonly used method to study and map ‘hidden populations’. As a cost-effective way to boost sample size and enable new kinds of statistical inference, RDS relies on referrals, whereby people in an initial survey sample (‘nodes’ or ‘seeds’) can sign up others who meet specific selection criteria to the survey, who then continue the process until a stopping rule is met. We are using RDS to generate a large sample of people who have had recent direct experience of stop and search and/or are likely to be stop and searched in the future. Drawing on existing data, we are calculating weights that permit statistical inference from both the initial sample and the respondent-driven booster sample to the wider population, and we are expanding the reach of existing survey samples by recruiting additional hard-to-reach participants and new, within-network inference to estimate the extent to which stop and search experiences circulate within social groups.

He has co-authored or co-edited three books: 'Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics' (with Jonathan Jacobs), 'Just Authority? Trust in the Police in England and Wales' (with Ben Bradford, Betsy Stanko and Katrin Hohl), and 'Social Order and the Fear of Crime in Contemporary Times' (with Steve Farrall and Emily Gray).

For information about his research, see Jon's Google Scholar profile and CV.

Expertise Details

Criminology; Survey methods; Psychology and law


Criminology book chapters

Gur, N. and Jackson, J. (2020). ‘Procedure-content Interaction in Attitudes to Law and in the Value of the Rule of Law: An Empirical and Philosophical Collaboration’, in Meyerson, D., Mackenzie, C and MacDermott, T. (eds.) Procedural Justice and Relational Theory: Philosophical, Empirical and Legal Perspectives. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 111-140. 

Sturgis, P., Brunton-Smith, I. and Jackson, J. (2020). ‘Regression-based Response Probing for Assessing the Validity of Survey Questions’, in Beatty, P., Willis, G. and Padilla, J-L (eds.) Advances in Questionnaire Design, Development, Evaluation and Testing. Wiley, pp. 571-591. 

Jackson, J. and Posch, K. (2019). ‘New Directions for Research into Fairness and Legal Authority: A Focus on Causal Mechanisms‘, in E Allan Lind (ed.) Social Psychology and Justice (Frontiers of Social Psychology Series). New York: Routledge. 

Bradford, B., Jackson, J. and Hough, M. (2018). ‘Ethnicity, Group Position and Police Legitimacy: Early Findings from the European Social Survey’, in Roche, S. and Oberwittler, D. (eds.) Police-citizen Relations Across the World: Comparing Sources and Contexts of Trust and Legitimacy. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 46-72. 

Bradford, B., Jackson, J. and Hough, M.  (2018). ‘Trust in Justice’, in Uslaner, E. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Social and Political Trust. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 633-653, doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274801.013.21. 

Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Brunton-Smith, I. and Gray, E. (2018). ‘In the Eye of the (Motivated) Beholder: A Motivated Cognition Perspective on Disorder Perceptions’, in Lee, M. and Mythen, G. (eds.) Routledge International Handbook on Fear of Crime. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 253-271.

Hough, M., Jackson, J. and Bradford, B. (2017). ‘Policing, Procedural Justice and Prevention’, in Sidebottom, A. and Tilley, N. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Crime Prevention and Community Safety (second edition). Oxon: Routledge, pp. 274-293, doi: 10.4324/9781315724393. 

Jackson, J. and Gau, J. (2016). ‘Carving up Concepts? Differentiating between Trust and Legitimacy in Public Attitudes towards Legal Authority’, in Shockley, E., Neal, T. M. S., PytlikZillig, L. and Bornstein, B. (eds.) Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Trust: Towards Theoretical and Methodological Integration. New York: Springer, pp. 49-69, doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-22261-5_3.

Bradford, B. and Jackson, J. (2016). ‘Enabling and Constraining Police Power: On the Moral Regulation of Policing’, in Jacobs, J. and Jackson, J. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 219-237. 

Jackson, J. and Kuha, J. (2016). ‘How Theory Guides Measurement: Public Attitudes Toward Crime and Policing’, in Bynum, T. S. and Huebner, B. M. (eds.) Handbook on Measurement Issues in Criminology and Criminal Justice. John Wylie, pp. 377-415, doi: 10.1002/9781118868799.ch17.

Criminology papers

Jackson, J., Posch, K., Oliveira, T. R., Bradford, B., Mendes, S. M., Natal, A. L. & Zanetic, A. (conditional accept). ‘Fear and Legitimacy in Sao Paulo, Brazil: Police-Citizen Relations in a High Violence, High Fear Context’, Law & Society Review.            

Kyprianides. A., Bradford, B., Jackson, J., Stott, C. and Posch, K. (forthcoming). ‘Relational and Instrumental Perspectives on Compliance with the Law among Police Experiencing Homelessness’, Law & Human Behavior.

Hobson, Z., Yesberg, J. A., Bradford, B. & Jackson, J. (forthcoming). ‘Artificial Fairness? Trust in Algorithmic Police Decision-Making’, Journal of Experimental Criminology.

Lee, M., Ellis, J. R. & Jackson, J. (2021). ‘Everyday Aesthetics, Space, and the Sensory: An Analysis of Fear of Crime and Affect in Sydney’, Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology, doi: 10.21428/88de04a1.642fcdd9

Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Giacomantonio, C. and Mugford, R. (2021). ‘Developing Core National Indicators of Public Attitudes Towards the Police in Canada’, Policing & Society, 

Oliveira, T. R., Jackson, J., Murphy, K. and Bradford, B. (2020). ‘Are Trustworthiness and Legitimacy “Hard to Win, Easy to Lose”? A Longitudinal Test of the Asymmetry Thesis of Police-Citizen Contact’, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 

Kyprianides, A., Bradford, B., Jackson, J., Yesberg, J., Stott, C. and Radburn, M. (2021). ‘Identity, Legitimacy and Cooperation with the Police: Comparing General-Population and Street-Population Samples in London’, Psychology, Public Policy & Law, 

Posch, K., Jackson, J., Bradford, B. and MacQueen, S. (2020). ‘”Truly Free Consent”? Clarifying the Nature of Police Legitimacy using Causal Mediation Analysis’, Journal of Experimental Criminology,

Jackson, J., Brunton-Smith, I., Bradford, B., Rodriguez-Oliveira, T., Posch, K. and Sturgis, P. (2021). ‘Police Legitimacy and the Norm to Cooperate: Using a Mixed Effects Location-Scale Model to Estimate Social Norms at a Small Spatial Scale’, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 37 2, 547-572,

Sturgis, P., Brunton-Smith, I. and Jackson, J. (2021). ‘Trust in Science, Social Consensus, and Vaccine Confidence’, Nature Human Behaviour, 

Jackson, J. and Bradford, B. (2021). ‘Us and Them: On the Motivational Force of Formal and Informal Lockdown Rules’, LSE Public Policy Review, 1, 4, 11, doi:

Solymosi, R., Jackson, J. Pósch, K., Yesberg, J., Bradford, B. and Kyprianides, A. (2021). ‘Functional and Dysfunctional Fear of COVID-19: A Classification Scheme’, Crime Science, 10, 4,

Bradford, B., Yesberg, J., Jackson, J. and Dawson, P. (2020). ‘Live Facial Recognition: Trust and Legitimacy as Predictors of Public Support for Police Use of New Technology’, British Journal of Criminology, 60, 6, 1502-1522,

Brimbal, L., Bradford, B., Jackson, J., Hartwig, M. and Joseph, E. (2020). ‘On the Importance of a Procedurally Fair Organizational Climate for Openness to Change in Law Enforcement’, Law & Human Behavior, 44, 5, 394-411,

Lee, M., Jackson, J. and Ellis, J. R. (2020). ‘Functional and Dysfunctional Fear of Crime in Inner Sydney: Findings from the Quantitative Component of a Mixed-Methods Study’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 53, 3, 311-332, 

Jackson, J. and Bradford, B. (2019). ‘Blurring the Distinction between Empirical and Normative Legitimacy? A Methodological Commentary on “Police Legitimacy and Citizen Cooperation in China”’, Asian Journal of Criminology, 14, 4, 265-289,

Bradford, B., Topping, J., Martin, R. and Jackson, J. (2019). ‘Can Diversity Promote Trust? Neighbourhood Context and Trust in the Police in Northern Ireland’, Policing & Society, 29, 9, 1022-1041, doi: 10.1080/10439463.2018.1479409

Jackson, J. (2018). ‘Norms, Normativity and the Legitimacy of Legal Authorities: International Perspectives’, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 14, 145-165, 

Bradford, B. and Jackson, J. (2018). ‘Police Legitimacy among Immigrants in Europe: Institutional Frames and Group Position’, European Journal of Criminology, 15, 5, 567-588, doi: org/10.1177/1477370817749496.

Trinkner, R., Jackson, J. and Tyler, T. R. (2018). ‘Bounded Authority: Expanding “Appropriate” Police Behavior Beyond Procedural Justice’, Law & Human Behavior, 42, 3, 280-293, doi: org/10.1037/lhb0000285.

Gerber, M. M., Gonzalez, R., Carvacho, H., Jimenez-Moya, G., Moray, C. and Jackson, J. (2018). ‘On the Justification of Intergroup Violence: The Roles of Procedural Justice, Police Legitimacy and Group Identity in Attitudes towards Violence among Indigenous People’, Psychology of Violence, 8, 3, 379-389, doi: org/10.1037/vio0000177.

Other papers

  • Sturgis, P., Brunton-Smith, I. and Jackson, J. (2021). ‘Trust in Science, Social Consensus, and Vaccine Confidence’, Nature Human Behaviour,
  • Allum, N., Allansdottir, A., Einsiedel, E., Gaskell, G., Hampel, J., Jackson, J., Moldovan, A., Priest, S., Stares, S. and Stoneman, P. (2017). ‘Religion and the Public Ethics of Stem-cell Research: Attitudes in Europe, Canada and the United States,’ PLOSone,
  • Singh, I., Bard, I. and Jackson, J. (2014). ‘Robust Resilience and Substantial Interest: A Survey of Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement among University Students in the UK and Ireland’, PLOSone, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105969
  • Sturgis, P., Brunton-Smith, I., Kuha, J. and Jackson, J. (2014). ‘Ethnic Diversity, Segregation and the Social Cohesion of Neighbourhoods in London’, Ethnic & Racial Studies, 37, 8, 1286-1309doi: 10.1080/01419870.2013.831932.
  • Gaskell, G., Allansdottir, A., Allum, N., Castro, P., Esmer, Y., Fischler, C., Jackson, J., Kronberger, N., Hampel, J., Mejlgaard, N., Quintanilha, A., Rammer, A., Revuelta, G., Stares, S., Torgersen, H. and Wagner, W. (2011). 'The 2010 Eurobarometer on the Life Sciences', Nature Biotechnology, 29, 2, 113-114, doi:10.1038/nbt.1771.                
  • Mulford, M., Jackson, J. and Svedsater, H. (2008). ‘Encouraging Cooperation: Revisiting Group Identity and Cooperative Norm Effects in Prisoners’ Dilemma Games’, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38, 12, 2964-2989, doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00421.x.              
  • Callender, C. and Jackson, J. (2008). ‘Does the Fear of Debt Constrain Choice of University and Subject of Study?’, Studies in Higher Education, 33, 4, 405-429, doi: 10.1080/03075070802211802.
  • Gaskell, G., Einsiedel, E., Hallman, W., Hornig Priest, S., Jackson, J. and Olsthoorn, J. (2005). 'Social Values and the Governance of Science', Science, 310, 1908-1909, doi: 10.1126/science.1119444.
  • Callender, C. and Jackson, J. (2005). ‘Does the Fear of Debt Deter Students from Higher Education?’, Journal of Social Policy, 34, 4, 509-540,
  • Gaskell, G., Ten Eyck, T., Jackson, J. and Veltri, G. (2005). 'Imagining Nanotechnology: Cultural Support for Innovation in Europe and the United States', Public Understanding of Science, 14, 1, 81-90, doi:10.1177/0963662505048949.
  • Gaskell, G., Ten Eyck, T., Jackson, J. and Veltri, G. (2004). 'Public Attitudes to Nanotech in Europe and the United States', Nature Materials, 3, 8, 496, doi: 10.1038/nmat1181

My research