The use of XR technology in criminological research: a scoping review

Iris van Sintemaartensdijk, Amy Meenaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives - Criminology has begun to use virtual reality (VR) as a tool to understand criminal behaviour. There have been many advances in VR that open up the possibility of novel research designs, in addition to the inclusion of augmented reality (AR) as a potential research tool. A review of the efficacy of the use of AR and VR (together known as XR) within criminology is now required to guide the further development of this field.

Methods - We employed a scoping review, which after screening, incorporated 41 papers for review.

Results - We uncovered three important characteristics for the papers: research topics for which XR is employed, the prominence of VR research over AR and XR and methodological rigour. VR is mostly employed for creating scenarios, in particular in research on memory and aggression. Studies vary greatly in their use of interaction within VR scenes, description of technical specifications and sample sizes.

Conclusions - Despite the identification of some methodological limitations in the existing literature, VR has found its place in criminological research. With technological advancement, AR may also find its place in the future, allowing for the ongoing development of research applications. Creating comprehensive guidelines on how to use XR technology in criminology remains necessary.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Early online date9 Feb 2024
Publication statusEarly online - 9 Feb 2024


  • VR
  • AR
  • XR
  • criminology

Cite this