David McDowall has diverse substantive interests, but much of his scholarship focuses on the social distribution of crime and criminal victimization. His work makes extensive use of quantitative methods, and his publications appear in sociology, criminology, and public health journals. In addition to considering theoretical questions about variations in crime, he also studies policy issues, especially in the areas of juvenile justice and firearm violence. Among other research topics, he is currently investigating historical patterns in criminal offending and the time series properties of crime rate trends.
Professor McDowall teaches courses in statistics and quantitative methods. He serves as co-director of the Violence Research Group, and he is a former editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology. In 2011, he received the Criminology Teaching Award from the American Society of Criminology.