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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is an overview of the specialization/versatility debate. It presents the key elements of this debate, from the theoretical to the methodological, with the aim of capturing the contested, evolving, and dynamic nature of this important topic. This chapter first discusses the theoretical underpinnings of the specialization/versatility debate. Next, the practical implications of this debate for policy and program development are considered. The chapter then gives an overview of key empirical findings. Challenges and confounds within existing research are afterward discussed. From here, the chapter presents different ways in which specialization/versatility is operationalized. Finally, this chapter examines a range of data and measurement issues.

Keywords: specialization, versatility, specialization/versatility debate, policy development, program development, offending specialization

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