Sinclair has longstanding research interests in the areas of legal and regulatory pluralism, comparative criminology, justice reform, policing & security governance, conflict & peace building, and post-colonial state formation and nation building. He also has an ongoing interest in the theory and practice of international development and, in particular, in respect of the security-development nexus.
Sinclair has published in a range of journals including Oceania, Contemporary Pacific; Third World Quarterly; Policing & Society; Conflict, Security & Development; Development and Change; and The Australian Journal of International Affairs. He is author of Law and Order in a Weak State: Crime and Politics in Papua New Guinea (University of Hawai’i Press 2001) and has co-edited six books, the most recent of which (co-edited with Matthew Allen) is State-building and State Formation in the Western Pacific (Routledge 2016).
He has undertaken research and policy assignments for various governments and international organisations including AusAID/DFAT, NZ MFAT, World Bank, UNDP, ODI, New Zealand MFAT, the Asia Foundation and the Pacific Islands Forum.