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Criminal Justice

Research Criminal Justice Topics Through Langsdale

Government Reports

What are they?
Government agencies are often required to produce reports on a wide variety of topics.  In criminal justice these might be the evaluation of a program or department, and overview of an area of research, or a variety of other topics.

How do I find them?
The best way to find these kinds of sources is to go straight to the government agencies themselves or use a service like NCJRS. Try using the word "report" when you search for a title if you have trouble, it can be surprisingly effective.

How do I know I've found one?
This is what generally trips students up.  What does a "government report" look like?  Unfortunately there is no perfect clear cut answer, but generally there are some common characteristics:

  • They tend to be lengthy, often very lengthy.  If it's 3 pages this probably isn't what you are looking for, think more like 20.
  • They are often reporting on something to another agency or regulatory body.  For instance a report could be to congress, or evaluating a program for an inspector of some kind.
  • They are not generally published in a scholarly journal.

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