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Criminal Justice

Research Criminal Justice Topics Through Langsdale

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How to Find Articles

Narrowing a Topic
Consult a general or subject-specific encyclopedia. Encyclopedias provide a broad overview of a topic and can help identify potential areas of research as well as sources to consult for further reading. 

Example:

Use Who, What, Where, and When as a way to narrow a topic. 

  • Who: population, demographics, other group of people 
  • What: Issue you're researching 
  • Where: City, state, country, region of the world 
  • When: Time period

Example: 

  • Who: Teenagers, adolescents
  • Where: United States
  • What: Dating abuse among teens
  • When: 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Search Strategies
Create a list of synonyms and keywords related to your topic. Terms used by researchers can differ so being familiar with other vocabulary can help find other useful sources. 

Example: 

You are looking for information about teenagers and dating abuse. Some terms you might come up with include: 

  • Teenagers
  • Teens
  • Adolescents
  • Youth
A subject thesaurus can help find preferred terms used by researchers. This is especially useful when searching for scholarly sources. 

Example: 

Juvenile is the term used by many criminology researchers to refer to anyone under 18. A search in the NCJRS thesaurus shows the following terms: 

Juvenile (Under 18) 

Related Term(s)

  • Juveniles
  • Teen (13-19) 

Narrower Term(s) 

  • Child (5-12)
  • Youth (Under 15) 
Once you've come up with a sufficient list of terms to use, you can combine them using search operators such as AND, OR, quotation marks, and parentheses to search the databases. This is a quick way to find relevant sources without digging through thousands of irrelevant documents. 
The AND operator will narrow your search. This is useful when you're looking for sources that discuss two or more topics. 

Example: 

  • Teenagers AND dating abuse
  • Juveniles AND dating violence
The OR operator will expand your search. This is useful when you have synonyms or related terms. 

Example: 

  • Juveniles OR Teens OR Teenagers
  • Dating abuse OR dating violence
Use quotation marks (" ") to indicate exact phrases. 

Example: 

  • "dating violence"
  • "dating abuse"

Use parentheses () to group search terms and operators together. 

Hint: Use AND outside the parentheses to combine groups of synonyms. 

Example:

(Juveniles OR teens OR teenagers)  AND ("dating violence" OR "dating abuse") 

Retrieving Articles

In a database....

If an article is available in the database you're searching, it will be available either as a PDF Full Text or an HTML Full Text (webpage) link. Click on the link to the file to view and download it. 

PDF Full Text Example

If an article is not in the database you're searching, it may be in another database. Click on the Find It button to see which database contains the article. 

Find It Example

Down Arrow

Find It Results

Through Interlibrary Loan....

If an article is not available, the database will display a link to request the article through interlibrary loan (ILL). There is a 24-48 hour turnaround time for ILL requests. 

Find It Interlibrary Loan