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Criminal Justice

Use this guide to find resources for criminal justice courses.

Keywords and Search Terms

Searching in the library's resources depends on the keywords - or search terms - you use. Instead of searching for a whole question or sentence, break your topic into keywords. Mix and match different combinations of keywords to get different results when searching. Also, think of similar or related terms you can search for.

For example:

Research question: How do community policing techniques affect crime rates in urban areas?

Possible keyword combinations:

  • community policing AND crime
  • community policing AND urban
  • community-oriented policing AND cities AND crime
  • [name a specific community policing technique] AND crime

Mix and match different keywords to find different articles.

Watch this video for more help on brainstorming keywords:


Narrow Your Topic

A successful research project or paper starts with a topic that is the right "size". If your topic is too broad or too big, you'll find too many sources. If your topic is too narrow or too small, you won't find enough sources. You may need to brainstorm different aspects you want to focus on in order to help you narrow your topic.

For example, researching 'body cameras in policing' will give you too many resources to create a focused paper or assignment. If you're unsure how to narrow your topic, use the "W" questions:

WHO - Is there a particular population you want to focus on?

WHERE - Is there a particular location you want to focus on? A particular city or region? Urban areas or rural?

WHEN - Is there a particular time frame you are interested in?

WHAT - What aspects are interesting to you? (Be curious!)

WHY - Why is this topic important?

OneSearch Video Tutorial

Tips for Finding News in Databases

Searching for newspaper articles in library databases is different from looking at news websites. 

Library databases contain the "paper of record," -- which may differ from the articles you see on the newspapers' websites. 

If you see an article online and want to find the full text in the library, you may need to search multiple ways:

  • Article title
  • Article author
  • Browse by date
  • Look at articles from several dates

Research Guides

Find more tips for searching here: