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Criminal Justice Research Methods Literature Review Assignment Guide

Recommended resources and strategies for completing the research for your Criminal Justice Literature Review.

Short Video - How to Use the Library Databases

Start the Research Process with Credo Reference Database

justice scales icon

Start your research by gathering some basic background information about your topic before you seek out more in-depth information about your topic. Use these basics to get an understanding of the terminology, definitions, key concepts, names, dates, places, etc. related to your topic. This information will serves as the foundation for more in-depth research. Use Credo Reference database to gather background information.

Criminal Justice (Gale OneFile) - Research Database

Search the database, Gale OneFile Criminal Justice in one of three ways.

  • Basic Search Box -  enter a simple one or two word keyword or phrase. The Basic Search appears on the home  page when you open the database.
    • example: juvenile crime
  • Advanced Search Boxes - click the Advanced Search option listed beneath the Basic Search Box. You will see 3 search boxes. Notice the drop down menu - AND, OR, NOT -  to the left of the middle and bottom search box.  These "operators" can either expand the searcher results or narrow them.
    • example: in the search below you are asking the database to retrieve articles about juvenile crime AND instances of either robbery OR burglary:
      • juvenile crime
      • AND robbery
      • OR burglary 
    • If you change OR to AND you are asking the database to retrieve fewer articles. You are asking for articles about BOTH crimes rather than EITHER crime.

  Basic and Advance Search Box

The third way to search Gale OneFile Criminal Justice database is using the visual Topic Finder tool. Access Topic Finder in the section of the home page beneath the Basic Search Box.

Type a keyword or phrase into the search box. In Tile View you will see a list of related topics or subtopics connected to your search term in colorful tiles. This lets you see how these concepts are interconnected. Click on an individual tile to see a further dividing of the topic.  On the right side of the page you will see a list of articles related to the subtopic presented in an individual tile. Click on title to access the article.

Topic Finder Tile View (with subtopics)

In Wheel View you will see a list of related topics or subtopics colorfully displayed in a circle. Basic subtopics are closest to the center while further related subtopics are displayed in an outer ring. As with Tile View  a list of articles will be displayed on the right side of the page and you can click on the title of an article to access it.

Topic finder wheelTopic Finder Wheel View (with subtopics)

Click on any  of the subtopics to bring up a list of related articles and subtopics within subtopics.

subtopics Scroll through the list.

Article Page

Choose an article from the list and click on the title to open it. Notice the tools and features. Read the Abstract (summary) to see if the article will work for you. If you think it might, email it to yourself with the citation. If it wouldn't work, go back to the list and choose another.

Article page

Nexis Uni - Research Database

The database, Nexis Uni provides full-text access to over 6000 news, business, and legal publications. Login in using your Western ID. Use the Filter Tools on the left of the page to zero in on the most relevant articles for your topic.

Nexis Uni Search


Ask-a-Librarian button

Reach out to a librarian if you have any questions about finding information in the library databases. Use the Ask-a-Librarian button at the left, or check beneath my profile pic below to see if I'm online for a Chat or feel free to reach out to me via email as well! I'm happy to help!

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