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Criminal Justice: Journals

Test of Criminal Justice subject guide.

Tips for Searching Databases

  1. Selecting a Database - The Library’s database page is divided into categories by subject area. There are also categories for general resources and references. Hover over any database on the library’s webpage to view a description of its contents. In selecting a database, consider what type of information you are hoping to find. Some databases contain scholarly journal articles; others contain films and videos. Some databases provide news sources and reference articles; others contain a variety of information in a variety of formats. Try searching different databases with different content types for the best results.
  2. Using and Combining Keywords - Before you begin searching, brainstorm keywords and combinations of keywords that are related to your topic. Think about which aspects of the topic interest you. For example, if your topic is Climate Change you may be interested in the science behind climate, or, you may be more focused on political aspects. You can combine keywords to refine your results and make your search more effective.
  3. Refining your Results - Most databases have options that allow you to narrow your search results. Some examples to look for include:
  • Source type - This can help if you want to limit your search to academic or peer-reviewed journals.
  • Publication Date - Chances are, you want the most current information on your topic. Usually, you can select a date range. This helps you weed out old information that is no longer relevant. 
  • Language/Geographic Region - Sometimes your results list can get bogged down with articles published in another country or written in a different language.
  1. Tools and Features - Many databases have tools that can help you organize your research and save your results. Look for tools that allow you to:  Print * Download/Save * Cite * Export * Email

Types of Journals

Not all journals are created equal, and not all will be appropriate for every research need. These are the most common types of journals you are likely to encounter in your research, presented in order from most to least academic:

  • Scholarly Journals: reports of original research, theoretical, experimental, or applied; many are refereed/peer-reviewed
  • Trade/Professional Journals: current trends, news & events in a particular field; some are peer-reviewed
  • Journals of Commentary or Opinion: commentary on political & social issues; often a source of specific political viewpoint, e.g., conservative, liberal, or specific interest group
  • Newspapers: current information, news stories; local & regional focus
  • Popular Magazines: current events & news; primary source for popular culture

Google vs. Databases