Library Subject Guides

Criminal Justice: Assignment Research


This page gives you tips for finding information for assignments.  If you need help finding information for your assignment, please contact the Criminal Justice Subject Librarian.

1. Plan your search

Identify the key ideas for your topic

Highlight the main concepts or keywords in your assignment question. These words will form the basis of your search. 

Consider synonyms and related terms:

To do a really effective search you will need to consider what words a variety of authors writing about your topic might use.   Ask yourself:

What synonyms or related words might be included in my search? e.g.
adolescents / teenagers / youth  
prison / incarceration

What about search words with variant endings?
This is especially important for finding both the singular and plural of words. e.g.victim/victims
On most databases you can use an asterisk at the end of a word stem to find other endings, e.g. violen* will find violence or violent

What about search words with different spellings?
You may need to search for both British and American spellings of words. Use an asterisk (*) on MultiSearch to find alternatives, e.g. behavi* to find behavior or behaviour. 

Experiment with combinations of search words to find a good range of articles on your topic.

2. Being with recommended reading

  • Check Learn for required and recommended reading
  • Do a course code search on the Library Catalogue to find material for your course on High Demand in the Library

3. Find books


  • Search the UC Library catalogue or MultiSearch to find books on your topic
  • Browse the library shelves in the classification sequence for criminal justice (HV 6000-9960 - level 8 & KM 500-800 level 7)
  • Use dictionaries and encyclopaedias to find definitions and background information. Read more on reference resources for Criminal Justice
  • Use the Reference Lists in your textbook and other recommended reading to find additional material.

4. Find journal articles

Journals publish the latest academic research on a topic. Find journal articles by using the recommended databases for Criminal Justice. 

MultiSearch lets you quickly search across a range of the Library’s resources in one place, including books and journal articles. 

If you need help searching databases to find journal literature, please contact Kerry Gilmour, Subject Librarian for Criminal Justice. 

5. Find information on the Web

internetThe Web has a lot of information, but not all of it is reliable or appropriate for academic research. Government web sites can be particularly useful to locate reports, statistics and policy information.   

Read more on:

6. Evaluate your sources

References recommended on reading lists will already have been evaluated for quality. You'll need to evaluate sources that you find yourself. Think critically about the information you find. The quality of your information has an effect on the quality of your assignment.

Read out more about evaluating information

7. Cite your sources

citeAvoid plagiarism by citing all the sources of information you use in your essay using APA style.

Watch a video on Plagiarism and how to avoid it

Read more on:

8. Write your assignment

If you need assistance with academic writing, visit the Learning Skills Centre for workshops and/or personal help.