CJUS 5800: Topics - Crime Prevention: Search Criminal Justice Scholarly Literature

A guide to library resources for students taking CJUS 5800: Crime Prevention

Suggested Databases for Criminal Justice Literature Searching

Search Tips

In general, when searching the library databases...

Keywords are...

  • A good way to start a search.
  • The important concepts in your own words.
  • Found anywhere in the article (title, author, subject terms, etc.).

Use Quotation Marks to Search for a Phrase...

  • Searching for "Quality of life" will bring back only results that have the words in that exact order.

Connecting the concepts (keywords)...

  • Link different parts of your topic with "AND" to get results that contain both terms.
  • Join similar ideas or synonyms with "OR" to find results that contain either of the terms.
  • Exclude concepts with "NOT" 

Search for a root word...

  • Add an * at the end of a word to search for all possible endings/suffixes 
  • teen* will search for teen, teens, teenager, teenagers

Limit to Peer-Reviewed, Refereed or Scholarly articles...

  • Peer-review is part of the publication & editorial process for academic and research journals.  Being peer-reviewed is a sign that a paper's author(s) have done a certain level of due diligence in their work and their research is complete, manages conflicts-of-interest, and is fair and objective.

Narrow the Date Range...

  • When looking for current research limit your date range to the last 5-10 years.

Still not finding anything?  Ask your Librarian!

How to Develop Keywords

When searching the library databases for articles, typing an entire sentence or question into the search field will not produce good results. Instead use keywords that describe your topic.

Developing Keywords

Identify the important nouns or main ideas in your research question. For example:

  • Research Question: What effects does the spread of incorrect health information on social media have?

Generate synonyms for each main term, along with words that are narrower, broader, and related.

  • Incorrect information: deceit, manipulation, lies, false, misinformation, fake news
  • Social media: online, websites, internet, social networking
  • Health: wellness, physical wellbeing, medical

Start searching in a database and connect your keywords with AND, OR, and, NOT as appropriate

  • A search for this topic could look like:
    • misinformation AND health AND social media 
    • incorrect information AND medical AND social networking websites
    • (lies OR false information) AND health AND online 

Pay attention to the results and modify your keywords as necessary.

  • Titles and abstracts in the results may help you identify new keywords
  • Keep in mind that keywords will evolve as you search. The more you search and learn about your topic, the easier it will be to develop keywords and search for more relevant articles. 

How to Create Keywords Video Tutorials

Keyword Generators

Finding Books

You can find books on your criminal justice topic by using the UNT Library Catalog.

If you need help using the catalog, you have several options:

  • For general directions, you can go to UNT Library Catalog Help;
  • For in person help in a library on the UNT campus, go to the reference or library services desk in the library where you are working;
  • For personal assistance when you are not in a library, go to Ask Us.

What Is Peer Review?

Many instructors require you to use peer-reviewed sources for your papers and projects, but what does that mean?

  • Peer review is the process of having experts in a field review the quality of an article or book before it is published
  • Most articles in scholarly and academic journals are peer-reviewed
  • Books published by university or academic presses are peer-reviewed

Many databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles.  If the database you are using doesn't provide for this, you can determine if the article you are viewing is peer reviewed by searching for the title of the journal which published the article in: Ulrichsweb

screenshot of Ulrichsweb filter displaying icon for refereed option among other options

The Referee Shirt icon indicates the journal is refereed or peer reviewed.

InterLibrary Loan

If UNT Libraries does not own an item you need for your research, you can use Interlibrary Loan.  Interlibrary Loan provides access to collections of other institutions world-wide. You may receive the actual item, a photocopy, or a PDF, depending on the size of the requested item and copyright restrictions. To use Interlibrary Loan Services you will need to create an ILLiad account

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