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SOCI 103 - Introduction to Criminal Justice Studies

Your Assignment

Fall 2017 Library Assignment (10%) from Professor Yanick Dulong

By Sept 22nd, turn in:

1) an Annotated An annotation is a note added as a comment or explanation.  In academic assignments, faculty will tell you what they want in the annotation.  This assignment says "below each reference summarize in your own words the main points of each article in 1-2 paragraphs"  You are looking at these articles to outline and analyze the social factors (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, age, class, etc.) and trends underlying the criminal justice issues in the topic you choose to research.
2) Bibliography A list of references or sources used.  In both APA and ASA style, entries are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the author.
3) in APA or ASA style APA style is the American Psychological Association style.  ASA is the American Sociological Association style.  The library page on citing sources has links to help you format both these styles.
4) of Three Journal Articles (NOT BOOK REVIEWS!!) Students don't usually encounter scholarly, academic journals until they get to college.  The library website has a variety of tools to help you locate them and limit your selections to things from these journals.  They are written at an advanced level, by and for professionals.  Don't be surprised if they are complex.  In a 100 level class, you are just starting out and dipping a toe into the vast sea of this professional conversation.  That is why this assignment emphasizes summarizing them in your own words.
5) On a topic from the handout. The suggested topics for this assignment have HUGE amounts of scholarly material written about them.  It would be to your benefit to consider looking for a more focused aspect of whichever topic you choose.

What to Do

Step 1: Topic Analysis

Look at the handout. example
Choose a general topic Police training

Consider what aspects of that topic interest you

How police develop their internal culture of protecting each other

Create a list of possible search terms - NOT SENTENCES! Individual words that represent your interest

  • police, law enforcement, officers
  • culture, boys in blue, brotherhood, code of silence
  • training, academy, initiation
Be prepared to adjust and change the list as you start searching  

Step 2: Choose a database

Decide whether you need a:

  • General Database that covers lots of disciplines.
    • The quick search box on the library home page
    • Academic Search Complete
  • Or a focused database that narrows in to the sources for just that discipline
    • On the library home page, click on "choose databases by subject and type"
    • Choose the subject and type of sources you want and see what databases are suggested.

for this assignment, the quick search box will be effective.

Step 3: Search the database effectively

  • Use the four main search techniques
    • AND - to connect different ideas 
      • police and training and culture
    • ( OR ) - to contain synonym in a group to be searched together 
      • police and (training or academy or initiation) and culture
    • quotation marks - to keep words together that express a single idea
      • (police or "law enforcement")
    • Wildcard character - to catch multiple endings of a word.
      • (police or "law enforcement") and (training or academy or initiat*) and (culture or "code of silence")
  • Use the limiters on the left side of the results lists to hone in on useful items, e.g.
    • Recent
    • Articles from Academic Journal
    • in English

Step 4: Evaluate your results and revise your search as necessary

Step 5: Retrieve the articles you choose

Periodicals: A Closer Look

A Periodical is anything that is published regularly and includes newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, as well as some less well-known categories.  You will be required by faculty to use articles from peer-reviewed journals in your academic work.  What does that mean?  How do you know that what you are finding is acceptable?

  • name of the periodical (journal, bulletin, quarterly, review...)
  • more pages in the article than in a magazine article
  • abstract present in the article (not just the database record)
  • author affiliation given
  • presence of a bibliography or references

And how do you find them in the first place?  The best way is to use a database designed to locate scholarly articles in your field of interest.

General Searching Techniques for library databases

  1. Try a title or keyword search
  2. Some databases have a list of suggested subject words on the initial results page. Look at them and copy the useful ones. If there is no list, then look at a number of potentially useful records and copy down words and phrases from the "subject" or "descriptor" area of single record. Some databases provide a thesaurus of terms which can lead to broader, related, or narrower terms you may not have thought of.
  3. Go back to the search screen and search BY SUBJECT/DESCRIPTOR using the words you learned about as a result of your first search.
  4. Be sure to connect search terms correctly using the following techniques
  • Boolean connectors
    • AND connects different concepts and narrows a search: Fish AND chips
    • OR, with parentheses, combines synonyms/related terms and broadens a search: Fish AND (chips OR fries)
  • Use quotation marks for phrases: Fish AND (chips OR "french fries")
  • Use the asterisk as a wildcard character to retrieve variations on a common stem: educat* retrieves educate, education, educating, educated, etc. Very useful for capturing plurals


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