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Criminal Justice: Finding Articles

After Hours Research Help


History Databases

Tips for Searching

The first step to finding articles is to select a database. Each database covers a unique group of journals. 

Databases that are used for academic research require you to use terms and connectors. You need to join your search terms with AND and OR. If you don't, the database will simply look for all the terms you listed as if they were one big word or phrase. Normally that means poor results.

 Terms and connectors searching isn't hard if you take the time to think about them as instructions. In fact, using terms and connectors can get you the results you need much more quickly than doing, for example, a google search that brings back tons of stuff with only some of it relevant.

 Use AND if you want the terms joined by it all to be present in the articles you retrieve.


Use OR when you have more than one way to say the same thing.

 Remember to use the wild-cards to truncate (sometimes *, sometimes !) to get every form of a word.


If you need peer reviewed or scholarly articles check the box on the search screen or when reviewing results.

Date restrict to get the most recent stuff!!!

Sort results by RELEVANCY to review the best articles first.


When in doubt click HELP when in the database for explanations of connectors and wild-cards for that specific database.



There are several databases that you can use to find articles. Remember that subject databases will only include journals that are within that particular subject area.  In addition to the two main criminal justice databases, at the top of the list below, you will also find other databases useful. For instance, if you want the sociological perspective on crime, you could also use Sociological Abstracts, and for a psychological perspective, you could also use PsycInfo.

Some databases are more general. Academic Search Complete covers most academic subjects, while Science Direct is a good source for scientific articles.  

Interested in the academic conversation of a topic, the history, or current science, then Web of Science is for you! In Web of Science, you can easily find linked citations from an article.  Web of Science also shows articles that have cited the primary article since it was published.  

Terms and Conectors

Once you finish laughing you may find you actually understand boolean searching once and for all. This lady is bit odd but she's a great teacher!


Direct, straightforward video about using wild-cards in your search logic.


Adele Dobry's picture
Adele Dobry
University Library
5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032
Office LIB N 2021A

Terms and Connectors


for when you need all terms in a search string included in the articles you retrieve



for when you have more than one way to say the same thing

if either of the terms shows up in articles retrieved it will be a useful article


* !

wild-cards for getting a root word and all of it's endings

for example: communicat* will search for communication, communicating, communicates, communicated, communicator, etc.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300