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Criminal Justice 311 (Online)

Tab To-Do List:

1. Read everything on this tab, and watch the Making a Summit or Interlibrary Loan Request at the WSU Libraries screencast demonstration video in the Getting Books via Search It tab..

2. Search for a book in Search It and email the link to yourself using the options found in the Action drop-down menu (upper right of the entry screen)  Watch out - like many databases, sent emails from Search It come from a funky email address, and may be captured in your spam folder.

Getting Books via Search It

Keep in mind your Search Toolkit of truncation, phrase searching, concept connectors such as AND and OR, and grouping.

Why Books?

Scholarly monographs (books where the whole book was written by the same person or people; here's an example) and edited volumes (thematic collections of chapters written by different people around a common theme; here's an example) can be valuable resources:

  • In the social sciences, books often will synthesize scholarship around a particular topic
  • This makes them sustained narratives that introduce concepts and extend them, using previously published research. This provides context and let's the author make new analysis and connections
  • Books and book chapters can also publish new research, i.e the results of new studies, analytic discussions, and/or new theories

How can you tell whether they are scholarly? Look for indicators such as:

  • Information about the author(s) that shows academic expertise, i.e. the author is a professor of criminal justice at Washington State University
  • The author(s)'s area of expertise is relevant to the topic of the book, i.e. criminal justice, sociology, political science, and other social or behavioral sciences.
  • The book or chapter is written using academic language and conventions
  • Connections to other authors' works are indicated with citations; there is a reference bibliography/works cited via footnotes or endnote
  • What else? Can you think of additional indicators of a book or chapter's academic/scholarly nature? Look at the records for the two books linked above and see what you can tell without seeing the book itself...

What about non-scholarly books?

  • Criminal Justice has a large academic literature, but there are also many books and articles written for the practitioner: police and corrections professionals working in the field or related fields. Their publications (think trade/practitioner as a way to classify them) will be focused on what they need to know to do their job better (new techniques, educating new professionals, relevant legislation and rules, etc.). Some practitioner works are published by think tanks and research institutes like RAND
  • Popular books may take ideas from academic work, and express them in a more popular way (usually though expressive language) to broaden the understanding of ideas among non-academics to extend knowledge among society (think about the works of Malcolm Gladwell, or this book: Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI)

What about things published by governmental agencies, etc?

  • Governmental agencies (executive, legislative, and judicial) can be important sources of information that is relevant for criminal justice topics: laws, regulations, agency reports, governmental statistics, and more.
  • For more information on locating and using government publications, see the Government Publications for Undergraduates library guide

What About eBooks?

eBooks are a good resource for distance and Pullman students, but they can vary. Some books in the Libraries catalog are downloadable PDF or HTML books freely available online (often published by a government agency). The Libraries also has access to many scholarly monographs from particular vendors (EBL, ebrary, EBSCO, Springer, ScienceDirect, and more). The following applies specifically to ebooks from EBL, ebrary, and EBSCO:

  • you can read them entirely online (or in certain cases download them for some days and read them on a desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone, or certain ereaders)
  • You can print out page ranges and/or chapters (usually as PDFs) that are yours to keep
  • You can copy and paste selections
  • you can annotate the book as you read it
  •  You can read them straight through, by chapter, or search the entire full text of the book for a particular term or phrase
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