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Criminal Justice 311 (Online)

Tab To-Do List:

1. Watch the Peer Review in Three minutes video (in the About Journals sub-tab)  and review the Types of Journals chart (PDF) - both are in the About Journals box.

2. Look at the various publications in the Examples sub-tab and think about whether/how you might use each item (and its periodical type, i.e. scholarly/popular/etc) in a research proposal.

3. Extra credit: Watch the Types of Journals recording, and.or the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources: It Depends recording in the About Journals tab (both are approximately one hour long). This will really help you as you think about how you might use academic sources, versus trade/professional publications, for example.

About Journals

Your professor may have specified "peer reviewed" journal articles for your assignment. The video below will explain what that means, and the link below will describe the differences between peer-reviewed articles and other kinds of publications. 

The Lit Review

Your literature review should contain article and books that are relevant to your topic, but you will want to use them to build a case for your take on the topic - "other people have looked at this, but not in the way I am going to," in essence.

What is a literature review?

“The selection of available documents (both published and unpublished) on the topic, which contain information, ideas, data and evidence written from a particular standpoint to fulfill certain aims or express certain views on the nature of the topic and how it is to be investigated, and the effective evaluation of these documents in relation to the research being proposed” (Hart, C. (1998). Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. London: Sage Publications. p. 13)

Keep in mind that you will use scholarly literature outside of the literature review section - you may, for example, not have a specific lit review section, and include references to related literature throughout your research paper. You will also use sources to provide evidence and perspective as you build your arguments and construct your analysis.


Judging A Book by its Cover Scenarios: How might you use these in a class research paper assignment?

Topic: Prison Overcrowding


Moore. S.  (February 11, 2009). The Prison Overcrowding Fix. New York Times.

Use case:

Popular magazine

Pedersen, D., Shapiro, D., & McDaniel, A. (October 06, 1986). Inside America's Toughest Prison. Newsweek, 46-61.

Use case:

Trade/professional/practicioner journal [opinion piece]

Casey, J. D. (May 01, 1988). Early inmate release programs: a misguided solution to prison overcrowding. The Police Chief, 55, 7.

Use case:

Scholarly article

Fry, L. J. (January 01, 1988). Continuities in the determination of prison overcrowding effects. Journal of Criminal Justice, 16, 3, 231-40.

Use case: this is what goes in your literature review; may use in analysis  to explain your examples/evidence (based on your argument)


Paulus, P. B., Cox, V. C., & McCain, G. (1988). Prison crowding: A psychological perspective. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Use case: lit review; provides a broader overview than a journal article, usually ; ; may use in analysis  to explain your examples/evidence (based on your argument)

Encyclopedia entry

Speir, J., & Meredith, T. (2002). Prison overcrowding. In D. Levinson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of crime and punishment. (pp. 1221-1224). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:10.4135/9781412950664.n318

Use case: presearch/background research ; may sometimes (rarely) use in paper (esp. defin/statistical)

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