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Finding Peer-Reviewed Research Articles (Empirical Studies) in Criminology Journals

This guide provides suggestions on where and how to look for studies (research) from high quality criminology journals. Options include browsing peer-reviewed sociology journals or searching databases containing criminology studies

The power of Criminal Justice Abstracts Subject and Abstract Searching

To focus your searches using Criminal Justice Abstracts try the following commands:    

Criminal Justice Abstracts allows for boolean operators  AND  OR  and truncation and proximity operators such as N3


Subject Searching    

A powerful technique to use in Criminal Justice Abstracts is "subject" searching.  An article with a subject heading that matches your topic will be more relevant than an article that simple mentions your topic in passing. Since not every word is a subject heading in Criminal Justice Abstracts begin by searching for your topic (or part of your topic) in a title search.  

For instance, suppose the topic is body cameras.

Type body cameras in the first blank - set the dropdown menu to TI title - and search.

To find a subject heading first search for your topic - or part of your topic - as a title search in CJA

In addition to looking at the articles that have this topic in the title (51 in this instance) take a look at the list of Subject Headings found under each result.

Inspect the subject headings of your title search to see if you can identify possible subject headings for a subsequent subject search.


In this case the subject heading WEARABLE video devices appears to be an option.

Try searching Criminal Justice Abstracts by typing WEARABLE video devices in the first blank and this time setting the dropdown menu to SU Subject Terms.

Search for wearable video devices (a subject heading alternative to body cameras) by changing the dropdown menu to SU Subject Terms

This search produces 343 results focused wearable video devices (AKA body cameras)..




Abstract Searching

Another powerful technique to use in Criminal Justice Abstracts is "abstract" searching.  Abstracts are concise descriptions of the content of an article where every word counts. Searching in the abstract is much like searching in the title - it focuses your search. Since an abstract contains multiple sentences and mentions the key points the odds of matching your topic to an article is greatly increased with abstract searching.


To perform an abstract search type one or more of your topic terms into one or more of the search blanks and set the dropdown menu(s) to AB abstract - and search.

Change the dropdown menu to AB Abstract to perform a focused abstract search.




Publication Dates and Peer Review  

After you search - you can scroll down the left-hand side of the results page and limit the Publication Date to particular years of interest. You may wish to limit your search to Peer Reviewed Journals. If so, check the box labeled Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals”