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CRJS 3003 Week 2 Assignment: Week 2


For this week's assignment, you are asked to continue developing an annotated bibliography for 3-5 scholarly sources on law enforcement. This guide will introduce you to Criminal Justice databases and provide general search tips to help you complete this assignment. 

For more information on what constitutes a scholarly resource, please review the following Library guide: Evaluating Resources

Access Criminal Justice research homepage

The Library has many Criminal Justice resources to help you with your research. Follow these steps to access the Criminal Justice research homepage, the headquarters for Criminal Justice research at Walden.

1. On the Library homepage, click the Select a Subject drop-down menu.

2. Select Criminal Justice & Security.

Identfy CRJS databases

1. Scroll down on the Criminal Justice & Security research homepage and click on the Criminal Justice and Security databases menu.

2. Review the databases in the list and make a selection. To view more Criminal Justice databases, click the link at the bottom of the menu that says View all criminal justice databases.

For more information on Criminal Justice resources, please view the following webinar: Introduction to Criminal Justice & Security Research

Select keywords

Keywords, also commonly called search terms, are the words that you enter into the database search boxes. They represent the main concepts of your research topic and are the words used in everyday life to describe the topic. Without the right keywords, you may have difficulty finding the articles that you need.

Selecting keywords is a multi-step process that involves:

  • identifying the main concepts of your topic
  • brainstorming synonyms and antonyms that could also be used to describe your topic
  • spell out abbreviations

It is very rare that your first search will bring back perfect results. It takes trial and error to determine which keywords work best for your topic. Be prepared to run multiple searches in your quest for the keywords that will help you find the materials you need.

For this assignment, possible keywords might include: "law enforcement", policy, precedent, decision, procedure, etc. 

Enter keywords into database and search

For this search example, we will be using Criminal Justice Database.

1. On the Criminal Justice Database Advanced Search screen, you will see two search boxes. Enter one or more keywords (e.g. "law enforcement" OR police) into the first search box.

2. Enter additional keywords (e.g. precedent OR policy OR decision) into the second or third search boxes.

3. Before searching, scroll down and make sure the Full Text and Peer Reviewed boxes are checked.

4. Click the Publication date drop-down menu and select Specific date range. Limit the date range to the last 5 years. 

5. Click Search. On the results page, start to review your results. You can further limit your search by using the tools along the left-hand side of the screen.

6. To read a concise summary of an article's content, click the Abstract/Details link located at the bottom of each entry.

7. When you find a suitable source, click one of the full text options located at the bottom of the entry to access the article in its entirety.

For more information on best practices when searching in databases, please review the following Library guide: Database Search Skills