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CRIM 385 Contemporary Legal Issues in the Criminal Justice System

For students of Dr. Elizabeth B. Perkins

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How Can You Tell When a Source is Scholarly?

What is Peer Review?

It is the quality control system for scholarship.  It means that articles in a peer-reviewed journal must be scrutinized by experts before they are published.  SYNONYMS = 'academic', 'juried', 'refereed', 'scholarly'.

How can you tell when something is peer-reviewed?

1) When you are looking at a print copy, of an entire issue of a journal, the editorial board of scholars with academic credentials and institutional affiliations will be listed somewhere.  These are the 'peers' that review each published article.

2) Use a check box limit in your database search (when available).

3) Consult Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. (Search on the source title NOT the article title.)  An icon of a referee's jersey will indicate that the journal is peer-reviewed.

Research Strategy vs. Searching Strategy

Research Strategy -- How do I figure out which are the best databases to search?

Search Strategy -- Once I have started searching in a database how do so competently?

Search Strategy Concepts for Each Assignment

Truncation is a way to efficiently retrieve variations of words.  In most databases the truncation symbol is an asterisk (*).

In this assignment some variations would junk up your retrieval with off-target articles.  "Prosecutorial" and "prosecution" are unhelpful.  The plural form though "prosecutors" is desirable to pull into the retrieval.

So use truncation like this


not like this


The Boolean AND

In most search engines the two words

Prosecutor Elections

typed as a phrase will have an implied AND between them.  But you can add it yourself like this.

Prosecutor* AND Election*

Alternatively you can force the search engine to search it as a phrase by enclosing it in quotes

"Prosecutor Elections"

The Boolean OR and Nesting Using Parentheses

(American OR United States) AND (jury OR juries) AND (system OR structure)

Using the Advanced Search to filter results by ANDing single keywords

This gets your list down to a manageable size.

Using Synonyms

Sentencing AND (structure OR guidelines OR reform OR mandatory OR discretion)

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