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ARCHIVED: Criminal Justice Resources: Find Articles


Looking for articles?  SearchPlus is the newest addition to the array of library resources (although it covers much more than articles).  Note additional choices including basic undergraduate databases, criminal justice specific databases, specialized criminal justice databases,  and need to explore further?

Newspaper articles

If you need current information from newspapers, check out the Library's Newspaper Guide for information on what is available in various formats.

Citation Impact Factors

Interested in seeing which criminal justice journals have the highest impact factor?  Defining “top” journals can be problematic. If you are looking for a consistent metric to select “best” journals in criminal justice, you may want to use Incites Journal Citation Reports  to help determine the journals with the highest impact factors. This guide walks you through finding impact factors, as well as listing the caveats of using impact factors to gauge quality.

(1) Go to MSU Libraries Home Page

(2) Click on databases tab

(3) Click on browse the database list by subject, title, or vendor

(4) Click on J and scroll down to Journal Citations Reports and select

(5) Change default on JCR to Social Sciences edition

(6) View a group of journals by subject category and hit submit

(7) Choose criminology and penology and view journal data (sort by impact factor) then submit

Sci-Byes Journals Ranked by Impact : Criminology and Penology, June 7, 2009, featuring 2008 Impact Factor, Impact 2004-2008, and Impact 1981-2008.

Finding Articles on a Topic

Finding Articles on a Topic

Use a library index (aka database) to find journal articles on your research topic.  If you prefer a very comprehensive database (one-stop shopping) try SearchPlus or a comparable multidisciplinary database.  If that doesn't work you may have to use a more subject-specific database.  The MSU Library Home Page offers an A-Z list of databases which you can search by title, subject, or vendor.   If you wish, you can choose Criminal Justice under the Subject tab and review a very wide array of databases touching on this area.  For this class,  however, a list of suggested indexes follows.  Remember that as criminal justice  is an increasingly interdisciplinary area of inquiry, you may want to also try indexes from complementary subject areas.


SearchPlus pulls together a large number of databases (including the Library Catalog) into a unified search engine, increasing one's chances of finding results by keyword or phrase.  Whenever possible, links are provided directly to the online source identified.

So this is a great tool for undergraduates not knowing where to start.   It is also a good starting point for graduate students and faculty looking for materials outside their established silos.  Once you do a search; note how SearchPlus offers a large number of facets on the left side to refine your search.

SearchPlus is a starting tool.   Advanced researchers will still want to explore more deeply in specialized databases, particularly those that are not covered by SearchPlus.

Complete list of resources covered by SearchPlus

Alternative Multidisciplinary Tools:

  • ProQuest (all databases)
    Search across 78 different indexes from ProQuest at once, including the popular multidisciplinary ProQuest Research Library.
  • EBSCOHost
    Search across databases such as AgeLine, Family and Society Studies Worldwide, Social Science Full Text, etc.
  • Web of Science
    Indexes science, social sciences, and arts and humanities information from nearly 9,300 of the most prestigious, high impact research journals in the world. Note: you can restrict your search to the Science Citation Citation Index (1900 to date) , the Social Sciences Citation Index (1900 to date), or the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (1975 to date).  Click on settings tab at bottom. 

Google Scholar

Please keep in mind that Google Scholar does not index all available resources. You should go to Indexes specifically built for your subject/research area for best results.  However, if you are going to use Google Scholar anyway.....

  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. This tool searches across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations.

To ensure seamless access to MSU resource subscriptions from your home computer, please do the following:

  1. Before searching, click on "Scholar Preferences" to the right of the search box.
  2. In the Library Links field search for Michigan State University.
  3. Select Michigan State University - MSU Access.
  4. Do your search in Google Scholar.
  5. Click on the link for "MSU Access" that will appear to the right of the title of the resource.

You will then be prompted for your MSU NetID and password to access that resource.
Please note - if you click on the title and not the "MSU Access" link you won't be recognized as an MSU subscriber. "MSU Access" links will appear as long as you don't close your browser.
Library computers should automatically provide MSU Access links.

Basic Undergraduate Databases

Don't have much time? Undergraduates should concentrate on the following general purpose databases:

Expanded Academic ASAP 
Indexing: 1980 to date.
Description : Expanded Academic ASAP provides coverage of 3,000 indexed and 1,900 full-text titles in a wide variety of disciplines including: social science journals, humanities journals, science and technology journals, national news periodicals, general interest magazines, newswires, The New York Times and many others. More than 1,400 journals are peer reviewed, and more than 20 years of backfile coverage are included.
Choose Advanced Search for multiple boxes to work with.

JSTOR.  Searchable database of the full text of journals covering a wide array of academic topics including anthropology, Asian Studies, ecology, economics, education, finance, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, political science, population studies, and sociology.  Years available vary with each title, but the most recent issues available in JSTOR will normally be 4-5 years old due to embargoes from publishers.

Periodicals Archive Online (1770-1995) is a database of millions of articles published in the arts, humanities and social sciences, across more than 300 years, by Proquest. Covers more than 3,000 journals.

Project Muse.  Over six hundred journals from more than 240 not-for-profit, scholarly publishers are currently offered in Project Muse. Muse is a unique collaboration between the participating publishers and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at the Johns Hopkins University. Years available vary by journal.

Proquest Research Library (indexing: 1971 to date; full-text: 1991 to date).  Provides online access to an extensive collection of published material. You can search for information in thousands of different journals, periodicals, dissertations, newspapers, and magazines. Complete articles -- in full text, page image, or UMI's unique Text+Graphics format -- are available for many of the most popular and important sources. Provides full text coverage of over 400 journals. However, full text coverage varies by date from journal to journal.

Social Sciences Full Text (EBSCOHost)

Criminal Justice Specific Databases

Advanced undergraduates and graduate students should explore the following subject specific databases:

Criminal Justice via Proquest
Coverage: 1981 to date
Description: Formerly called Criminal Justice Periodicals Index or CJPI, this database provides cover-to-cover access for a select group of criminal justice journals frequently consulted by professionals, plus complete abstracts for additional titles.  Publications focus primarily on practical issues in crime prevention and deterrence, juvenile delinquency, police issues, and courtroom procedures, but users will find a number of highly respected theoretical journals as well. ProQuest's database is updated weekly for the most timely information on a number of issues concerning criminal justice professionals--issues like domestic violence, alternative sentencing, drug addiction and abuse, divorce and divorce settlements, forensic science, and more. Replaces print index which ceased in 1998.
List of journals covered.
Proquest doesn't always load properly on the first try; if you are prompted for id and password, go back and try again.
Unlimited access 

Criminal Justice Abstracts via EBSCO
Coverage: 1968 to date
Description: Contains hundreds of in-depth abstracts of current books, book chapters, journal articles, government reports, and dissertations published worldwide. Criminal Justice Abstracts also offers extensive coverage of new books from scholarly and commercial publishers and valuable reports from public and private agencies in many nations.

Criminology : A SAGE Full-Text Collection
Coverage: 1955 to date
Description: Provides full-text access to the following journals: Child Maltreatment, Crime & Delinquency, Crime, Media, Culture, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Criminal Justice Policy Review, Criminal Justice Review, European Journal of Criminology, Feminist Criminology, Homicide Studies, International Criminal Justice Review, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Police Quarterly, The Prison Journal, Probation Journal, Punishment & Society, Theoretical Criminology, Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, Violence Against Women , Youth Justice. In many cases, full text access is provided back to volume 1.
Unlimited access

NCJRS Abstracts Database via WEB
Coverage: 1968 to date
Description: The NCJRS Abstracts Database provides 100-200 word abstracts for more than 145,000 criminal justice publications.  Literature covered includes U.S. Federal, State and local government documents, books, journal articles, unpublished research reports, and program descriptions and evaluations, from the early 1970's up to the present. Currently 355 new items are added to the Database each month.  The Database on the Web will be updated twice monthly.
If you only want full text documents, select publications with full text.
Interlibrary loans are available for all items in the collection to U.S. and Canadian libraries.  On a standard ALA form, record the document title and NCJ number.   Fax the form to NCJRS at (301) 519-5212 or mail it to: NCJRS Library, PO Box 6000, Rockville, MD  20849-6000.  Include payment of $15.00 per title in the United States, $16.50 per title in Canada.  If you have additional questions, call  (301) 519-5063 for assistance.
However, be aware that the MSU Library used to purchase NCJRS microfiche reports before the arrival of the Internet; so you may want to check with the Hollander MakeCentral (formerly called Copy Center) to see if we have a microfiche copy under the call number HV6001 .N35.  Most of the NCJRS reports on microfiche are dated between 1981-1995.
Unlimited access

NCJRS Abstracts Database via Proquest 
This database covers literature related to research, policy and practice in criminal and juvenile justice and drug control. Search over 189,000 U.S. and international publications, including federal, state and local government reports, books, research reports, journal articles, audiovisual presentations and unpublished research.

Sociology Compass : Crime and Deviance
Wiley-Blackwell's Sociology Compass publishes peer-reviewed state-of-the-field articles on a continuous basis, with new articles appearing in each monthly issue. The ideal Compass article is an intervention in the field or sub-field, showing its present state and direction in the future. While our authors are leading researchers, we do not publish detailed primary research but rather an author’s position on the field or sub-field. As a Compass article must be accessible to international and interdisciplinary scholars, teachers, and interested readers, we call it research with a public face. Sociology Compass articles allow scholars and advanced students to: (1) keep up with new developments and trends in research, (2) teach in a new or unfamiliar area outside of their speciality, and (3) ensure that students are exposed only to quality-controlled online content (as opposed to unvalidated content from search engines). In addition, the journal also offers select Teaching & Learning Guides and a companion community site, Sociology Lens.

Specialized Criminal Justice Databases

Criminal Justice Gray Literature Database
Phyllis Schultze, Librarian, Don M. Gottfredson Library of Criminal Justice Rutgers University, started this database in April of 2010, and it currently has approximately 13,000 entries as of 2015. New entries are added on a daily basis.

Homeland Security Digital Library
The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) is the nation's premier collection of homeland security policy and strategy related documents. It supports local, state and federal analysis and decision-making needs and assists academics of all disciplines in homeland defense and security related research. It provides quick access to important U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents as well as specialized resources such as theses and reports from various universities, organizations and local and state agencies. The resources are reviewed and selected by a team of homeland security researchers and organized in a unique homeland security taxonomy. HSDL content includes state-of-the-art multi-media offerings and other valuable assets identified by CHDS master's degree participants and instructors. Courtesy of the Naval Postgraduate School.

In early 2012 the Foundation Center acquired IssueLab, then an independent online publishing forum and collection of 5000+ resources. Since then, it has worked to integrate IssueLab with PubHub, the Center's catalog of more than 7,000 annotated links to foundation-sponsored reports. The result is a unified platform that retains the name IssueLab and contains a wide range of case studies, white papers, evaluations, fact sheets, issue briefs, annual reports, and toolkits from the social sector.  Note:  Covers much more than crime, criminal justice, etc.; any report financed by a Foundation.

National Institute of Corrections Digital Resources Library
NIC's Digital Resources Library covers over 3,000 items, accessible online, that have been produced by NIC or other sources. You can use the search engine on the right or browse through categories.

Policing OnLine Information System (POLIS)
An online databasecreated by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe., consolidating various aspects of policing activities with the 56 OSCE Participating States into a comprehensive, multilingual resource. Includes profiles of each participating country, information about organized crime, and much more.

Restorative Justice Database via WEB
Created and maintained by the University of Toronto, Centre of Criminology Library, this database includes citations to academic and practitioner literature from 1970 to the present. It is updated and maintained on a regular basis and presently includes more than 1,400 records. You can search the database by keyword, by subject category, or by type of resource.

Sentencing Project : Race and Justice Clearinghouse
Welcome to the Race and Justice Clearinghouse, a resource for information, analysis, and commentary on race and ethnicity as they interact with the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems. The Clearinghouse contains information and tools for policymakers, practitioners, and advocates to understand racial disparities so they can be addressed, and make the criminal justice system more fair and effective. Courtesy of the Sentencing Project.

Transportation Research Information Database (TRID)
Created and maintained by the Northwestern University, Transportation Research Library, this database includes focuses primarily on highway safety issues. However, since many State Police/Highway Patrol units also focus on highway safety issues, this database may be of value to those interested in pulling up criminal justice, security, or highway safety information from the transportation literature.  Formerly called TRIS.

Need to Explore Further?

Since criminal justice topics are often multidisciplinary, you may want to search the following periodical indexes as well to find more information.

America, History and Life via EBSCO
Coverage: 1970 to date.
Provides access to articles, book reviews, and dissertations in American and Canadian history. Useful for finding information on historical figure/s like Billy the Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, Jessie James. Also try subject headings such as capital punishment; corrections; courts (federal); courts (state); crime and criminals; criminal justice; dna; evidence; firearms; hate crimes; juvenile courts; juvenile delinquency; murder; prisons; recidivism; sentencing; sexual harassment; victims
Access limited to 6 simultaneous users.  America History and Life is listed near the bottom of the list!

Anthropological Index of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Coverage: 1957 to date.
Excellent source for cross-cultural studies of crime, drug use, and violence.
Unlimited simultaneous users

Communication and Mass Media Complete from EBSCO
Coverage varies depending on the source; embargoes sometimes apply for the latest three months, year, etc.
Provides indexing and abstracting for more than 600 publications, and includes selected full-text coverage for more than 240 journals in communications, mass media, and related fields. Topics include (among many others) health communication, gender and communication, communication theory, and mass media.
No access restrictions

Historical Abstracts via EBSCO
Coverage: 1977 to date.
Provides access to historical articles for the Modern period (the present) for Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Latin America. Try subject headings such as: capital punishment; crime and criminals; criminal law; judicial administration; juvenile delinquency; murder; penal policy; penal reform; prisons.
Access limited to 6 simultaneous users.   Note: Historical Abstracts is listed near the bottom of the list!

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
Coverage: 1951 to date.
Indexes the information contained in over 2,600 social sciences journals and 6,000 books each year. Coverage includes both core and specialized material from over 100 countries in more than 90 languages. Approximately 70% of the records are in English, and articles in other languages are displayed with both the original language title as well as with an English translation. The comprehensive coverage provided in the database, while based on the core disciplines of anthropology, economics, political science and sociology, also reflects the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the social sciences. Courtesy of the London School of Economics and Political Science, British Library of Political and Economic Science.
Access limited to 1 simulataneous user

International Political Science Abstracts
Coverage: 1989 to date.
Produced by the International Political Science Association this bibliographic database indexes and abstracts periodical articles from around the world. Articles in English are abstracted in English; those in other languages are abstracted in French, with all titles translated into English. Useful for picking up articles about international crime activities such as organized crime, money laundering, terrorism, etc.
Access limited to 4 simultaneous users

Legal Periodicals Full Text (EBSCOHost)
Coverage: 1981 to date.
Provides thorough, reliable indexing of over 620 journals, yearbooks, institutes, bar association organs, law reviews and university publications from the U.S., Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. Covers all areas of jurisprudence, including court decisions, legislation, and original scholarship. Formerly called Index to Legal Periodicals
Unlimited access

LegalTrac (via Infotrac)
Coverage: 1980 to date.
Covers almost 1000 law reviews, journals, and newspapers.
Access limited to 2 simultaneous users

LexisNexis Academic. Provides access to full-text news, business, and legal publications, using a variety of flexible search options. One of the most heavily used databases in higher education,

Coverage: PAISArchive 1915-1976 & PAIS International 1972 to the present.
The PAIS International database contains references to more than 553,300 journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, publications of international agencies, microfiche, Internet material, and more. Newspapers and newsletters are not indexed. PAIS International includes publications from over 120 countries throughout the world. In addition to English, some of the indexed materials are published in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and other languages. This links also provides access to an enhanced subscription to the PAIS Archive. The PAIS Archive provides retrospective coverage of the PAIS Annual Cumulated Bulletin going back to 1915.
Unlimited access

Political Science Complete
Coverage: current.
Provides full text for over 500 publications, and cover-to-cover indexing and abstracts for more than 1995 journals. The database also features more than 189 full-text reference books and monographs, and over 27,000 full text conference papers, including those of the International Political Science Association.
Unlimited access

Proquest Congressional.Provides users with efficient, targeted access to the most comprehensive collection of historic and current  congressional information available anywhere online. This collection includes the full text of  congressional publications (including hearings, reports, and documents), finding aids, a bill tracking service, and the full text of public laws and other research materials to enable both novice and experienced researchers to complete many types of research projects using a single, user-friendly interface. Since Congress is interested in all public policy, social, and economic issues, the database is an effective source for general research in many academic disciplines, in addition to research related to specific legislative proposals and laws. Note: not everything identified in this database is available full-text; however with the citation we can track down the items for you.

Proquest Statistical Insight. Provides users with access to statistical publications of the US government, state governments, international organizations, and professional associations.

PsycInfo (including PsycArticles)
Coverage: 1887 to date.
Contains summaries of the world's journal literature, of dissertations and technical reports, and of English-language chapters and books in psychology and related disciplines. Covers over 1300 journals in over 30 languages from approximately 50 countries. No full text content within PsycInfo, but there are links to full text in other databases, including PsycARTICLES. Also includes psychology articles from related disciplines such as sociology, linguistics, education, medicine, law, physiology, business, psychiatry, and anthropology.
Limited access

PubMed via the Web
Coverage: current.
PubMed was developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). PubMed provides web access to bibliographic information, which is drawn primarily from MEDLINE, PreMEDLINE, HealthSTAR, as well as Publisher-Supplied citations. In addition, for electronically supplied journals that are indexed selectively for MEDLINE, and include articles unrelated to medicine or the life sciences, PubMed includes all articles from that journal, not just those that are included in MEDLINE. It is expected that access to additional NLM databases will be added in the future. Of potential use for Forensic Science, particularly in the areas of forensic biology, serology, DNA analysis, toxicology and forensic psychology/psychiatry.
Unlimited access

Readers' Guide Full Text (Plus Retrospective)
Coverage: 1983 to date.
Indexes general interest magazines and some scholarly journals.
Unlimited access

Science Citation Index via ISI Web of Knowledge
Coverage: 1899 to date.
The Science Citation Index is a multidisciplinary database, with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the sciences. It indexes 5,300 major journals across 164 scientific disciplines, covering approximately 2,000 more journals than its SCI print and CD-ROM counterparts, with all cited references captured. Note: To limit a search to Science Citation Index, click on button at bottom of screen.
Access limited to 20 simulataneous users

Social Science Citation Index via ISI Web of Knowledge
Coverage: 1956 to date.
The Social Sciences Citation Index is a multidisciplinary database, with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the social sciences. It indexes 1,700 journals spanning 50 disciplines, as well as covering individually selected, relevant items from over 3,300 of the world's leading scientific and technical journals.  To limit search to Social Sciences, click on  button at bottom of screen.
Access limited to 20 simultaneous users

Social Sciences Full Text 
Coverage: 1983 to date.
Covers some 350 core periodicals in the fields of anthropology, economics, geography, law and criminology, political science, social work, sociology, and international relations.
Unlimited access

Sociological Abstracts
Coverage: 1963 to date.
Indexes approximately 2300 journals in 30 different languages from 55 countries. Covers sociological topics in fields such as: aging; AIDS; alcohol and drug abuse; anthropology; cities; communications; counseling; crime; culture; death; demography; education; emergency response; ethics; gerontology; health; health care; industry; law; medicine; philosophy; planning; political science; psychiatry; psychology; public administration; public affairs; public health; rehabilitation; religion; welfare.
Limited access

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