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ARCHIVED: Criminal Justice Resources: Tips for Criminal Justice Graduate Students

Tips for Criminal Justice Graduate Students

Top Reasons for Criminal Justice Graduate Students to Use the MSU Libraries

The MSU Libraries exist to support your research activities, both in locating and using information AND in supplying spaces and equipment for doing your work. At MSU, the Main Library is the place for locating criminal justice resources. While the libraries have been collecting print materials for over 150 years, we currently spend approximately 70% of our budget on Internet-accessible materials; these items are almost always available from any Internet computer in the Main Library or any of the branches. You can also access them from your wireless laptop, on or off campus, as long as you remember your MSU NetID and password.

  • The MSU Library is now offering a new discovery interface called SearchPlusIt is designed to pull together resources from a wide variety of resources for students just starting their research.   It is not exhaustive but it may provide some surprises to see how many different areas may contain research related to your topic.  Note that once you do a simple search, you can use the facets on the left side to refine your search.   SearchPlus may find a huge number of resources on basic concepts, but will only display the first 200 results. 
  • A designated librarian to assist you with your criminal justice research: Jon Harrison
  • A Research Guide designed specifically for criminal justice students  Other course, getting started, and research guides can be located at
  • Finding lists of articles from scholarly journals. Try the resources listed under the finding articles tab of the Criminal Justice Resources Research Guide.  If  you are totally dedicated to Google, at least use Google Scholar since it tries to link you to all the full text resources our library pays for.  Note there is a set of instructions called How do I access MSU Library resources when using Google Scholar? available under Off Campus Resources.
  • BrowZine is a free application from Third Iron that allows users to browse, read, and monitor journals available through the MSU Libraries via their favorite tablet.  Create your own bookshelf of your favorite criminal justice journals (92 currently available), read articles at your own convenience, get alerts when new issues are released, share links with others, etc.   Note:  A web application has also been developed.  Also see How to Use BrowZine.
  • Finding Full Text Theses and Dissertations. The MSU Libraries has always made a point of collecting all MSU master’s theses and doctoral dissertations that are available. Some of you may want to use our library catalog to identify historical print and microfilm copies. However, the MSU Library now provides electronic access to not only MSU master’s theses and doctoral dissertations, but also for thousands of other colleges and universities collected by ProQuest since around 1997 or so. Some electronic theses and dissertations are available before that date, but that depends on the particular school and whether they supply a copy to ProQuest. Abstracts identifying older theses and dissertations back to 1861 are also listed. Check out ProQuest Dissertations and Theses and MSU Electronic Dissertations and Theses.
  • Data and Data Services.  We subscribe to a number of data services providing downloadable and mapable data from the government, international, and private sources. Our Data Services unit can help you track down the data you need and provide advice on preserving your data generated from grant projects.
  • Quick Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery. The MSU Libraries participates in numerous cooperative ventures for obtaining articles and other resources not owned by MSU. Check out the Request Non-MSU Materials web page for a list of options. There is no additional cost for requesting items not held by the MSU Libraries; your tuition dollars help subsidize this service.
  • Need an article from a print journal or a chapter from a print book? Graduate students can also request that articles or chapters from print items in the Main Library be scanned and forwarded to their library accounts! For more information, check out MARS (the MSU Article Retrieval System). Note: this service usually takes two to three working days (Monday-Friday).
  • Citation Assistance and Management. In addition to providing a page on creating citations the library offers workshops on popular citation management packages such as EndNote, EndNote Web, Mendelay, and Zotero. Check for a current list of training opportunities.
  • Support for distance learning, connection snafus, or D2L troubles. The Libraries Distance Learning Services picks up the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you with any connection or D2L problems. Call 517-355-2345 or 800-500-1554 or send an e-mail to For more information, check out the Distance Learning Services web page 
  • Special equipment. 500 computer lab-type computers all loaded with standard software. Building-wide wireless connections.
  • A dedicated Hollander MakeCentral on 2-West where you can purchase basic office supplies, make copies, scan items, print posters, print books on demand, and locate Reserve materials for classes.  Other special equipment includes an Espresso Book Machine and a 3D Printer.
  • Collaborative Technology Labs where you can work together on group projects with access to a variety of online tools, such as computers, whiteboards, video cameras. Check out for more information.
  • Numerous study carrels are located throughout the building. If you want a quiet space, try the East Side of the building. Graduate students can also request keys for lockers.
  • The Digital and Multimedia Center offers thousands of DVDs, VHS tapes, and voice recordings; most can be checked out for two weeks if not reserved for a class.   Check out the tabs at the top of this page for a listing of criminal justice documentaries and feature films. The library has also started providing access to Streaming Video. Check out collections such as Criminal Justice and Public Safety in Video and the Filmakers Library Online.  And quite recently we have recently added over 1 million movie, music, and computer DVDs as part of the ROVI Collection.
  • MSU Map Library.  Located on 3 West.  The Map Librarian, Kathleen Weessies, can help you with your spatial resource needs, including digitizing maps or saving data files.  We also have just hired a GIS Librarian, Amanda Tickner, to help provide additional GIS Services.
  • The MSU Writing Center offers a satellite location in the Main Library. Assists with your writing, editing, grammar, citing references, and more. Open from 3:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. Sundays - Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters. Check to make an appointment.
  • Open 24/7. Well almost. Check our hours info to find out when the library is closed (Labor Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Saturday and Sunday mornings, etc.)
  • A Cybercafe. Where else can one find something quick to drink or eat while studying in the Main Library?
  • Feel like you’ve been oriented to death? Our “Ask a Librarian” web page will provide numerous options, from web chat, to instant messaging, to email, to phone, to making appointments with subject librarians, and listing hours when our reference desk and other service points are open for business.  


Jon Harrison

Social Sciences Collections Coordinator


Subject Guide

Carin Graves's picture
Carin Graves
Michigan State University