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SOC 438: Cross-National Crime: Getting Started

Guide to selected print and online resources for students studying comparative criminology.

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Why use this guide?

This research guide is for students in Sociology 438, Cross National Crime.  It is designed to help you identify, analyze, and choose scholarly information sources, including  books and peer-reviewed journal articles.  This guide concentrates on electronic resources, especially those commercial databases that index and abstract scholarly literature dealing with many different topics. In many cases, links to the full-text of the article, chapter, paper, or even the entire book are also provided. Whatever the resource, the assumption is that it has gone through review processes designed to assure that it meets academic publishing standards.

There is also a growing amount of current, reputable information on the WWW freely available and of interest to sociology scholars.  This guide includes some hints for effectively searching on the WWW and evaluating the information you find there.

Planning Your Research

If you need to review the steps in the research process, click on the link below. 

Research 101

Peer Reviewed Sources-Hunh?

 The process by which an academic journal passes a paper submitted for publication to independent experts for comments on its suitability and worth; refereeing.

1975 New Eng. Jrnl. Med. 25 Dec. 1372/1 In many departments of this Journal..the reader will find reports that have passed the muster of peer review. Usually two, but occasionally three or four, experts on the topic of an article will be asked to evaluate its validity, originality and presentation.
1977 Nature 20 Jan. 203/3 Publishing a book is a way of avoiding peer review.
1996 Spectator 31 Aug. 20/1 This process of peer review is designed to weed out glitchy papers, and it generally works rather well.
"peer review, n.". OED Online. December 2012. Oxford University Press. (accessed February 18, 2013).

Some article databases lump scholarly/academic/peer reviewed journals together.  However, others filter the peer reviewed from the scholarly.  In general not all scholarly journals are peer reviewed but it is probably safe to assume that all peer reviewed journals are scholarly. 
Books do not usually go through the same rigorous peer review process as do articles.  However, scholarly books can be differentiated from others by considering a book in light of some of the same characteristics that describe scholarly articles. In general a scholarly book will
  •  Be written by a scholar/researcher (expert) in the subject area
  •  Contain sources of information cited in footnotes/bibliography
  •  Use the language/terminology of the discipline to discuss research/findings
  •  Target an audience of other scholars in the field
  •  Be published by university presses (Oxford University Press, University Press of Kentucky), professional organizations (American Sociological Society, American Historical Society) or by reputable scholarly publishers (Sage, Wiley, Blackwell).

Examining a book you choose from UK Libraries in light of these characteristics will enable you to determine whether it meets the scholarly parameters of your assignment. 

Reference and Information Services

Roxanna Jones
William T. Young Library

(859) 218-1324

Responsibilities: General Reference, Information Literacy and Library Instruction, Reference Collection Management, Academic Liaison for Social Work
Subjects:Social Work