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SOC 442: Analysis of the Justice System and Criminal Law (Professor Poole) [Spring 2021]

Scholarly Journal Articles


How do we know a source we've found is a scholarly journal article? Look for these clues:

  • written by scholars (with affiliations to universities or research institutions)
  • written for other scholars and students (and therefore difficult to read)
  • published in an academic journal with a peer-review process
    • Here are some examples:
      • Critical Sociology
      • Journal of Applied Sociology
      • American Sociological Review
  • structured format (abstract, introduction, etc...)
  • extensive references at the end

Most Useful

Also Useful

It's unlikely that you will find a lot of scholarship pertaining to a specific proposition, so do not use "Proposition #" as a keyword. Instead, review your propositions and search for articles that that critically analyze the aims and potential outcomes of such propositions.

Tips Examples
Use keywords, not long search phrases


Instead of searching for "How do risk assessments impact racial biases in the justice system?" break down your search into the main keywords:

pretrial risk assessment, racial bias, justice system

To get more focused results:

Use quotation marks (" ") to keep phrases together

Use AND to combine different keywords

"pretrial risk assessment" AND discrimination

To get broader results:

Use OR to combine similar/associated keywords

Truncate words that have a                          variety of endings with a *

("racial bias" or discrimination) AND "pretrial risk assessment")


racis* = racism, racist 

Look for ways to limit your search in the database You can often limit by type of article (scholarly and peer-reviewed) & year of publication