Criminology 459 (CRIM 459) - Organized Crime: Library Research Guide (Spring 2019)

Welcome!  This course assignment guide outlines potential resources for your assignment. If you need further help, please contact Yolanda Koscielski, or Ask a librarian through our various service points, including online chat.

Journal articles

For searching tips, please see our Library Guide: How to find journal articles

Academic journal articles on organized crime can be found in both the library's catalogue, as well as subject-specific databases for Criminology.

Subject-specific databases

Subject-specific databases offer you more control and precision in your searches. These databases will also contain articles that are not necessarily listed in the library's catalogue, as the catalogue is not comprehensive.

The catalogue will provide a much broader search - scanning millions of records. This is particularly useful when searching for unique terms and proper names across multiple sources, such as the names of particular gangs. However, you may receive an overwhelming number of search hits, and it may be more challenging to obtain relevant results.

In many cases, it is therefore recommended that you use both the catalogue (and other large databases such as Google Scholar) and subject-specific databases for your research. 

This is one of the extremely rare current journals that is only available in print! The entire journal archive starting from 1993 can be found on the 6th floor of the Burnaby W.A.C. Bennett Library. Journals are organized on the library shelves by journal title (no call number required).Image of a a bound print journal

About: "The Journal of Gang Research is an interdisciplinary journal and it is the official publication of the National Gang Crime Research Center (NGCRC). It is a peer-reviewed quarterly professional journal and the editors are well-known gang researchers or gang experts."

  • Articles are specialized on gang research, and some focus on Canadian topics. For instance, one 2018 issues features an article about girlfriends of gang members in British Columbia.
  • The Journal of Gang Research's basic webpage lists the table of contents for all published issues (scroll to mid-page of the website), so you can do a quick scan to see what articles are published.
  • Alternatively, the journal's contents are indexed online in several databases. For instance, you can use PsycINFO to search for articles within the journal, then write the issue number and year to track down the article in the library.
    • To search within the Journal of Gang Research (see image below):
      1. Go to PsycINFO, and enter the "Journal of Gang Research" as your search term
      2. Select the "SO publication Name" from the adjacent drop-down box.
      3. Optionally, enter a keyword in the next search box. 
      4. Note that very new articles (2018+) do not appear to be indexed yet. 
  • Note: if you do not regularly visit the Burnaby library in-person, you can request that a scanned copy of an article in the journal be sent to you via Library's Post-to-Web service.

Screenshot of the PsycINFO database, highlighting the ability to search within a specific journal (example: journal of gang research).

Books and encyclopedias 



Encyclopedias contain useful overviews of organized crime topics written by academics or other experts in the field.

Books may contain in-depth chapters on your topic, and point you to further journal articles from their bibliographies. 

Both can be found by searching in the library catalogue.


A unique and reputable resource which features in-depth entries on Criminology topics, with lists of key readings under each sub-topic. Entries for other subjects modules, such as Cinema and Media studies, may be of interest as well (e.g., the entry, Gangster Films) . 

  • Sample Criminology Module entries:
    • Cybercrime
    • Gangs, peers, and co-offending
    • Organized crime
    • Transnational crime

Policy papers

Canadian Electronic Library: Canadian health and public policy documents, curated in one portal. 

Many government websites contain policy papers and useful reports, some of which are not indexed in search engines. Try a keyword search such as "gang" or "organized crime" on these websites. Examples:


SFU Library provides access to numerous news and media databases. You can use these to review how a crime was covered in the news media.

Top news and media sources for Canadian content:

  • Canadian Newsstream - Full text access to major Canadian daily newspapers (such as the Globe and Mail, National Post, The Gazette (Montreal), and Vancouver Sun) as well as small market newspapers and weeklies published in Canada.
  • CBCA Complete - Comprehensive Canadian periodical collection for reference and current events, including newspapers and magazines.
  • Maclean's Magazine Archive (1905-2015): Archives of this current affairs news magazine.

Top news sources for international content: 

  • Factiva - includes newspapers and news wires.
  • ​Nexis Uni - International news coverage from early 1970's to present. Content is strongly American with significant coverage of Canadian and international topics.

See our in-depth guide: Media literature review guide: How to conduct a literature review of news sources