Criminology 101 (CRIM 101)

If you need help, please contact Yolanda Koscielski, Liaison Librarian for Criminology, Psychology & Philosophy at 778.782.3315 or or Ask a librarian.

Would you like a quick and efficient overview of SFU Library research skills? Try our interactive tutorial, Library research skills!

Scholarly journals

What Is A Scholarly Journal?

How to distinguish between scholarly and popular articles. Scholarly articles are also known as peer-reviewed or academic articles.

Getting started on your topic

Like Wikipedia, online library encyclopedias will provide you with a foundational overview of your topic before you start researching and writing. Unlike Wikipedia, online encyclopedia articles are consistently written, edited, and vetted by subject experts in the field, written with the academic researcher in mind.

Use encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries and other reference sources for:

  • an introduction to a new theory or other subject
  • discovering key ideas and authors
  • suggestions for further readings in books and articles

Online Reference Sources at SFU Library (all subjects)

Criminology Background Information Criminology-specific reference sources at SFU Library

From topic to researchable question

Before you start searching, it helps to clearly define your topic.

  1. Try to make sure your topic is neither too broad (for example: Young offenders in Canada) nor too narrow (for example: Young offenders tried in adult court for homicide crimes committed in Surrey). 
  2. Once you have defined your topic, try writing it out as a QUESTION; for example: Should young offenders who commit violent crimes in Canada be tried in adult court?
  3. Identify your KEY CONCEPTS, for example: Young offenders and adult court and Canada and violent crimes
  4. Make a list of RELATED TERMS for each concept that you can also try searching with to increase your results, for example, young offenders or juvenile delinquents or youth or teenagers

Research Concepts Worksheet Enter your keywords on this worksheet before you search the databases.


TIP: BOOLEAN OPERATORS allow you to combine terms to narrow or broaden your searches.

AND requires ALL terms to be found in search results
Example: Young offenders AND adult courts AND Canada

       OR requires ANY terms to be found in search results
       Example: Young offenders OR juvenile delinquents OR teenagers OR youth
       OR will bring more results; AND will bring less. Adjust accordingly.
Search tips for Google and Google Scholar

Literature Reviews

What is a Literature Review?

Read this guide for tips on literature reviews and how to write them.

Sources for Criminology articles

Search databases to find scholarly articles and more (e.g., government reports, newspaper articles,). Some databases are huge (Google), while others are smaller and more specific (Criminal Justice Abstracts).

Choose a Criminology-specific database for articles written from that disciplinary perspective. Depending on your topic, databases from other subjects such as Sociology or Psychology can be useful as well.

Criminology databases at SFU Library.

Top databases: Criminal Justice Abstracts and PsycINFO

Google Scholar Search Google through the library website to access our subscription journals, and avoid being prompted for payment.

Books can be readily found via the classic library catalogue.

Newspaper articles are available via our newspaper databases.

Using APA to cite your sources

It's important to cite your sources, so that:

  • Your reader can locate the sources you used for your paper
  • You give credit to the people whose research and ideas you used in your paper

APA style guides:

If the document you are trying to cite is not included in either of these APA guides, you should consult the latest edition of the APA Publication Manual. The official APA blog is particularly good for tricky citation questions:

Information about plagiarism and how to avoid it:

The Student Learning Commons has peer tutors available to help with writing your paper.

Research help

Ask a Librarian Feel free to contact a librarian.

SFU Library Research Tutorials Self-guided video and print tutorials