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Online reference sources
Online references sources provide basic information and context around your research topic. They are a useful place to start when looking for biographical information and introductions to Criminological theories.
- Crimes of the Centuries (2016) [online]
- The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers [ print or online]
- Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime [print or online]
- Encyclopedia of Crime & Justice [print or online]
- Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory [print or online]
- Gale Criminology Subcollection: access multiple online reference sources via a single search
- Murder Cases of the 20th Century: biographies and bibliographies of 280 convicted or accused killers
- Sage eReference Collection: includes a criminology package, select ‘Criminology & Criminal Justice’ from the subject list
In the sources above, look for topics such as:
- Aggression: Psychological Theories
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Motives for Murder
- Psychological Theories of Criminal Behavior
- Psychosocial Risk Factors for Violent Behavior
- Violent Behavior: Psychological Theories
You can search the library catalogue to find books on your topic. You can use the word ‘and’ to combine search terms: ‘murder and profiling’ for example.
Once you find a book that meets your needs, take a look at the subject heading links in the catalogue record below the location and status information. These links will list other books on the same topic. Below are some example subject headings that may be of use in your research.
- Serial Murders
- Serial Murderers
- Serial Murderers -- Psychology
- Sex Crimes -- Psychological Aspects
- White collar crimes
- Women Serial Murderers
- Criminals -- United States -- Biography (note: this subject heading covers some criminals who are not serial killers)
While there may not be a whole book about your assigned criminal, you may find a book chapter within a broader-themed book that treats your criminal in detail.
Articles in academic journals are a valuable source of information. We suggest some Criminology databases below; see also other Criminology databases, or browse the alphabetical list of all databases.
- Narrow your search using the word 'and'. A search for "dental records" and murder will bring back only articles that match both of those keywords, for example.
- Combine your search terms using the word 'or' to bring back articles with either term. This technique is good for searching synonyms. Place your synonyms, separated by the word 'or', in-between brackets to avoid getting irrelevant results. Example: "serial murder" and (child or children or youth or teenager)
- Use quotation marks to find an exact phrase like "multiple personality disorder" or "Henry Lee Lucas".
- Try searching for name variants of your criminal's name
- As you search, modify your search terms and look for interesting keywords in article titles and abstracts you read.
Criminal Justice Abstracts
Covers crime trends, crime prevention and deterrence, juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, police, courts, punishment and sentencing.
PsycINFO is the core database for research in Psychology, providing article citations for over 1300 journals.
DSM-V: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [online]. The standard diagnostic tool used by mental health professionals.
Unique sources recommended for Crim 103
Videomatica Collection: SFU Library acquired over 2000 documentaries when the popular video store Videomatica closed. There are a number on serial murder and serial murderers.
Public Libraries such as Burnaby Public Library and Vancouver Public Library often have large collections of biography and true crime books on serial killers. Keep in mind most of these sources are not considered academic. Nevertheless, these may be the only source of biographical information available. Public library collections are often in high demand, so be sure to look early and place holds if necessary. You can request books from other libraries via interlibrary loan. It's also worth checking if Google Books provides full or partial access to a book you are looking for.
Websites: be particularly careful using information found on the web or via Google. The topic of serial murder has a great deal of biased, inaccurate, out of date, and misleading websites devoted to it. For more information, see Internet research: Finding and evaluating resources. Wikipedia's References section may be particular useful for tracking down non-scholarly information for this assignment.
Oxford Bibliographies Online Lists core readings on a wide range of Criminological Theories, such as Institutional Anomie Theory.
Graduate theses and dissertations may contain uniquely in-depth information on your criminal. You can search the theses of thousands of universities, including SFU, using the database, Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index. Be sure to check out the bibliography for ideas on further resources.
Newspaper articles can be an excellent source for factual, background information. Newspaper articles may also provide important coverage of court proceedings and criminal sentences not necessarily available in case law.
Full-text articles in major Canadian and small market BC newspapers
Canadian newspapers, newswires, newsmagazines, as well as television and radio transcripts
Globe & Mail Canada's Heritage from 1844
Full-text of The Globe & Mail newspaper from 1844-2001
U.S. and World News
Historical New York Times
Full-text of The New York Times newspaper from 1851 - 3 years ago
Full-text access to thousands of news sources from 1951 on.
For more sources, see the Library guide to News resources.
- Criminal Justice
- International Criminal Justice Review
- The Forensic Examiner
- Homicide Studies
- Journal of investigative psychology and offender profiling
- Journal of police and criminal psychology