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Black ' Law Dictionary. defines more than 55,000 law-related words and phrases, recording their historical and present-day nuances.
What is wrong with using Wikipedia?
Nothing is wrong with using Wikipedia as long as you understand its limitations, particularly as it relates to academic research. Information on Wikipedia is contributed freely by anyone who wants to post information without any consideration for the authority or credibility of the author.
Does this mean that all of the information on Wikipedia is inaccurate? No, it simply means that you need to be more cautious about the information and recognize that this is a dynamic resource that changes overtime. Consequently, it is not good practice to cite Wikipedia entries in academic research, but Wikipedia can be a great resource as you begin to explore a topic, or to settle a bet with your roommate.
What other choices do you have? How do you evaluate encyclopedias?
The University Libraries provide access to many specialized encyclopedias in a variety of fields of study. However, you should also be prepared to evaluate each for their scholarly value. Below are some suggestions of what to look for:
Helpful Resources and Hints for Finding Articles in Encyclopedias
Video: Gale Virtual Reference is a collection of over 1000 scholarly and general reference resources. This video will demonstrate how to find articles using the topic "fertility rates." Showing you how to:
Limit your search
Expand your search
Point out some of the important features of an article to keep in mind
Explore information about the encyclopedia
Demonstrate how to cite the article using APA.
EL Lesson 3: Library Search Gale Virtual Reference Video Transcript (Links to an external site.)
Often times a particular topic gains ongoing scholarly interest that attracts the interest of a publisher or research organization. Authors who are known in the particular field of study are often asked to contribute chapters or to provide editorial oversight for these types of publications. Handbooks can provide a useful overview of the topic and help you identify some of the "movers and shakers" in that particular area of research.
Video: Using LionSearch for Discovering Handbooks. LionSearch allows you to search multiple databases at one time. This video will demonstrate how to find articles from scholarly handbooks using the topic "poverty rates." Showing you how to:
EL Lesson 3: Using LionSearch for Handbooks Video Transcript (Links to an external site.)
QUICK SEARCH TIP FROM THE VIDEO: use the advance search in the resource LIONSEARCH Type in the search terms you are looking for. For example: population and poverty levels. In the next search box, but in the term "handbook" and change it from ALL FIELDS to TITLE.
Collection of Useful Titles
What is a review journal? A review journal in academic publishing is an academic journal devoted to the review of progress of empirical research in some particular area or topic during a preceding period often through the means of its publishing review articles.
IMPORTANT TIP: when you browse a particular journal online, the publisher will often designate whether or not the publication is a review article, editorial or research article. If you discover an article using a search engine or library database and have doubts. Sometimes browsing the journal will help you determine how it is designated by the publisher.
EXPLORE: if you want to explore some journals click on the link to see a list of CORE journal for criminology and criminal justice.