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CRIM 250W : Research Methods in Criminal Justice

a guide to resources for CRIM 250W

Reading Tips

How to Read a Scholarly Article

This three page summary by Frederique Laubepin will be worth your time and effort to read.  It is concise with some excellent insight.

How to Read (and Understand) a Social Science Journal Article (only 3 pages).  By Frederique Laubepin Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2013.

All scholarly/peer review articles contain an abstract.

Definition: an abstract is a summary of the research article, often written by the author(s).

What does this mean for you?

  • Use the abstract to help you determine if you really want to spend the time reading the article and whether or not it is "in scope".
  • Use the abstract to help you think through how you want to summarize the content of the article. Caution: do not copy and paste the abstract into your annotated bibliography. This is called plagiarism.

Search strategy: look at the abstracts in the database [e.g., LionSearch, Sociological Abstracts, Criminal Justice Abstracts] before going to the full text of the article.

What about books?

Book reviews can be used the same way as abstracts. Note: this is not required for this specific assignment, but can be useful to know about in your professional and academic career.

Definition: book reviews are often journal articles written by authors who did not write the book and who can provide both critical and positive analysis. Reading more then one is important for gaining perspective.

Using the correct citation style

Your assignment requires that you use American Sociological Association (ASA) format.

Note: Subject databases like Sociological Abstracts and Criminal Justice Abstracts have a cite link that will allow you to see how to properly cite the article in ASA format.

ASA Format Example:

Tewksbury, Richard,  Wesley G. Jennings, and Kristen M. Zgoba. 2012. “A Longitudinal Examination of Sex Offender Recidivism Prior to and Following the Implementation of SORN.” Behavioral Sciences and the Law 30: 308–328.