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Criminal Justice: Source Types: Peer-reviewed & Scholarly & more

Trade Journals

Trade journals provide articles and data that are written by – and for – people within a particular field or industry.  The only "reviewer" for the articles is often the editor/editorial staff and sometimes other professionals in the field; but rarely are articles judged on their scientific merit. Useful for information related to current practices and examples of various programs being used by criminal justice agencies. Look for publications with "digest" or "news" in the title.

Use the databases listed under Find Articles to locate articles in these sources.

Examples:

Scholarly or professional journals

Scholarly and professional journals are written by experts in a particular field or subject area and provide the highest level authoritative content.  Not all scholarly journals go through the peer review process.  The word "journal" in a title DOES NOT guarantee that a source is a scholarly journal. 

Use the databases listed under Find Articles to locate articles in these sources.

Examples:

Peer Reviewed

A peer reviewed (or refereed) article has been read, evaluated, and approved for publication by scholars with expertise and knowledge related to the article’s subjects and contents. This process helps insure that articles provide accurate, verifiable, and valuable contributions to a field of study.

  • The peer-review process is anonymous, to prevent personal biases and favoritism from affecting the outcomes.  Reviewers read manuscripts that omit the names of the author(s).  When the reviewers’ feedback is given to the author(s), the reviewers’ names are omitted.
  • Editors of journals select reviewers who are experts in the subjects addressed in the article.  Reviewers consider the clarity and validity of the research and whether it offers original and important knowledge to a particular field of study.
  • Because an article is scholarly (written and published primarily for a scholarly audience) DOES NOT necessarily mean that it is peer reviewed.

Remember, just because a journal is peer reviewed does not guarantee that all articles in it are included in the peer review process. Some article types, such as news items, editorials and book and article reviews, may not be peer reviewed.

See "How do I know if an article is peer reviewed?" for additional tips. 

Use the databases listed under Find Articles to locate articles in these sources.

Examples:

Government Publications

The U.S. Government is a major producer of criminal justice information and statistics. Most federal criminal justice publications are produced by various divisions of the Justice Department. Other federal agencies, though, also produce publications useful to criminal justice students and scholars.

Use an internet search engine like Google to find these sources.  To limit to government publications in Google, add to your search:  site:.gov     Example: prison health site:.gov

You can also use a government search engine like USA.gov.

Examples:

Popular Magazines and Newspapers

Popular magazines are written for a general audience, and usually do not contain abstracts, footnotes, bibliographies, etc.

Use a general database like Academic search complete   to find articles in these sources. 

Examples: