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Key Criminal Justice Resources

When starting a new research project it helps to get ideas for a topic or to find definitions and summary information on this topic when beginning your research. Good places to look for this information are subject-specific dictionaries and encyclopedias. Encyclopedias are also good places to find out about the major scholars in a particular field as well as any major writings on the subjects. Luckily for those studying criminal justice, Dewey Library has two exceptional encyclopedias on the subject: the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice and the Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment.

The current edition of the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice is the second edition. This edition has been largely rewritten from the first edition. The essays were written by respected scholars and include a list of related topics as well as a bibliography. Many of the essays also include a list of leading court cases. Although the focus is on the United States there are a number of essays that deal with international issues. This encyclopedia also includes a glossary, a legal index containing a table of cases and other cited legal documents, as well as a general index for all four volumes.

The Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice can be found with the reference books upstairs in Dewey Library at Reference HV 6017 E52 2002. It also can be found online.

The Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment is a new reference source. This encyclopedia comes in four volumes with 430 signed essays. Each essay also includes a list of related topics as well as a section suggesting sources for further reading. This reference source is written in a manner that makes it easy to browse and useful for the beginning student of criminal justice.

Another useful aspect to this reference source is that each volume has its own appendix. The topics contained in these four appendices are: 'Careers in Criminal Justice', 'Web Resources', 'Professional and Scholarly Organizations', and a 'Selected Bibliography'. The fourth volume also contains a chronology of events in criminal justice from 1795 B.C.E. to the present.

In summary, the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice is focused more on criminology (the study of crime as a social phenomenon) while the Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment is more focused on criminal justice (the study of all crime and societies reaction to it). As such, the Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment is more practical and useful for the beginning student while the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice is more theoretical and useful for the advanced student.

So, when searching for ideas or for a place to start your research in criminal justice, make your first stop be one or both of the above encyclopedias.


Blog post created by Judith Mueller