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Law and Justice Policy Studies

Seven Steps to Effective Research

These steps outline a simple and effective strategy for conducting your research. We are ready to help you at every step in your research.

  • Identify and Develop Your Topic
  • Find the Context: Background Information on Your Topic
  • Find Books
  • Find Periodical Articles
  • Find Video and Sound Recordings  
  • Evaluate What You Find
  • Cite What You Find

Research Worksheets

Make a list or use the Keyword Chart to keep track of keywords related to your topic. Keep it by your side when you start your research.

Broad Database Searching

Using a  broad search like "crime" or "violence" when trying to select a topic and will help you get a sense of some of the many ways scholars  have approached an issue.

Break Up the Topic

Think about how you can break your search topic into different aspects. Search for these aspects separately or in combination.  

Think of alternative and related terms to use  so that you don't miss anything.

Topic Overview

Reference and background resources can be a good place to go to learn about the current issues surrounding a topic.

Browse Encyclopedias

Follow Paths

Let one good book or article lead you to others. Scholarly publications  almost always have bibliographies or lists of works cited. If the original  source is useful to you, works used by the author may be valuable, too.

You can also see how a particular  book are article is categorized and look for other works in that category.