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Criminal Justice: Reference Resources

Reference Resources

The encyclopedia is the place where a researcher comes to access a broad overview and general description of a particular subject (Cassell 73).  The original intent of the encyclopedia was to provide a concise and easy to understand overview of "all areas of cumulative human activity" (Cassell 73).  With the advent of the internet, the impracticality of print encyclopedias has led to a plethora of online reference resources and subject specific encyclopedias that carry on the torch of providing "succinct, user-friendly information" but in a digital format that allows the encyclopedia to continue to provide "the authority of the past even as they capture the immediacy of ongoing current events" (Cassell 73).    

The encyclopedias listed below are considered specialized subject encyclopedias (Cassell 87). They focus on a particular subject area, such as corrections, criminal justice ethics, or street crime, and provide insight through the lens of that particularly field of study.  These works supply "relatively in-depth information on a highly specific topic" (Cassell 87).   

Encyclopedias are arranged alphabetically by subject term so knowing what topic you are searching for aids in the usefulness of this resource.  

Cassell, Kay Ann, and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services. American Library Association, 2013.


 

Dictionaries serve one primary purpose, to provide the meaning of words (Cassell 121).  They also provide users with each word's "usage, pronunciation, grammatical provenance, and syllabication" (Cassell 121).  While a general dictionary is able to provide broad definitions of words, a subject or discipline specific dictionary is able to convey a word's meaning within a specialized area of interest (Cassell 132).  This specificity is important in understanding the nuances of any concentrated field of study.     

Dictionaries are arranged alphabetically by term so knowing what word you are searching for aids in the usefulness of this resource.  

Cassell, Kay Ann, and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services. American Library Association, 2013.

Handbooks are reference books that focus on a concentrated field of study (Lamb).  Unlike encyclopedias and dictionaries that are arranged alphabetically, handbooks are typically arranged by subject which makes browsing them more informative and researcher friendly (Lamb).

Lamb, Annette. "Reference Sources." Advanced Information Sources Cluster, 2017, http://eduscapes.com/cluster/4.htm. Accessed 12 Jun 2018.


 

Many helpful resources can be found in our databases which are reference specific.  The following three databases "contain background and general information about topics through providing access to a wide range of reference books and other electronic materials" (Lamb).  Browse your topic in the following databases to see what other useful resources are available to you for your research and study.

Lamb, Annette. "Reference Sources." Advanced Information Sources Cluster, 2017, http://eduscapes.com/cluster/4.htm. Accessed 12 Jun 2018.