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SSI2-156: Justice, Arts, and Incarceration

Where do I search?

Selecting the best or most appropriate finding aid for identifying sources depends almost entirely on the context of your research assignment. There is no single database or web search interface that will work for every research context; instead, you'll need to match your specific research needs to a variety of options.

Library catalog searches (i.e., Primo) can be the better choice when you are seeking in-depth, book-length treatments of a topic.

Multidisciplinary databases (i.e., JSTOR) cover a wide variety of subject areas and may include a mix of popular and scholarly sources. They can be the most appropriate choice when you just want to get a sense of what's available on a topic and when it isn't so important that you pay attention to disciplinary lenses.

Subject databases (i.e., MLA International Bibliography) cover a specific discipline and provide the widest range of access to scholarly sources. They are used for in-depth research. Which subject databases you search will be determined by who may be writing about your topic. Recommended subject databases for each discipline can be found on the "articles" page in each library subject guide.

Searching Primo

Primo Search is used to find resources and materials in the Collins Library and Summit Libraries' collections (Summit items can be requested and will arrive here in 2-3 days). Find thousands of books, scholarly journal articles, streaming films, and more. Use the filters found on the right of your search results to refine your results by location, format, and many other criteria.

While most content from our subscribed databases is in Primo, not all of it is, so searching databases directly is still recommended in order to view everything available!

Search Collins+Summit+Articles

Multidisciplinary Databases

The databases listed below are examples of multidisciplinary finding tools.

Searching these databases is an excellent way to discover which disciplines have studied your topic, and get a sense of the different perspectives they bring to the topic.

Once you've explored some of these tools you may then want to search a subject specific database to get a more in-depth collection of materials related to your topic that come from that discipline.

Criminal Justice Databases and Resources

Practice: Comparing and Evaluating Search Tools

Choose a broad topic (no more than 2-3 concepts) and conduct a preliminary investigation into the topic using three different search tools: Primo, a multidisciplinary database, and a subject database.

Keep track of your results and respond to the following questions:

  • Search terms used
  • How many results did you get?
  • What are the subject terms for the various scholarly articles and books in your results?
  • Scan the first two pages of search results. List some aspects of your topic being discussed.
  • If you wanted to try to find additional relevant results, what other search terms might you try to use?
  • How can you get to the full text of articles?
  • How can you save an article for later or send it to yourself?
  • Are there any tools to help you cite articles?
  • Anything else interesting (or frustrating?) about the database?

Save an source from each of your searches that you might use in your upcoming paper.