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Program & Class Guides: Criminal Justice

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Resources for Criminal Justice

The Nicolet College Library has many resources, both physical and digital, available for use by students, staff and faculty, or anyone who has an interest. Find out more about the different types of resources offered at Nicolet College Library, and how these types of resources are used in the research process, here

Regardless of the type of resource you use, it is important to evaluate the information to determine if it is reliable and appropriate for use in your research. Click here to learn more about what to look for to find good sources. Below is a brief overview.

Photo of library shelves through leaves of a plant1. Consider whether the source is non-fiction or fiction.

A non-fiction (factual/not creative) source is generally preferred in a research paper. Typically, a traditionally published non-fiction source such as a book, documentary, or article goes through a rigorous vetting process before it is published.

It is not usually advisable to use a fictional (created from imagination) source in a research paper except for limited purposes, such as illustrating a point.

2. Consider the topic.

Many topics are considered non-fiction, but the scientific community generally does not consider them valid at this point in time, such as paranormal/parapsychology topics, anti-vaxxing, climate change denial, etc. Talk to your instructor before going any further in the research process if your topic might be of this type.

3. Consider all of the following:

  • Currency: Generally, newer sources are preferable: Within 3-5 years for scientific/technical areas; last 10 years for literature/humanities type areas. Determine the age of the source and whether there have been recent developments since then. For websites, look for indicators that they are kept updated and current, or for indicators that they aren’t. 
  • Reliability: Examine resources for evidence of thorough research and/or demonstrated expertise. Do a surface evaluation of cited sources for apparent credibility. Be extremely skeptical of any source with no cited sources. Determine the publisher. Self-published sources typically lack the vetting process that gives scholarly credibility. For websites, see below for a table of website extensions and the associated level of reliability.Photo of student reading on patio by lake
  • Authorship: Determine the author/creator of the resource. Authors can be individuals or organizations.

Learn the author’s credentials. Determine if they have demonstrated expertise and their reputation in the field, and/or if they are affiliated with a reputable organization or institution. For websites, look for an "about us" page, contact information, and an indication of the mission of the organization. Be extremely skeptical of any source if you can’t determine the author.

  • Purpose: Determine if the resource was created to provide impartial information, or if was it created to inflame emotions or sell a product. If the resource or website was created for any purpose other than to inform, be skeptical about using it as a source.

If your source is a website, the first thing to do is look at the extension to see what type of site it is:

Most Reliable

.gov: US government, also many US state, county and city governments
.mil: US Military
.us: Formerly state, county and city governments, some may still exist
.ca, .uk, etc.: Other country sites, some may belong to government, some may contain a commercial aspect. Even if it is a government, remember that government is talking to its citizens, not to Americans. For example, Canadian laws apply to Canada and Canadian citizens, but not to the US

Fairly Reliable.

But be cautious.

.edu: Must belong to an education institution. Some .edu sites will provide access to quality research information. However, they may also provide things like student blogs. Also, sites may appear live but belong to defunct schools.

.org: These are supposed to belong to organizations, but in actuality, anyone can get a .org site. Be very skeptical if you’ve never, ever heard of the organization before. There are many reputable organizations that sponsor quality research. But remember, EVERY organization has a goal. Make sure you keep that in mind as you look at the information.

Could be good.

Could be bad. 

All of these are commercial websites. That doesn't necessarily mean they are bad…or good. Do a thorough evaluation before using information from these sites:

.com, .net, .biz, .tv, .co, .info, .games, .mobi

.xxx (DO NOT EVER, ever, ever use a .xxx site in a paper. Never. Ever.)

Click here to learn more about what should you look for to find good sources.

Nicolet College Library subscribes to approximately 80 databases, including several ebook databases. These databases are available for anyone on the Nicolet College campus to use by simply clicking on the database link.

Off-campus access is only available to Nicolet College students, staff and faculty. Log in is typically the first part of a Nicolet e-mail address (up to but not including @) and the corresponding password. Click here for more information about logging in and troubleshooting off campus access issues.

Find ebooks in these databases:

Ebook Central including College Collection (fka Ebrary)Some of the titles available are:

Ebook Central contains hundreds of thousands of immediately available books, and more are available as demand driven items, which may be available for loan or purchase. If you need assistance accessing demand driven items, please contact the library.

Ebsco Academic Ebook. This collection offers nearly 250,000 books. Some of the titles available are:

Overdrive. This frequently updated collection offers ebooks, audiobooks, and video. Some of the titles available are:

Nicolet College Library subscribes to approximately 80 databases, including several emedia databases. These databases are available for anyone on the Nicolet College campus to use by simply clicking on the database link.

Off-campus access is only available to Nicolet College students, staff and faculty. Log in is typically the first part of a Nicolet e-mail address (up to but not including @) and the corresponding password. Click here for more information about logging in and troubleshooting off campus access issues.

Find emedia in these databases:

Films on DemandThis collection contains many thousands of academic and non-fiction videos, both segments and full length titles, but contains no feature films. Some of the titles available are:

AVON (Academic Video Online). This collection offers more than 70,000 films, both non-fiction and fiction, that relate in some way to this topic. If you are required to use a non-fiction resource for your project, please confirm that you are not selecting a feature film. Some of the titles available are:

Kanopy. This collection offers thousands of films, both non-fiction and fiction. If you are required to use a non-fiction resource for your project, please confirm that you are not selecting a feature film.  Some of the titles available are:

Additional emedia can be found in these databases. Please note that some of these databases contain feature films.

Photo of deck at Lakeside Center with lake and trees in backgroundNicolet College Library subscribes to approximately 80 databases. These databases are available for anyone on the Nicolet College campus to use by simply clicking on the database link.

Off-campus access is only available to Nicolet College students, staff and faculty. Log in is typically the first part of a Nicolet e-mail address (up to but not including @) and the corresponding password. Click here for more information about logging in and troubleshooting off campus access issues.

These databases will be good sources for articles and reference information:

Nicolet College Library also has resources for other skills and information needs. Examples include:


Photo of shelves with DVDs and black library tableArticles can be great resources for very current and up to date information. Articles appropriate for your research paper or project are likely to be found in article databases.

Article databases typically “know” about millions of articles, so you will want to narrow or focus your search. Find the advanced search option in the article database of your choice. Then, choose these options/limiters (if relevant):

  • Full Text: This will limit your results to articles you can access immediately from the database.

If you have enough time, you can search without this checked, which will include articles that the database "knows" about but doesn't have. If any of those articles interest you, you can request the article via ILL.

  • Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, or Academic Journals: Choosing this option will limit your results to articles that are likely to be scholarly, peer reviewed, or academic. See below for more information.
  • Publication or Source Type: If there is a publication or source type option, choose periodical, or choose options that include the word journal. This will eliminate things unlikely to include articles, like dissertations or legal documents. 
  • Document Type: If there is an option to narrow by document type, choose article. This will eliminate things like editorials, obituaries, reviews, etc.
  • Date Range: Enter an appropriate year range, such as last three, five, or ten, etc., or a specific relevant era.
  • Language: Choose languages you can read. Leave languages you aren't familiar with unchecked.

Photo of open book
Your instructor may tell you that you should use scholarly/academic/peer reviewed articles. This means that you are looking for articles written by experts in the field and reviewed by other experts in the field prior to publication. There are several characteristics typical of a scholarly article:

  • They are typically at least five (5) pages long, and could be more than twenty (20).
  • They have charts and graphs rather than photos.
  • They often are about a research study (experiment), or a review of literature available about a specific topic.
  • The article is often divided into sections that follow the research process, such as introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, etc.
  • There should be a list of references at the end of the article.
  • Articles with multiple authors is much more common than articles with only one author.
  • The author(s) should have credentials that give them expertise in the field/discipline. Often their affiliation, usually with colleges or universities, research hospitals, or research institutions, is clearly stated.

Click here to learn more about what to look for to find good sources.

The Nicolet College Library has thousands of physical resources such as books and DVDs available for use by Nicolet College students, staff, faculty, as well as our friends in the Nicolet College district area and beyond. Use the search library resources link to find physical resources in the library collection.

Nicolet College Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System to organize books, DVDs, music CDs, and other physical items. Books on shelves at the Nicolet College Library

While relevant materials could be found throughout the collection depending upon the topic of your research paper/project, the majority of relevant materials will be found with call numbers starting with HV and K. HV is the letter that represents social pathology, social welfare & criminology, and K is the letter that represents law. 

Click here to learn more about resources available at the Nicolet College Library.


Click here to learn more about what to look for to find good sources. See below for a brief overview.

1. Consider whether the source is non-fiction or fiction.

A non-fiction (factual/not creative) source is generally preferred in a research paper. Typically, a traditionally published non-fiction source such as a book, documentary, or article goes through a rigorous vetting process before it is published.

It is not usually advisable to use a fictional (created from imagination) source in a research paper, unless it is used to illustrate a point, to explain a source of inspiration, or an examination the source itself or an element within the source is the topic.

In the Nicolet College Library, call numbers beginning with P are fiction, except for language studies, literary criticism, and author biographies. A call number beginning with anything other than P is non-fiction.

2. Consider the topic.

Many topics are considered non-fiction, but the scientific community generally does not consider them valid at this point in time, such as paranormal/parapsychology topics, anti-vaxxing, climate change denial, etc. If your paper topic is like these, you should talk to your instructor first before going any further in the research process.

3. Consider all of the following:

Currency: Determine the age of the source and whether there have been recent developments in the field since it was published. Very generally, in scientific fields like medicine, technology, and engineering, you would look for sources no older than 3-5 years, unless you are looking specifically for historical information or perspectives.

Reliability: Look for evidence of thorough research or demonstrated expertise from the author. If sources are cited, examine those for credibility as well. If there are no sources cited, be somewhat skeptical about that source as a source. Determine the publisher. Self-published sources are likely not to have gone through the vetting process that gives scholarly credibility.

Authorship: Determine the author of the source. If you can't tell who authored the source, be skeptical about using it. Look up the author before using the book to find out their credentials and what kind of expertise they have in the field.

Purpose: Determine if it is an informational resource, or if was it created to inflame emotions or sell a product. If it was created for any purpose other than to inform, be skeptical about using it as a source.

Currently, no print journals or magazines are available for browsing or circulation. Please see the announcement here for more information. Photo of journal and magazine shelf

Find browsable journals and magazines  in the Nicolet College Library’s Flipster collection.

Off-campus Flipster access is only available to Nicolet College students, staff and faculty. Log in is typically the first part of a Nicolet e-mail address (up to but not including @) and the corresponding password. Click here for more information about logging in and troubleshooting off campus access issues.

Photo of globe with library shelving in backgroundMany students will look for information for their research papers/projects online. There are some great resources online for this purpose! See the introduction tab for advice about what types of websites to look for and how to evaluate them.

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Location: 3rd floor of the Lakeside Center

Library Hours (Fall 2021)

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