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Criminal Justice: CRJU 303 & CRJU 340

Subject guide for Criminal Justice

CRJU 303 Professor Amy Foust/Cass-Research Tips

*Note- Empirical articles usually have defined sections, such as: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion, Discussion, References and often have charts or graphs or statistical analysis.


Pilferage (Petty Employee Theft)

Suggested Databases:   ABI/Inform and APA PsycInfo

 ABI/Inform- once you find an article- you will need to look at it to see if it is empirical.  Look for the different sections that means it is an original study.

APA PsycInfo- you can look for the Methodology section for Empirical.

Try these search terms:

In the first box:   pilferage OR pilfer* OR "petty employee theft" OR "employee theft"

In the second box: prevention OR intervention OR treatment OR program OR minimize OR reduction OR solve OR solution

You can add an extra box:  success* or achievement or performance or outcome or efficiency

Also look to the left at the limiters.  Look at the Source Types (Academic/Scholarly) and Subject headings- open those up and use them to limit your results.

Drug Use

Suggested Databases APA PsycInfo or Academic Search Premier or Criminal Justice Abstracts

APA PsycInfo- you can look for the Methodology section for Empirical

Try these search terms

In the first box:  "hard drug" or heroin or cocaine or LSD or ecstasy

in the second box :  prevention or intervention or treatment or program or reduction or minimize or solve or solution

Once you have your results, open the Subject headings area and narrow down the results there.

You can use the same search terms in Academic Search Premier but add 3rd box with  empirical study or empirical research


Suggested Databases: APA PsycInfo or Academic Search Premier

Try these search terms

In the first box    stalking or stalkers

In the second box: solution or reduce or minimize or stop or prevent

You can open the Subject heading section to narrow down the results.

For Academic Search Premier, you can add a 3rd box with empirical study or empirical research

For APA PsycInfo, you can check the box for Methodology- Empirical Study.





CRJU 340 Professor Marc Collazo - Research Tips


Interplay of drug use and crime

OneSearch  - drug use and criminal activity or crimes

Suggested Databases:  Academic Search Premier, Criminal Justice Abstracts, APA PsycInfo, HeinOnline, Gale eBooks

Search terms to try:  1st box    drug use or substance abuse or narcotics

                                 2nd box   crimes or criminal behavior or criminality

HeinOnline:  drugs and crime


Find other terms to use to expand your search:

police or policing or cops or law enforcement or police officers

body cameras or body-worn cameras or wearable video device

hate crimes or racism or prejudice 

domestic violence or domestic abuse or intimate partner abuse

drug use or drug abuse or substance abuse or drug misuse or illegal drugs

gun control or gun legislation or firearm regulation or second amendment or assault weapons ban

effect or impact or influence or consequences or outcome or benefits



Dr Cunha

Police use of body cameras

Police or law enforcement or cops or police officers AND  body cameras or body-worn cameras or wearable video device


Drug use among teenagers

drug use or drug abuse or substance use or substance abuse or “illegal drugs” or illegal substance AND teenagers or youth or adolescents or “young adult”


Effectiveness of the death penalty

Effect* or impact or consequences or benefits AND death penalty or death row or capital punishment or execution


Effective ways to deter hate crimes

Effect* or impact or prevention or deter*or improvement AND “hate crimes” or racism or stereotypes or prejudice

CRJU 303 Professor Amy Foust/Cass- Assignment

Assignment Summary
It is often easier to identify a problem than find ways to fix it.  This semester students will need to demonstrate they can do both.  This project requires students to examine scientific research to make a case that a problem exists, then they must explore all possible solutions to the crime problem and identify, explain, and critique the ONE approach they believe is best to control the problem..

Project Requirements/Portions
Portion 1: Identify and Lay Out the Problem with Your Assigned Crime
This short section at the beginning of your paper must identify the crime you are studying and detail why it is important to socially control.  In other words, what is the impact of this crime on society, victims, children, business, etc.?  For portion 1, your project must include details with respect to at least ONE of the indicators of problems below. 

1) statistics showing the extent of the problem (volume, geographic distribution, or temporal distribution)

2) dollar amounts highlighting financial costs on victims, businesses, government, or society

3) research results indicating specific forms of harm to the direct victim or any indirect harm to others (i.e. emotional or physical trauma). 

Portion 2: Identify and Explain the ONE Approach You Believe is Best to Control the Crime
This section must identify and explain the one approach you feel is best to reduce this crime. The selected crime control approach must be

1) currently in use or has been used somewhere throughout the world (the strategies do not need to be from the U.S. - lots of good studies have performed tests on strategies in other countries). If you use a study from outside the U.S., add a short statement in the paper as to why this strategy could work in the U.S. too.

2) empirical evidence must exist that shows it works to reduce the behavior, even if just little improvement is found.  

Crime control "approaches" that can be utilized for this assignment include policies, laws, programs, technological techniques, environmental manipulation strategies, policing or correctional strategies, therapies, or any other innovative approach.  The approach can be reactive, proactive, or both.  It can include any approach discussed in class or the textbook, except capital punishment or green dot programs.  As a stepping stone to locating a best solution for your assigned crime, the final chapter of the textbook provides a list of effective crime control strategies you may find useful.  Be mindful that there are many more promising strategies available to pick from that are not in the textbook, but in scientific studies located using database search engines (available on the CSUF library webpage).  All projects will need one empirical (scientific) article that provides evidentiary support for the solution selected.  The article must not be from a secondary source, but the original test of the solution.  For instructor review, students must highlight the portion of the scientific article that provides evidence that the selected solution works.

For portion 2, your project must explain your selected approach by providing responses to ALL of the questions below (please answer them in this order).

1) When did the approach start or how long has it been practiced?

2) Where is it currently implemented or been used (at least one location)?

3) Who is most responsible for overseeing this approach (law enforcement, courtroom actors, correctional practitioners, lawmakers, communities, schools, families, etc.)?

4) How does the approach work? Are there specific terms and objectives of the approach?

This will vary greatly by selected approach, but consider these questions: what does it do, how long does it last, what is its purpose, is it limited to first time offenders, are there age requirements, is it for men and women, adults and juveniles, are there any regulations, is it voluntary, is it done in groups, are there penalties associated with it, etc. 

5) What goal of crime control is the approach most trying to achieve? (please note: the goal must not be "to stop or prevent crime." Be more specific using the identified goals of crime control discussed in class, i.e. deterrence, rehabilitation, diversion, retribution, reintegration, incapacitation, etc.)  Please explain your selected goal, not just identify it.

Portion 3: Critical Evaluation
This is the most important section of the project because it highlights critical thinking, understanding of research, and rationalization and justification aptitude.  This section should address what science and research has found with respect to the effectiveness of the crime control approach. 

First, identify and explain 3 positive aspects/attributes/outcomes associated with this strategy.  One positive outcome MUST be that research reveals the strategy works.

Second, identify and explain 3 consequences or limitations of the approach?  They must be higher-order thinking consequences (you cannot just note that the approach will take time and money, almost everything does).  Also, be sure to give limitations of the approach itself, not the test of the approach. 

Research and Evidence Requirements
A minimum of 4 empirical journal articles or books (standard or edited books) are required to complete the project.  An 'empirical' article is one that uses research methods to generate data and establish scientific results.  They are typically lengthier articles with at least 10 pages of content. Not all articles/books cited used will be on the solution, but students need at least one empirical article showing the selected solutions effectiveness. Some cited articles may be on the problem or the critique of the selected solution.  It is preferred that cited resources are within 10 years old; however, some topics have less scientific scrutiny and older resources will likely need to be used.   In addition, newspapers, magazines, government reports, or Internet sources can be used and put in the Bibliography (in APA format), yet they do not count toward the 4 required empirical sources.  Material from class articles or the textbook can also be cited in your project, but they too do not count toward the required 4 sources.  Sources found within other sources, known as secondary sources, are not allowed (go to the original source).  Please refer to the guide in Canvas to learn how to properly cite the sources used.

 Narrowing your topic: 
Some assigned crime topics are very broad and it may be worthwhile to narrow your topic.  A narrowed topic may make it easier in some cases to address a specific crime problem and identify a best-practice solution.  If focusing, (not required) you can narrow by form (i.e. hostile work environment is a form of sexual harassment; mass murder is a form of murder; heroin use is a form of hard drug use; cyberstalking is a form of stalking), population (i.e. prescription drug use by college students, suicide by military veterans), or location (i.e. child abuse in foster care systems, robberies of convenience stores; hazing in fraternities).  As a rule, if you narrow your topic, you cannot take another topic already on the list of potential topics for the class (see Problem Solving Topics Table).  For example, if you have been assigned 'murder', you cannot narrow on 'murder of domestic partners' as partner abuse/violence is a topic that is already taken.  Secondly, any topic used as an illustration of the project in Canvas cannot be selected as a narrowed topic (i.e. rape on college campuses).

CRJU 340 Professor Marc Collazo- Assignment

Below is  a list of current criminological research topics. Every topic on this list allows us to delve deeper into the many faces of criminal justice, whether it's a question about modern technology's role or an investigation into longstanding procedures.

  1. Analyzing the influence of social media on modern crime reporting.
  2. Investigating the role of body cameras in policing: Are they legit tools or privacy invaders?
  3. How mandatory sentencing laws contribute to the issue of prison overcrowding.
  4. Are we ready for cybercrime, the invisible threat of our era?
  5. Understanding the root causes of hate crimes and potential preventive measures.
  6. Delving into recidivism rates to evaluate the success of rehabilitation programs.
  7. Significant role of forensic science in contemporary law enforcement.
  8. Re-evaluating the ethics of the death penalty in today's society.
  9. Is community policing a passing trend or a lasting solution?
  10. Should victimless crimes fall under the purview of the criminal justice system?
  11. How domestic violence laws affect family structures.
  12. Probing into racial profiling practices in law enforcement.
  13. Juvenile justice system: a struggle between rehabilitation and punishment.
  14. Eyewitness testimony: A reliable source of evidence or a roll of the dice?
  15. Can restorative justice be an effective alternative to traditional criminal justice methods?
  16. Developing strategies to prevent and prosecute human trafficking.
  17. Evaluating the effectiveness of drug courts in managing substance abuse offenders.
  18. Crafting successful crime prevention strategies for high crime neighborhoods.
  19. Gun control laws and rates of violent crime: Correlational study.
  20. How does socioeconomic status influence criminal behavior?
  21. The interplay between drug abuse and criminal activity.
  22. Decoding the effectiveness of parole systems: are they working as intended?
  23. Is immigration tied to crime rates? A fresh look.The impact of disparities in legal representation on judicial outcomes.
  24. The use of lie detector tests in law enforcement: are they beneficial or problematic?
  25. The influence of the #MeToo movement on the evolution of sexual assault laws.
  26. Why is crisis intervention training critical for today's police officers?
  27. Does the 'Three Strikes' law deter crime? An empirical investigation.
  28. The role of mass media in shaping public perception of crime.
  29. Why is victim advocacy important in the criminal justice system?