Choosing a research topic can be challenging. Knowing where to look for ideas can be helpful. Reference materials are a good starting point. They often give a good overview of the subject area, present relevant background information on your topic as well as provide relevant keywords for searching databases. Reference materials include dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, bibliographies.
The Cambridge handbook of forensic psychology
Encyclopedia of forensic science
Suggested psychology reference materials:
APA Dictionary of Psychology
BF31 .A63 2007
The Corsini encyclopedia of psychology and behavioral science
e-book (volumes 1-4)
Encyclopedia of Psychology
The Social Science Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia of Crime & Justice
Forensic psychology textbooks could also be helpful when selecting a research topic.
Here are a few recommended titles:
Current perspectives in forensic psychology and criminal behaviour.
HV6080 .C87 2008
RA1148 .P69 2009
Forensic Psychology: a very short introduction
RA1148 .C36 2010
Forensic psychology and law
Forensic psychology: the use of behavioral science in civil and criminal justice
Handbook of eyewitness psychology (2 volumes)
APA (American Psychological Association) also offers useful resources:
Glossary of Psychological Terms
Research in Action (select: law and psychology)
APA search page (use : forensic psychology in Index Terms)
Basic Catalogue Searching
Keyword searching is a good way to start a search. It uses natural language terms to describe a topic. Terms can be combined in a number of ways using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT, *, ?)
If you find a relevant book on your topic, look at the full record to see which heading(s) were used.
Subject searching uses controlled vocabulary in the form of subject headings. Some relevant subject headings for this course may include:
Computer crimes - Investigation
Interviewing in law enforcement
Death - Causes
Searching other library catalogues
The CU library catalogue web page lists other library catalogue options (left side) such as the University of Ottawa, the Sm@rtLibrary Network.
Under Other Libraries, you will find other library catalogues across Canada and internationally.
WorldCat is a global catalog of library collections from over 10,000 libraries worldwide.
Academic journal articles are written by experts in the field and provide current information on specific topics. For a detailed outline of journal searching, consult the two page handout Looking for journal articles.
Journal databases are tools that allow users to search for journal articles on a particular topic.These database also use keyword (with Boolean operators) and subject searching methods.
The following are some recommended CU library journal databases with forensic science content:
provides comprehensive indexing of over 400 major journals in criminology and related disciplines, books, and access to reports from government and nongovernmental agencies. Contains summaries of international journal articles, books, governmental and non-governmental reports, dissertations, and unpublished papers on criminology and related disciplines. Topics include: crime trends, prevention projects, corrections, juvenile delinquency, police, courts, offenders, victims, and sentencing.
Index to Canadian Legal Literature
contains citations to journal articles, law reports, books, book reviews, theses, essay collections and Canadiana Forthcoming Books.
is a full-text database that provides access to legal, news, business, health, and reference information. It contains full text federal, state & international legal materials: Federal code, U.S. Constitution & court rules, Federal regulations, agency opinions & US, Attorney General Opinions, federal and state case law and legal articles and U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, newsletters & journals.
is a database of full-text articles from 55 Psychology journals published by the American Psychological Association, the APA’s Educational Publishing Foundation, the Canadian Psychological Association, and Hogrefe & Huber.
indexes scholarly literature in subject areas such as : crime, crime prevention, criminal behavior, victimology, psychosexual behavior, applied psychology. Indexed materials from 1887 to date) are selected from more than 1,300 journals published in 50 countries and 28 languages.
Abstracts contains summaries of more than 170,000 criminal justice publications, including U.S. Federal, State, and local government reports, books, research reports, journal articles, and unpublished research. Subject areas include corrections, courts, drugs and crime, law enforcement, juvenile justice, crime statistics, and victims of crime. The time period covered is from the early 1970's to the present. Some full-text documents are available online in this database, with links provided to the full documents.
has the full-text of over 2,000 Elsevier journals in physical sciences, engineering, life sciences, health sciences and social sciences. Also available as part of the E-journals@
collection NOTE: This resource contains Forensic Science International from 1995.
is the largest abstract and citation database of research literature and quality web sources. It has the broadest coverage available of scientific, technical, medical and social sciences literature. Full details of coverage are available.
provides citations with abstracts to journal articles, books, book reviews, and conference papers on sociology and social planning and policy. Topics include methodology, history, and technology of sociology; social psychology; group interactions; management and complex organizations; mass phenomena; social change; rural and urban sociology; sociology of religion, arts, education, science ; social welfare; community development; planning and forecasting; studies in poverty and violence; clinical sociology.
Web of Science
is part of the larger ISI Web of Knowledge. Consists of the 3 main citation databases:
-- Science Citation Index (1900--)
-- Social Sciences Citation Index (1956--)
-- Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1975-)
is a full text source for Canadian law resources. Includes the Canadian Abridgement and Canadian Encyclopedic Digest; cases (reported and unreported), commentary,legislations, journal articles covering the areas of general law, family law and criminal law.
Forensic science is used by government agencies for a variety of legal, investigative, and public policy purposes. To search for government documents in this area: use the CU library catalogue or search for government documents on the web using the Google Custom search feature.
To properly cite government information, use the resources listed on the Government Information: writing and citing web page.
Information provided by national and international agencies may be useful:
Use the Carleton Google Custom Search Engine for a broadcast search for statistics by topic across federal, provincial/territorial and municipal web sites.
You may also wish to consult the Library’s Subject Guide on Justice administration: public policy and statistics.
The Writing Services is a service, offered by Carleton University’s Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS), that is dedicated to supporting students’ academic writing. The WTS is located on the 4th floor in the Library.
The Library’s Cite Your Sources web page provides a list of tools and guidance on how to properly reference sources that were used to write term papers.
Citation management tools let you create, manage, and format bibliographies and papers in a wide variety of styles (APA, MLA,…)
For research and writing guides, search the library search tool Omni – try a subject search using:
Report writing -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Some recommended writing guides :
The brief Penguin handbook
PE1408 .F24 2008
1 copy on reserve (RSV)
1 copy at the Reference Desk
The criminal justice student writer's manual
HV9950 .C7432 2008
Making sense: A student’s guide to research and writing: psychology and the life sciences
BF76.7 .N67 2005