Criminology and Criminal Justice

Criminology is a behavioural science that studies crime and criminal justice, drawing from knowledge in law, psychology and sociology, as well as other disciplines.

Some books to help you start your research:


The easiest way to find books and articles, both in print and online, is by searching in Summon on the Library's main page. Note that, as much as you may want to use just e-resources, many of the best books are still only available in print, so you will still have to spend some time looking in the Library. The vast majority of our journal articles are available online.

Once you have a list of initial results, click on "Book/eBook" on the left-hand side of the screen in order to view just the books, or click on "Journal Article" as well as  "Scholarly & Peer-Review" to see just academic journal articles. If you still have a very large results list, you can also use some of the following to further limit your results:

  • Content Type = This is where you choose "Book/eBook" or "Journal Article", but also use this if you want to see other types of documents; e.g., videos or government documents.
  • Publication Date = Only choose this if your prof has given specific instructions about how recent your resources should be, or if you know the area you are researching drastically changed at a certain point in time. For example, the laws around immigration and how to claim refugee status changed substantially in about 2002, so you would only want pre-2002 resources if you were trying to compare the new system to the old.
  • Discipline = Sometimes there is a separate listing for "Criminology", but often there is not. If there isn't, start with choosing the discipline of "Law", and then think about the interdisciplinary scope of your topic. For example, say you were researching reform in the prison system for women, you'd probably want to add disciplines that will help you find resources written by scholars in "Sociology" or "Women's Studies".
  • Subject Terms = Looking at the list of suggested subject terms may help you pinpoint more specifically the aspects of your topic that truly interest you.

Summon is the best place to start looking for journal articles in criminology, as it covers a wide cross-section of interdisciplinary journals where these topics may be written about, including the vast majority of social science journals subscribed to by the Library. More advanced researchers, however, may wish to also search in some of the databases that specifically target criminology journals:

  • Criminal Justice Abstracts = Use to find abstracts (summaries/references) for articles in criminology and law-related fields, as well as government documents. While it searches abstracts only, there is often a link you can then follow to access the actual full-text.
  • PsycINFO = Use to find articles in the behavioural sciences, including criminology. You can also search for research articles using a specific type of research methodology (e.g., qualitative research) by using the "Advanced" search option.
  • Sociological Abstracts = Has abstracts for articles in sociological journals, as well as social planning and policy. Criminology-related topics might include things like violence studies, social psychology, and gender-related research.

You may also find it useful to consult some of the law-related databases for criminology research. See the Law Subject Guide for more details on which databases to use.


If you wish to browse some criminology and sociology journals directly, here are some suggested titles:

General Criminology:

Legal Research:

For help with legal research, consult the resources listed in the Law Subject Guide. More detailed help can be found in the Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide, originally created by a lawyer who was also a legal research instructor at UBC.








Catalogues and Libraries with Criminology Collections:


Topical Bibliographies and Resources:

Make sure you check with your professor which citation style he or she would like you to use when referencing your work in your assignments. The most commonly used citation style in criminology at Carleton tends to be APA. MacOdrum Library has a tip sheet to give you some guidance, or you can consult the APA section of the website for the Online Writing Lab of Purdue University, which is extremely helpful. For more information on other citation styles, check out our How-To page on Citing Your Sources.

A few other texts that you may find useful:

Content last updated: September 3, 2019