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.

The easiest way to find books and articles, both in print and online, is by searching on the Library's main page. Note that many of the best books are still only available in print, so you may still have to spend some time looking in the Library. The vast majority of journal articles, however, are available online.

Search using keywords. Once you have your results, click on "Books" on the left-hand side of the screen in order to view just the books and e-books, or click on "Peer-Reviewed Journals" as well as  "Articles" 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:

  • Publication Date = Only choose this if you have been given specific instructions about how recent your resources should be, or if you know that the topic you are researching has drastically changed at a certain point in time. For example, the laws around immigration changed substantially in 2002, so you would only want pre-2002 resources if you were trying to compare the new system to the old.
  • Subject = Looking at the list of suggested terms may help you pinpoint more specifically the aspects of your topic that truly interest you.

Some books to help you get started include:

Omni, the Library's main search, is the best place to start looking for journal articles, as it covers a wide range of interdisciplinary journals in which criminology topics may be found, 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 Sources:

Many universities that have criminology programs will have research institutes producing very high-quality research studies. These include:

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service is a US-funded resource with justice and drug-related information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide.

Learn more about restorative justice via Restorative Justice Online, an initiative of the Prison Fellowship International's Centre for Justice and Reconciliation.


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.



Many associations and organizations, both governmental and non-, are a good place to find research, policy, and guidelines on various topics related to criminology. Some suggestions are below.





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 is 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 information on other citation styles, check out our How-To page on Citing Your Sources.

A couple of other texts that you may find useful:

Content last updated: March 27, 2020