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University of Southern Maine
Libraries & Learning

CRM 402: Criminology Capstone: Background Reading

Online Subject Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Taking a moment at the start of your research to look at wide topics that interest you can be helpful in figuring out the focus of your project.

An encyclopedia or dictionary entry can give you a birds eye view of the different subcategories that topic has:

Example: Family Violence

This breaks down into A LOT of Subcategories: Child maltreatment, sexual abuse of children, child homicide, dating and courtship violence, intimate partner violence, homicide of intimates, elder abuse, and sibling violence.

These encyclopedias and dictionary's can also help you find sources like annual statistics that are gathered or organizations involved.

Once you have a better idea on a topic create some keywords and test them out using OneSearch. This will help you get an idea of what, if anything, has been published on your topic. If you come back with nothing, reach out to Ask a Librarian or Megan to make sure you're using good keywords.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries (print)