The Assignment

Students in CRM 6500 will conduct a research synthesis, reviewing a body of literature on a topic of interest. Selected requirements:

  • Find the 10 most recent empirical studies on your topic.
  • The studies must address the same general causal hypothesis (i.e., the same pairing of an independent variable and a particular dependent variable)
  • All of the studies must contain some empirical evidence testing a hypothesis (that is, they can’t be exclusively descriptive, theoretical, lit reviews, etc.)
  • The set of studies must contain some variation in findings.
  • You may not review a set of studies that has already been largely covered in an existing review.

Background Research

The Library has a large number of subject specific online encyclopedias, companions and handbooks with exhaustive and well-researched entries written by subject experts. These essays are great starting points that can help you to define and focus your topic. Essays generally include bibliographies that will lead you to further sources on your topic.


Reference Works

Oxford Handbooks Online - Criminology & Criminal Justice
A collection of 15 handbooks on topics such as crime prevention, criminological theory, and juvenile crime and juvenile justice.

Oxford Bibliographies - Criminology
Annotated bibliographies of important scholarship on hundreds of topics in criminology. Each bibliography was compiled by a subject matter expert.

SAGE Knowledge
Includes a large selection of encyclopedias about relevant subjects such as the Encyclopedia of Race & Crime, the Encyclopedia of Victimology & Crime Prevention, the Encyclopedia of Juvenile Justice, and the Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory.

You can also locate reference articles on topics of interest using a custom search of Articles & more:



Annual Reviews
The following journals specialize in literature reviews of significant and timely research topics. Browsing them can help you hone your topic; you can also search within them to locate review articles on topics of interest:


Recommended Databases

  Criminal Justice Abstracts (EBSCO)


  Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)

  Social Sciences Citation Index - Web of Science (Clarivate)

  Google Scholar

  Scopus (Elsevier)

  Social Services Abstracts (ProQuest)


Citing Your Sources

Follow the guidelines established by the journal Criminology to format your paper as well as your citations. Criminology follows the APA (6th edition) citation style. 

Criminology - Author Guidelines

Library guide to APA Style resources