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 tha 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.

Encyclopedias & Handbooks

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.

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.


The most efficient approach to locating scholarly journal articles on any topic is to start out with one of the library’s databases such as Criminal Justice Abstracts or Sociological Abstracts. These databases index hundreds of scholarly journals and will link you to articles on your topic of choice.

The library subscribes to numerous peer-reviewed criminology journals. The library’s website is your access point to the full text online. You may be prompted to authenticate as a Villanova student. Use your Villanova user id and email password. You can find some of the same content through Google Scholar, but you may not be able to link to the full text.

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