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Researching your Criminology dissertation: Home


This site has been designed to introduce you to researching for your dissertation.  The focus is on how to identify and search for academic literature, but you may also need to locate other types of information and data at times. The guide includes links to guides that will help you locate other types of information.

Academic journals for your literature review

You will need to use good quality information to support your work. It is important that you know how to identify and access academic journals for your dissertation, especially your literature review, which focuses on academic research.

The following video takes you through what journals are and the different types you will encounter. 

Plan your search

Before you begin your research, it is worth doing a bit of planning up front. Consider your research question and any objectives you have and the different search words that relate to this. These are what we would call keywords. You can map these out in a way that helps you to carry out your searches and come up with different search strategies. Here is an example search table:

Keyword table
Young people Crime UK
Youth                            Criminal United Kingdom                   
Adolescents Delinquent behaviour / behavior England
Young adults Offending Britain
Teenagers Young offenders
Youth crime  

From here you can develop meaningful search strategies e.g. Youth crime AND UK / Young people AND crime AND United Kingdom

How can I find relevant literature to support my work?

NELSON (Northampton Electronic Library Search ONline)

You can use NELSON to search the library’s books, e-books, e-journals, videos and more. Sign-in with your University login to access the full-text. If the item is available electronically you’ll see a link to the full-text online. If the content is available in print, you’ll see a shelfmark letting you know where to find the book on the shelf.

Watch the video on the NELSON home page for an introduction.

For a more focused search than NELSON, search some of the databases directly (this is a bit like going to a specific website than just using Google).

You’ll find these listed under the A-Z Databases tab on NELSON and most allow you to sign-in using your University login. You can also use the links below to go directly to the databases that you'll find relevant to your course.

Useful Databases

Google smart searching

Google smart searching techniques will be beneficial for your case study research, especially the site:. and filetype: options seen in the video below. Why not have a go with your topics?

Have a look at the Ten Tips for Searching Google video linked at the bottom of this guide if you think this will be useful

Going beyond the library

If you need anything we do not have in the library collections at the University of Northampton. please make use of Interlibrary Loans and the SCONUL Access scheme.

Other helpful resources