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Academic journals are key sources for your criminology studies. They publish articles which are written by specialists in the field and provide an insight into current thinking, debate and research. They can also cover a specific topic in depth, e.g. a case study.
This guide from the Open University (PDF) explains clearly what a journal is, and how they differ from books. The important thing to note is that new issues are regularly published, and that all the issues from one year are known as a volume. This pattern of regular publication provides an alternative name for journals: periodicals.
One of the reasons why journal articles are so highly regarded as sources is peer review. Find out more about peer review and how it works.
The quickest way to find articles recommended by your lecturers is to use the module's online reading list.
These lists will show you essential and further reading for each week or each topic. For articles, you can click on the 'view online' button next to each one and you'll be taken directly to the article itself.
You can also find links to your online reading lists in Moodle - just look down the right hand side on a module page.
You can keep track of what you've already read, what you want to read etc. by clicking on the circle to the right of an item on a reading list.
There are number of useful journals in criminology and related fields. The following list is not exhaustive but it lists some of the journals that are highly-regarded by criminologists. You will be prompted for your Oxford Brookes log in.
Once you're on one of the journal homepages, you can look at which articles have been published most recently. This is a good way to get a feel of what current criminology research looks like.
You can also use the search box to search for a name or topic. If you want to search multiple journals at once, you can use a database. There's more information about databases further down this page.
Imagine you saw this reference:
Parmar, A (2018) 'Intersectionality, British criminology and race: are we there yet?', Theoretical Criminology, 21(1), pp.35-45. From this we can tell that:
Have a look at the Open University's guide to journal articles (PDF) if you want more explanation of what volumes and issues are. You can use Cite Them Right Online to help you accurately create your own references to journal articles.
If you want to research a topic, it's a good idea to start with a database. A database is way of finding journal articles (and sometimes other material) on a particular topic or by a particular author.
All databases will give you the bibliographic information (e.g. author, title, journal name) about an article, some will give you an abstract (brief summary) of the article, and some will also give you the full text as well (i.e. the complete article). Useful databases include: