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CJA 342 — Legal Foundations of Justice


Contact Information

Caroline Bordinaro


Concepts and Questions for Beginning Research


Search Tips and Suggestions

Finding Magazine, Journal and Newspaper Articles at CSUDH

Finding Books in the CSUDH Library

Finding Quality Websites

APA Citation Style - Help Guides and Information

Avoiding Plagiarism

Library Guides

Library Session Evaluation

Concepts and Questions for Beginning Research

Where to Start?

    • What's your research question?
    • What information do you need to find?

Who cares about the same information? (e.g.: researchers, attorneys, government, etc.)

    • What kind of information do they need?
    • Where would they get it?

What resource are you currently using? Why is it important to know?

    • Is there a better tool for the job?
    • Are you using it in the most efficient/effective way?

Types of information available

  • Books
  • Articles from journals, magazines and newspapers
  • Websites
  • Newsletters
  • Reports

  • DATABASE: An organized collection of electronic information, such as photographs, addresses, or journal articles.
  • ONLINE JOURNAL INDEX: A database that contains magazine, newspaper and journal articles, e.g: Academic Search Premier. AKA Subscription Database.
  • SCHOLARLY JOURNAL: Also called academic or refereed journal. Articles usually reviewed by experts in the field before publication, published for a research audience, narrow focus, e.g.; Molecular Endocrinology
  • MAGAZINE: Publication of general interest: popular interest and broad subjects (e.g: Psychology Today)
  • SUBJECT HEADINGS : Also called descriptors. Official terms used to classify items in a database.
  • THESAURUS: List and finding aid for official controlled vocabulary terms. Also called Topic Index or Subject List.
  • ABSTRACT: a brief summary of the main content of an article
  • FULL TEXT: the complete article. Click on the FindItCSUDH button to see if the Full Text is available.
  • CITATION: The basic information you need to find the full text of an article. It includes the title of the article, the author, the name of the publication, the date, the volume and issue number and the page numbers.

Search Tips and Suggestions

Creating an effective online search:

  1. Take your research question and circle the "action words"
  2. Think of at least three synonyms for each action word
  3. Use these words in various combination to get a good result (between 15-40 results is optimal)
  • Combining keywords
    • AND: broadcast AND media AND regulations
    • OR: attorney OR lawyer OR counsel
    • NOT: New York NOT city
  • Phrase searching"" ( "Los Angeles County", "Federal Communications Commission")
  • Advanced Search: Use this frequently to determine your search options. This will save you TIME and FRUSTRATION!
  • Remember, the more words you use to search or the more limits you place on a search, the fewer results you will get. (How can you get more results?)
  • Always use the Print and Save functions embedded within the screen. It is usually not a good idea to use the File-Print or File-Save As functions in the upper left hand corner of the browser.
  • Use the online HELP screens - they really are helpful!

Rules and advice

  • Find index descriptors attached to useful article citations- redo your search with these "Official Database Topic Terms"
  • All databases function essentially the same way and have similar features.

How to Find an Article On Your Topic: Click here for more tips, tricks and advice

Finding Magazine, Journal and Newspaper Articles at CSUDH

Online journal indexes (databases) must be accessed through the CSUDH library homepage (library.csudh.edu). You may either browse the collections by subject area or go to your favorite resource using the database Title List.

NOTE: These are subscription databases, selected and provided specifically for CSUDH students. To access from home, please see our Remote Patron Access Instructions guide for login instructions.

To find the full text of an article, click on the PDF Full Text or HTML full text link. Or click on the FindItCSUDH button to see if the full article is available from the library.

Recommended Databases:
  • CQ Researcher : Provides authoritative reports on current topics, pending state and federal legislation, and on timely or controversial topics. Highly recommended!
  • CQ Weekly: Legislative news and information from present back to 1983. Search by topic, page number, committee, "exact phrases or words," bill number, byline, reporter or date. Detailed floor votes dating back to August 1983 are easily retrieved.
  • Lexis-Nexis: Complete full text magazine, newspaper, scholarly and professional journal articles from all areas of political science research, local, state and national legislation and many other issues. Highly Recommended!
  • Oxford Journals: A major international publisher of academic and research journals, the collections cover Law, Social Sciences, Economics and others. Highly Recommended!
  • Military & Government Collection (EBSCO) : Offers a thorough collection of periodicals, academic journals, and other current news pertinent to the increasing needs of all branches of the military and government. Provides full text for nearly 300 publications and indexing and abstracts for nearly 100 more. Includes images and a government terminology dictionary.
  • ABI/INFORM: over 1800 worldwide periodicals cover law reviews, business and economic conditions and more.
  • Business Source Premier: more than 3,000 full text scholarly publications, including nearly 1,000 peer-reviewed journals, as well as indexing and abstracts for nearly 3,800 journals including law reviews.
  • SocINDEX: coverage from all subdisciplines of sociology, including criminology, cultural sociology, demography, economic development, ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, politics, social psychology, social structure, urban studies, welfare, and more-includes full text for 235 "core" journals, as well as full text for books and conference papers.
  • JSTOR: a continuously growing and updated electronic retrospective archive of over 30 scholarly journals in public policy and administration as well as over 300 in the area of business. All articles are available in digitized full text,  from the first issue of the journal to the most current one to five year "moving wall."
  • Ethnic News Watch: Published research on ethnic groups in the United States.
  • Gender Watch: Scholarly research in the areas of women's studies, gender interaction, LGBT studies, the evolution of the women's movement and the changes in gender roles.
  • Social Sciences Full Text : Full text articles in the areas of sociology and other social sciences.

Also recommended (multi-disciplinary databases):

  • Academic Search Premier: Multi-disciplinary index to journals, magazines and other periodicals.
  • OmniFile Full Text Mega: Index to journals, magazines and other periodicals on a variety of topics.Unique, esoteric collection of periodical articles.
  • ProQuest Databases: Very good multi-disciplinary index to journals, magazines and other periodicals.
  • Factiva: Wide coverage and timely delivery of news information from most of the world. Provides coverage of business, business-related issues and political/general news.

Not sure how to search? Use our How To Find Articles help page for assistance.

Finding Books in the CSUDH Library

Go to TOROFIND: the CSUDH Library Catalog and search on the title, author, subject or keyword. Look not only for that specific book on the shelf, but also check out the books in that section.

  • Search for criminal law or criminal justice in the text box. Search as a subject, keyword or title.
  • Search for Justice Administration Of as a subject.
  • Select "Sort by year - newest to oldest" and click the "Sort" button to see a list of books with the most recent books first.

If you don't see the right item listed, or want more titles, try an on a few keywords (in separate boxes).  If you still don't find the right book, ask a reference librarian.

NOTE: Many of the newest books on your subject will be ebooks, books that have been scanned in and which you can access from home using the library website. Search eBrary and EBSCO Electronic Books, electronic (web-based) complete books on a wide variety of scholarly subjects.

Finding Quality Websites

These are indexes to quality web sites that have been reviewed by librarians. The sites have been checked for accuracy, expertise and stabilty and will generally conform to the standards of academic research. However, please be judicious in the use of websites in general, because anybody can put anything on the web.

  • Infomine (infomine.ucr.edu): A project from the Univeristy of California and other universities, it is a searchable index of websites specifically appropriate for university research. Click on SocSci & Humanities to search their specialized index.
  • Internet Public Library 2 (ipl2): Index of websites reviewed by librarians, geared toward the general public. Choose a topic from the index or use Advanced Search to search for keywords.
  • Evaluating Information on the Web: This is a very good checklist from the Pasadena City College Library for judging the quality of not only information on the Internet, but any information you may want to use for an assignment.
  • United States Code: Search the U.S. Code by keyword, title, section, and other criteria.
  • California Legislative Information: Search for California code and pending legislation.
  • Los Angeles County Portal: County departments, agencies, commissions, and other information.
  • City of Los Angeles: City charter, rules and codes.

APA Citation Style - Help Guides and Information

APA style
is the citation and formatting style created and used by the American Psychological Association.
This comprehensive guide from the librarians at CSULA will help you use the APA citation style.

Click here for our tutorial on citing sources.

See the APA Formatting and Style Guide from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) for a much more in-depth guide.

Click here for a cheat-sheet on APA citation style.

Avoiding Plagiarism

What is plagiarism? - Plagiarism is "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (OED)

When you quote or paraphrase from somebody else's work without citing it, you are plagiarizing their work. Plagiarism is a serious matter, and could result in a lower or failing grade and even in your expulsion from university. Just rewording your work isn't enough to avoid plagiarism. Since you are still borrowing information heavily from another writer, you still need to include a citation.

But I didn't know! - Ignorance of the law is unfortunately no excuse. You can commit plagiarism without meaning to, and it's just as serious a problem if you do.

How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by always citing your sources. Whenever you put a quotation or borrow information heavily from a source, be sure you include a citation in the proper APA style. This will let your professor know you aren't trying to pass the idea off as your own. Taking detailed notes on where you get your information helps a lot with this, since it prevents you from forgetting which is your own work and which is borrowed from others.

Library Guides

For more detailed help, download our LIBRARY GUIDES (.doc format) :

Library Session Evaluation