Criminology Research Guide Part 1: Reference, Book and Database Sources

This series of posts is a detailed research guide to the subject of criminology. We will cover the best encyclopedias, (both in print and available online), subject headings for finding books in a library, databases, key journals, data sources, and websites. All sources are annotated, and should give you a great start to researching the field.

Key Print Reference Sources (Encyclopedias, etc)

21st Century Criminology: A Reference Handbook – This reference handbook features over 100 concise but informative overviews on key topics in criminology, with particular emphasis on correlates of crime and sociological foundations.

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology – Widely considered the most comprehensive reference resource in the field of criminology, the Oxford Handbook is now in its 4th edition. The work’s coverage of criminology history and theory, social dimensions, and society’s responses to crime are thorough and very current, and extensive references to further reading are also listed.

The Blackwell Companion to Criminology – Another comprehensive reference resource in criminology, featuring essays on the theories of crime, effects of punishment, juvenile delinquency, as well as the impact of globalization. Of particular interest is its international focus and global perspective for contemporary criminology.

Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory – A major strength of SAGE’s Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory is its historical coverage and entries which detail the development of the field. This title is quite valuable for researchers interested in the background and origins of today’s theories on crime.

Encyclopedia of Criminology and Deviant Behavior – A very comprehensive work on the sociological aspects of criminology, the Encyclopedia of Criminology and Deviant Behavior contains over 2,000 detailed entries spread across four volumes.

Key Library Subject Headings


Crime – Philosophy



Criminology—United States


Criminology—Great Britain


Criminal justice, Administration of

Core Criminology Databases to Find Articles

Criminology Full Text – This database, produced by SAGE Publishing, is narrowly focused in scope and covers some 23 journals of criminology. It includes over 5,500 articles dating back to 1976. While this is not as comprehensive as other resources, it has the advantage of being focused almost exclusively on criminology and closely related areas. In addition, all the articles are full-text.

Criminal Justice Abstracts – Criminal Justice Abstracts has very comprehensive coverage of criminological topics including juvenile delinquency, crime prevention and deterrence, and more. The sources included are also diverse, spanning monographs, reports, dissertations, gray literature and international journals. Much full-text is included.

Sociological Abstracts – Although it contains literature in many very different areas of focus, Sociological Abstracts is another great resource for finding articles relevant to criminology, primarily from a social and behavioral emphasis. The database contains nearly one million total records and dates back to 1952.

PsychInfo – PsychInfo, indexed by the American Psychological Association, is an enormous database, containing more than 3 million records. It is a great resource for criminology research focused on behavioral and mental aspects.

Academic Search Premier – In addition to these more specialized resources, large interdisciplinary databases such as Academic Search Premier are a great place to find criminology research due to the diverse nature of the field. This resource contains over 8,500 abstracted and indexed journals.

In the next post in our Criminology research guide series, we will go over criminology journals, key data sources, and the top criminology blogs and websites.

Continue Reading Part 2 of our Research Guide

Speak Your Mind