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CRJ 733: Criminal Justice Teaching Practicum (Madensen)

Criminal Justice Teaching Practicum Resource Guide

Urban Affairs Librarian

Susie Skarl, Urban Affairs Librarian's picture
Susie Skarl, Urban Affairs Librarian
UNLV Libraries
Lied Library
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Box 457014
Las Vegas, NV 89154-7014

Bottlenecks to Assignments

Students' frustrations at the research desk:

  • "The professor didn't give me a topic. I can research on anything I want."
  • "I need 12 scholarly articles. My paper is done, but I need more sources."
  • "How do I know if these are the sources the professor wants me to use?"
  • "How do I cite this?"



Designing Assignments

Authentic, clear, and relevant 
Appropriately challenging

Broken into parts
Linked with library services
Aligned with instruction

Define terms / specify sources
Provide models and evaluation criteria
Student Autonomy
How will students choose their research focus?
Will students work alone or in collaborative teams?
What final product formats will be accepted?
How will sub-assignments/lectures tie into the research project?
Have you established resource partnerships with the library?
Feedback on the students' progress?
Will students have the opportunity to revise their work?
What new knowledge & skills will students gain?
Is it clear how the knowledge & skills will relate to course objectives?
Can final project be used to benefit students or others?
Will students be given the opportunity to formally reflect on how this assignment has helped them grow (academically/professionally)? 
Source: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us by Daniel Pink

Embedding the Library into Your Classes

How the Urban Affairs Librarian Can Assist with Your Classes

  • Direct your students to research help by providing the contact information for the Criminal Justice Library Liaison/Urban Affairs Librarian:
  • Request customized research guides: Criminal Justice Research Course Guide Examples
  • Work with librarian on research assignment design
  • Librarian can hold "office hours" within your online course to answer reference questions
  • Participate in a research discussion thread in your WebCampus course
  • Hold a virtual or on-site library instructional sessions
  • Add your librarian to WebCampus. Instructors can submit an online help request to add guests and non-enrolled users to their course(s): WebCampus help request form.
  • WebCampus Library Toolkit: Resources on a variety of ways to incorporate library services and resources into WebCampus courses.
  • Introduce a Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc.) component into the class for students to communicate with you, each other, and the librarian on research related to a course. Example: CRJ490's Twitter:
  • UNLV Libraries has a wide selection of online movies & streaming videos:

Guides & Tutorials (from other libraries) to Help Undergrads with Writing Research Papers

Some Starting Points for Undergrads Doing Criminal Justice Research

Criminal Justice Statistics


Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Quick access to a variety of data including crimes and victims, criminal offenders, law enforcement, courts and sentencing, prosecution, corrections, federal justice, expeditures and employment, etc.

International Justice Statistics - BJS
Includes BJS publications, justice statistics from the United Nations, Official country websites and more.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
This page from the University of Michican contains data sets on a variety of topics that can be downloaded and analyzed. Guides are available for each resource.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 
This source "brings together data from more than 100 sources about all aspects of criminal justice in the United States. These data are displayed in over 600 tables."

Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) - from FBI
"A nationwide cooperative statistical effort of nearly 17,000 city, county and state law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting data on crimes brought to their attention."

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
"The NCVS is the Nation's second largest ongoing household survey. Survey data tell us how many rapes, sexual assaults, robberies, assaults, thefts, household burglaries, and motor vehicle thefts U.S. residents age 12 or older and their households experience each year."

Homocide Trends in the United States - from BJS
"This site contains a series of charts that describe homicide patterns and trends in the U.S. since 1976."

Statistics on Drugs and Crime - from BJS
This BJS page provides links to a variety of data on issues where drugs and crime intersect.

National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA)
"The primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of drug and alcohol use and abuse in the general U.S. civilian non institutionalized population, age 12 and older."

Arrestee Drug Monitoring Program (ADAM)
This National Insititute of Justice page provides links to data gathered by the ADAM program from 2000, 2003 with access to data sets that cover 1987-2003.

Intimate Partner Violence in the United States - from BJS
Use links to data on a variety of topics to learn about victim and offender characteristics, circumstances of the crime and the types of injuries and treatment victims receive.

Hate Crime Statistics - UCR
Links to this annual publication are provided here from 1995 to the most recent available.

Global Report on Crime and Justice
Includes data that have been collected by the United Nations and ancillary bodies concerning crime, criminal justice and crime prevention over the past 25 years.


Sentencing and Corrections


Corrections Statistics - from BJS 
One stop shopping page that includes graphs summarizing trend data statistics and pages with "information, statistics and publications regarding capital punishment, jails, prisons, probation and parole." 

Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics
Data by state
"This Sourcebook contains descriptive statistics on the application of the federal sentencing guidelines and provides selected district, circuit, and national sentencing data."

Quick Facts - Bureau of Federal Prisons
Includes statistics on prisoners by age, security level, gender, race, ethnicity,type of offence and sentencing.

Executions in the United States
This site developed by the Dealth Penalty Information Center provides a links to pages that outline the history and methods of executions in the US. 

Database of Execution - Dealth Penalty Information Center
This database enables searchers to find executions by name, victim, age, gender, ethnicity, state and more.


Law Enforcement 

Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics(LEMAS) 
Compiled from the 1999 LEMAS survey, this report presents agency-specific data collected from more than 700 State and local agencies that employed 100 or more sworn officers.

Law Enforcement Officers Killed - UCR
Links to this annual publication are provided here from 1996 to the most recent available.

APA Citation Tutorials & Guides

Some Ideas for Alternative Assignments

  • Locate a popular magazine article, then find a scholarly article on the same criminal justice-related subject. Compare the two articles for content, style, bias, audience, etc.
  • Prepare an annotated bibliography of books, journal articles, and other sources on a topic. Include evaluative annotations.
  • Select a topic and compare how that topic is treated in two to five different sources (scholarly, popular, newspapers, government, nonprofit, think tanks, etc.)
  • Pick a topic and research it in criminal justice literature from the 60s and 70s. Then research the same topic in the literature of the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Compare and contrast the topic. (Example: police brutality)
  • Working in groups or alone, prepare a print or web-based guide to introduces others to the various information sources in a discipline or on a specific topic. 
  • Introduce students to finding criminal justice statistics and datasets on a specific issue. This is a great way to familiarize the government resources that are available.
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