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CRJ 733: (Herold): Criminal Justice Teaching Practicum (Madensen)

Criminal Justice Teaching Practicum Resource Guide

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 Canvas course
  • Hold a virtual or on-site library instructional sessions
  • Add your librarian to Canvas. Instructors can submit an online help request to add guests and non-enrolled users to their course(s):WebCampus Guide for Instructors
  • 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

Below are many government (and some other) websites that focus on crime statistics. 

Another easy way to find official government crime statistics is on Google. After you type in your keywords, limit you sources to .gov.

For example: "crime statistics"

This will limit your search to government sources (primarily federal and also state and local resources).


APA Citation Tutorials & Guides

Other Library-Related Partners

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 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.
  • Rather than a traditional research paper, have the students create an infographic on their topic. 

Urban Affairs Librarian

Profile Photo
Susie Skarl, Urban Affairs Librarian
UNLV Libraries
Lied Library
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Box 457014
Las Vegas, NV 89154-7014
© University of Nevada Las Vegas