CRIM 420 - Law Enforcement Academy: Effective Use of Information
Know How to Use Your Information Tools (Work Smarter, Not Harder)
- Figure out what tools you have at hand and select one.
- Before you begin, study the search tips.
- Explore the different functions available.
- Take five minutes as you start to save hours of time later on.
- Begin with general searches, then become more specific.
- Look for a marked list function to save searches.
- Jot down the search terms you used in the different resources. As you learn new terms, go back and search those resources with your new terms.
- Save your searches either by printing material, emailing citations, saving to a flash drive, or using a bibliographic database like Zotero.
Suggested Words to Search For
In both databases and on Google, try "problem oriented policing" and "models" or "problem solving" and "police" and "models".
In Google it's helpful to add a .gov domain to your search.
Developing Your Search Strategy
- Make a thesis statement about your assignment. What is your project going to answer or develop? What do you already know about your topic?
- Look over your assignment. Highlight the main point and key words you need for your search strategy.
- Identify key concepts. What two or three words describe the major points of your project?
- Think about alternate forms and synonyms of the words used.
- Develop "concept blocks", each concept block made of similar words that describe a topic, then link the topics together to see if you can get specific information about your thesis statement
Starting Your Search
- Use reference sources to get a broad overview of your topic.
- Use books to gain more background and depth about the topic.
- Move finally to journal articles to gain more current information and targeted specific facts and updates about the topic, and to substantiate your theories and research.
- Use reliable websites sparingly to add currency and authority if you are unable to find the materials in other ways.