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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Humanities and Justice Studies: Research tips

Resources for students and and faculty learning or teaching in the Humanities and Justice major.

Cite your sources!

Whenever you include data, be sure to indicate the organization, date, URL etc. either in the text or in your footnotes, endnotes or reference list. For help with citing sources, see the library's citing sources guide.

Check out this great academic integrity tutorial from Claremont Colleges Library.

Search tips

Think of questions and terms about your topic and break down into key words. These words will be the ones you want to use in your searches.

Start with a general search. Search using one main concept. Don't search using a long phrase.

When you have a list of results, look at the database’s list of subject terms that comes up (often listed on the left or right side of the database results page). If they are relevant to your topic, search on these as well.They will help to target your results.

Truncate search terms to retrieve all variants of a term. Searching on the term cloth*, will retrieve items that contain the following terms: clothes, clothing, clothed, cloth, etc. Other databases may use different truncation terms such as ?, +, !, % or $. If you’re not sure, check the search tips or help feature within the database you are searching.

Adapt your search strategy. Be flexible in your searching. If one term doesn't work, try a different one. Approach your topic using as many search strategies as you can think of. There will never be one perfect search for your topic. If you retrieve too many articles, try limiting terms to particular fields or adding additional search terms. If you retrieve too few articles, try removing terms or using different terms.


HJS students might find RefWorks a useful tool to collect and organize research as well as to help with creating bibliographies and in-text citations using the proper citation format. See this guide for more using RefWorks.