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Criminal Justice Research Guide: Web Resources

Research resources for students in the Criminal Justice program - including statistical data, judicial information, case law, and Massachusetts-specific information.

Legal Overviews

While Wikipedia is a useful tool it is generally not acceptable to use a source in research papers.  Try these sources instead:

Evaluating Websites

Evaluating websites can be a tricky business. Whereas books and articles clearly state authors, and very often their credentials and sources, the web is an open content medium, meaning ANYone can publish ANYthing. This includes highly regarded professionals and experts, people trying to sell you something (a product, an opinion, an agenda), and people just using the web as a place to post their opinions.

It takes a careful eye to determine if content on the web is reliable enough to cite in an academic paper. Some important considerations:

  • Authority - Who wrote the page and what are their credentials?
  • Accuracy - Is the information on the page actually correct? How can you tell?
  • Objectivity - Is the page expressing an opinion, or trying to sell you something?
  • Currency - When was the last time this information was updated?
  • Coverage - How in-depth is the content and to what other content does it link?

These websites can also help you evaluate the bias or "slant" of a particular new story: