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National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Abstracts Database: Sample Searches

Information clearinghouse related to research, policy, and practice in criminal justice

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Please note that the links below will only work if you are authenticated to NCJRS Abstracts Database

Topical Index

If you need ideas on keyword searches or how terms and subjects are related, consider this Topical Index from NCJRS

Note:  because the items are indexed on the ProQuest platform, the search paths may not be exact, but will provide you ideas as to how to extract what you need. 

Sample Searches

Basic Search

You're doing a literature review for Criminology 101 on missing persons.  In the basic search box, enter the words abduction OR kidnapping--including the word OR between the two terms which will expand your search initially to include both keywords rather than doing two searches: one for abduction and one for kidnapping.

Results will come in order of relevancy, but that can be resorted by choosing Most recent first on the left.  

HINT:  If you want to expand your search even more during your basic search, use asterisks:  abduc* OR kidnap*.  This will allow your search to include terms like abductor, kidnapper, etc.  (The asterisk is a wildcard symbol that fills in additional letters).

Advanced Search

Your instructor refers to a professor named Shelley Johnson Listwan often in the course lectures.  You want to see what types of things she has written.  Because she has three names with spellings that may vary (Shelly vs. Shelley, etc), use the Advanced Search author lookup to find an exact match.

Using the dropdown to the right of the search field on the Advanced Search screen, select the AU, or author field.  A link to an Author look up with then appear.  Clicking on that will take you to a dialog box where you can type in johnson in the "Enter a name" field.  Check the radio button of "Begins with" since Johnson is a very common name.  When selecting "Add to search", the specific author name will be added to your Advanced Search form and you can execute your search by clicking on Search.

HINT:  The power of the Look up will be expanded when you also go back to the Author Look up and enter listwan (just Contains, not Begins with).  This will reveal three options for her.  Checking them all and adding them to your search will ensure your search results in any variation of how her name is indexed.