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Thinking about your sources

This session is designed to support your final assignment.  Dr. Holmgren has provided everyone with a breakdown of the assignment instructions, but to sum up, you will have to:

  • Create a presentation relating to the psychological, sociological or psychiatric elements of an assigned criminal case.
  • Write a supporting summary paper to accompany your presentation.
  • Your paper must incorporate 8 scholarly sources.
  • You should format both your presentation and paper in APA.

Why using good sources matter...

When you endeavor to find sources related to a topic of interest for your academic writing, you are demonstrating a number of skills

  • You are able to synthesize a variety of information and integrate it into your own work
  • You are able to investigate the dialogue that has occurred related to an area of interest and engage in that conversation through your academic writing
  • Using good, credible reliable sources will elevate the accuracy and authority of your own work

Authority is Constructed and Contextual

Information, in any format, is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method.  The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting produce reflects these differences (ACRL par. 13).

  • Information creations are valued differently depending on the context and purpose for which they are created
  • Audience matters. Certain things are created for specific purposes and don't make one format of information better. It is up to us to discern what information process best fits our information needs.
  • In your own creation process, understand that your choices in what type of information you use, impact the purpose for which the information product you create will be used and the message it conveys.

scholarly publication contains articles written by experts in a particular field. The primary audience of these articles is other experts. ... Academics use a variety of terms and language to describe this: "peer-reviewed", vetted academic, or "refereed". They all mean essentially the same thing and refer to the editorial and publication process in which scholars in the same field review the research and findings before the article is published, checking for validity, originality, and quality. 

  Scholarly / Peer-Reviewed Popular/Not Scholarly
Author Expert Journalist / Professional Writer
Review Reviewed by an editorial board or other experts ("peers") Reviewed by an editor
Audience /
Scholars and students / Academic
Technical language
General public
Easy to understand

Original Research
Uses previously published literature for background

News and practical information
Uses a variety of sources for background 
Sources Always cited Sometimes cited

Peer-reviewed articles
Scholarly books
Literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis
Thesis and dissertations

Academic encyclopedias

Magazine articles
Newspaper articles
Blog articles
web encyclopedias (wiki)
Social media

  1. What are the author’s credentials? Is it written by an expert?
  2. Published in a journal (is there a DOI?) If you are not sure if it is a journal article enter the title of the publication into Ulrichs Web
  3. Academic language
  4. Includes reference list
  5. Length
  6. A "Received" and "Accepted" date
  7. Is it an actual article? Sometimes other types of content are included in scholarly publications, such as editorials/opinion pieces and book reviews.  Make sure you are looking at an article. 


Holmgren, J. A., & Fordham, J. (2011). The CSI effect and the Canadian and the Australian jury. Journal of Forensic Sciences56, S63-S71.

Yanushkevich, S. N., Sundberg, K. W., Twyman, N. W., Guest, R. M., & Shmerko, V. P. (2019). Cognitive checkpoint: Emerging technologies for biometric-enabled watchlist screening. Computers & Security85, 372-385.


This may be review for some, but let's take a very quick look at the following resources (skim, don't read) and think about some of the points discussed.  Was this published in an academic venue by a disciplinary "expert"?  Vote if you think this is a scholarly source that you can use in your report, or if what you are looking at is not scholarly. 

Source 1

Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Not Scholarly: 15 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 15
Scholarly: 12 votes (100%)
Not Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 12
Scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
Not Scholarly: 12 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 12
Scholarly: 3 votes (18.75%)
Not Scholarly: 13 votes (81.25%)
Total Votes: 16
Scholarly: 12 votes (75%)
Not Scholarly: 4 votes (25%)
Total Votes: 16

But seriously...

Your scholarly sources will likely be one of the following:

  • A peer-reviewed journal article
  • An academic encyclopedia entry (that gives you some substantive information)
  • An academic book or book chapter (published by an academic press, written by a scholar)


Use your critical evaluation skills to determine whether your other sources are good enough to use in this assignment! Look for references to data, evidence, and links to other scholarship.  Make sure that the source you use comes from a reliable source.

Finding and citing your sources


  • Don't necessarily search for information about your case, as very few cases will have scholarly sources directly tied to it. This report and project is about the factors contributing to criminal behaviour, not the crime itself.
  • Ask yourself some questions about the case to get a better sense of what you are looking for.  Sometimes it helps to consider the who, what, when, why, and how of the details.  
  • Start with a reference source like the DSM-V and build from there.  Academic reference sources often cite other scholarship.

Questions to consider

  • Are you using the terminology that an expert in the field would use?
  • Is there more than one way to spell the word?
  • Are there any synonyms or other terms that could apply to your topic?

Citation Example (entire work online): *don't forget hanging indents

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

Example of a chapter:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Anxiety disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

Example of an article found in the DSM5 database

Nurnberg, H. G., Hurt, S. W., Feldman, A., & Suh, R. (1988). Evaluation of diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry145(10), 1280-1284.

*Note, there are many articles/secondary sources that appear to have "no access".  Try clicking on the chapter OR copying and pasting the title in LibrarySearch or Google Scholar.  We should have access directly or indirectly to most of these articles. 


Library Search

Things to remember when using Library Search:

  1. Sign in to save searches, items, and to request materials.

  2. Use the pin icon to save books and articles. 

  3. Use the filters on the right. You will use Availability, Resource Type, and Date filters most often.

  4. Some items won't be available. You can request unavailable items using interlibrary loan.

  5. When viewing an item record, scroll down to the Get It or Full Text section to get the item.

Search Smarter!

You can search in a way to combine or omit different terms by telling the search engine exactly what you want…this can help you save some time (and frustration!)

  • Use quotation marks to keep phrases together - "strain theory"

  • Use  AND to combine search terms - "strain theory" AND "racial profiling"

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms - "strain theories" OR "anomie theories"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol - societ*  (society, societies, societal etc.)

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar is another great way to find peer-reviewed/scholarly material. Google Scholar has a nifty citation chaining function.  The Cited by function will forward you to indexed scholarly material that has cited an article that you may be interested in.  The Related Articles link will direct you to similar articles that may have the same metadata or keywords. 

The Advanced Search is found by clicking the menu icon (top left).
Besides providing links to articles in MRU databases, Google Scholar links to online repositories that contain articles the author has been allowed to upload. and ResearchGate are among the repositories searched by Google Scholar.

By clicking on the Settings icon, you can select library links to show library access for up to 5 libraries (type in Mount Royal and click on save).  If you are logged into the MRU library, links should automatically populate if you are running a Google search in another window. 


CanLII (The Canadian Legal Information Institute) is a freely available database powered and supported by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.  Content focuses on Canadian primary law sources that include: 

  • Jurisprudence (Federal and Provincial case law, tribunal decisions).
  • Legislation (Federal and Provincial statutes and regulations)
  • Commentary (both refereed and crowd-generated commentary).
  • Cite Sources: Learn the correct way to cite sources by using these guides, tutorials, and videos.
  • Referencing Webinars: APA & MLA. Referencing Webinars are 75 minutes long.  Registration is required.
  • Online Appointments: Personalized online 30-minute appointments with a Learning Strategist.

New SLS APA Referencing Tutorial on D2L

This self-paced 90-minute tutorial covers the same content as our live workshop—why citation is important along with the basics of in-text citations and reference entries in APA Style. Students who complete the tutorial will gain access to a form they can fill out and submit as proof of completion.

Access the tutorial on D2L: Using Google Chrome as your web browser, log in to D2L ( with your account. Click the “Discover” tab, then type “APA” in the search bar. Click on the “APA Referencing Tutorial” link and then the “Enroll in Course” button. If you have any questions about the tutorial, contact


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Madelaine Vanderwerff

Office: EL4441M