Criminal justice students can contribute to the research findings and help advance the field by participating in research. All students are required to participate in research as part of an intro course.
Research is critical in understanding the components of criminal justice and its impact. People often ask why a particular crime occurs, why a certain defendant was acquitted or convicted, why a law has had unintended consequences, or how recidivism can be reduced. These are all questions that research on criminal justice will continue to try to answer.
We encourage all of our students to participate in this research. In doing so, students will also learn about how to properly conduct research. While getting their degree, some criminal justice students assist in research carried out by professors, participate on a research team, or even conduct their own primary research for undergraduate projects.
Many legal research opportunities exist for students to be published in recognized journals and publications, or even present at national conferences. Here is a sample of what our students have published or presented:
- Miller, M. K., & Thomas, A. (2015). Understanding changes in community sentiment about drug use during pregnancy using a repeated measures design. In M. Miller, J. Blumenthal, & J. Chamberlain (Eds.), Handbook of community sentiment. (pp. 113-128). New York, NY: Springer.
- Boppre, B. L., & Miller, M. K. (2014). How victim and execution impact statements affect mock jurors' perceptions, emotions, and verdicts. Victims and Offenders, 9, 413-435. doi: 10.1080/15564886.2013.845124.
- Forsythe, S., & Miller, M. K. (2014). Novel defenses in the courtroom. The Jury Expert, 26, 1-16.
- Miller, M. K., & Maskaly, J. (2014). Establishing child support and visitation enforcement offices: Promoting fairness, compliance, and children's wellbeing. In M. K. Miller, J. Chamberlain, & T. Wingrove (Eds.), Psychology, law, and the wellbeing of children (pp. 138-154). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Barthe, E., Huff, J. (2014, November). Policing non-traditional spaces: the case of Burning Man. American Society of Criminology. San Francisco, CA
For those students interested in research and who demonstrate excellence in statistics, research methods and writing, they may choose to pursue research assistance with one of our faculty members. Some faculty research topics include:
- crime prevention
- Amber Alert system
- the emotional and physical well-being of law enforcement officers
- contemporary case law in regard to the impacts of rape law reform
- experiences and stressors encountered by crime scene investigators
- biases in legal decision-making and attitudes toward legal issues
- community policing and problem solving
- abuses in correctional facilities
Sources for Legal Research
Any justice or justice-related professional at some point in their career will need to find primary legal resources, such a state or federal statute or an appellate court case. There also are secondary legal sources that are useful, such as law journals or review articles.
In northern Nevada, there are two public law libraries:
- The Washoe County Law Library, 75 Court St. in Reno, is open daily and evenings. Call (775) 328-3250 for current operating hours.
- The Nevada Supreme Court Law Library is located in Carson City at 201 S. Carson St. It is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (775) 684-1640.
State law websites:
- The Nevada Legislature: Access the latest information on Nevada legislative sessions, including the status of bills and past sessions. From this site, users also can link to the state law library and research Nevada's current statutes - Nevada Revised Statutes - as well as the state's Administrative Code.
- The Nevada Supreme Court: Provides information on the state's courts and also a link to the state online law library.
Legal Research Websites
- Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute (LII)
- Findlaw.com is one of the best known sites and located at www.findlaw.com. The site largely focuses on general legal information for the public. People also can click on link to the legal professional site (upper right hand corner) for legal research of primary resources by jurisdiction or topic.
If students are interested in learning more about legal resources and research, the Department of Criminal Justice offers a five-week, one-credit course each spring semester (CRJ 126: Legal Research and Method).