This guide aims to identify key information sources for studying criminology including case law, legislation and academic journal articles. For crime and justice statistics see our statistics page and our referencing page for help with using Harvard. 

For additional help and advice, please contact your librarian.

Finding journal articles

A good general starting point if you are looking for journal articles on a specific subject is to use the library's Discover service. Discover is a fast, broad search across the majority of the library's full text resources. 


Databases allow you to perform more focused searches which can help you find relevant information more quickly.

  • Proquest Central is a large multidisciplinary database with over 19,000 journal titles (millions of articles) in full text. The data covers 1905 to present. As well as journal articles, the database includes international newspapers and dissertations. You may want to watch these short YouTube videos on searching Proquest
  • Web of Science Core Collection includes the Social Sciences Citation Index which indexes over 1700 major social sciences journals from 1900 onwards
  • JSTOR is an archive collection of scholarly journal articles. Coverage is from volume one, issue one with a moving wall of four to five years behind the current edition
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences is a unique resource which indexes over two million journal articles, book reviews and book chapters from 1951 to the present providing international coverage of social science and related disciplines. Over 7000 books and 3000 journals are indexed annually

Legal databases

You can use the two main legal databases Westlaw or LexisLibrary to find journal articles. This is particularly useful if you want to read journal articles on a specific case or piece of legislation since the two databases link this information. 

  • Westlaw If you are looking for journal articles relating to a specific case, the easiest way is to choose the Journal articles link from the Case Analysis screen for the case you are looking at. This will give you a list of all articles discussing that case. Alternatively, choose the Journals option from the top toolbar. This will search across only the journal content in the database. Choose Advanced Search for more focused searching. You can search for articles discussing specific cases, parties in a case, acts, sections of legislation or articles within specific publications. Not all articles within the database are in full text. This does not mean that you cannot get the full text. Open another window on your browser, and search for the journal title (not the article title) on the journal A-Z list. Navigate to the article from there. For more help, try the Westlaw training tutorial for finding journal articles
  • LexisLibrary Choose the Journals tab. This gives you lots of options for searching, including a general search across the full text of journal articles. Do this in the Search terms box. Alternatively, use the Advanced Search option to search by author or citation. Get tips on improving your searching from the LexisLibrary training pages

Case law and legislation

Legislation (statute) and case law are the two primary sources of Scots law. There are many free sources of case reports and legislation available but since the law is subject to change and legal decisions can be overturned, you must be careful that you are using the most up to date information. The two key legal databases for finding case law are Westlaw UK and LexisLibrary. These are specialist databases which are updated daily to ensure that you are accessing the current law. Log in with your domain username and password.

  • Westlaw has current case law and legislation. For help using the database, you may want to try a Westlaw tutorial
  • Use LexisLibrary for case law and legislation. See LexisLibrary training to get the most out of the database
  • The BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute) web site has British and Irish case law and legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material. It is a free, open access website

For links to key European and worldwide case law and legislation, please see the Law subject guide.