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Rasmussen University Online Library

*School of Justice Studies*

Library and Learning Services information hub for all things School of Justice Studies.

Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Assignment Help

Click on the image below to access the Student Success Guide.  This Guide contains helpful resources and information about what to expect as a new student, time management tips, and more.

Click on the image below to link to the Discussion Post page in the Writing Guide for step-by-step instructions for writing high quality discussion posts.

Click on the image below to link to the Weekly Written Assignment page in the Writing Guide for step-by-step instructions for writing high quality discussion posts.

Need help with CCJ1000 or CJE1006?

Make an appointment with a tutor!

  • Our tutors are current Criminal Justice students and understand the challenges of the assignments unique to the Introduction to Criminal Justice class.
  • It is never too early to see a tutor.  Tutors can help clarify instructions, share tips for selecting a topic and writing your thesis statement, walk you through library database search techniques, and coach you through writing your annotated bibliography.
  • You can schedule an appointment with a tutor using Tutor Match. Select Justice Studies from the drop down menu and then pick Introduction to Criminal Justice for tutors trained specifically to help with this class.

Writing Help

  • If you need assistance with writing a paper or with APA citation style, you can select Writing/Research as the "Subject" in Tutor Match, then "APA" or "Writing Assistance" to connect with an APA or Writing tutor.
  • Looking for other writing help besides tutors?  Visit our Writing Guide or Writing Lab.


Grammarly Log in:


  • Grammarly is a software that is free to Rasmussen students and staff.
  • Grammarly checks for grammar, mechanics, spelling, word usage, and even plagiarism.
  • Grammarly is NOT a replacement for working with your instructor, a writing tutor, or the Writing Lab in our Online Tutoring Service (aka Brainfuse) .
  • There is no limit on the number of papers you can submit to Grammarly. Submit away!


  • It is a tool that will help you present your best work to your instructor.
  • When you turn in a paper that has already been reviewed by Grammarly, your instructor is then free to really focus on the content, what you have learned, without being distracted by writing errors.
  • Grammarly will help you build your confidence as you work towards becoming a better writer.


24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Grammarly will provide almost instant feedback anytime because it is an automated (computerized) service.


  • For directions on how to create a Grammarly account, click here.
  • For directions on how to use Grammarly's online version, click here.
  • For directions on how to use Grammarly's plug-in version, click here.

American Psychological Associaton (APA) citation style is an editorial style that governs:

  1. How to format your paper in Microsoft Word.
  2. How to include resources in your paper. 

View the video below for an introduction to this editorial style:


Below are some APA essentials:

APA Paper Template--Download this pre-formatted APA Paper to use for all of your APA assignments!  Watch the video for tips on how to use this time-saving template.

APA Sample Paper: The APA Sample paper includes helpful tips and information about the APA style and can be used as a model for any research paper written in the APA Style. 

APA Paper Checklist - Use this checklist to review your APA papers and assignments!

Use NoodleTools to generate APA citations.  You can also use NoodleTools to format your annotated bibliography. 

Citing Legal Resources (click the links below):

Citing a U.S. Supreme Court Case

Citing the U.S. Constitution

Need more help with APA?  Make an appointment with an APA Tutor!

Click Here for information about how to schedule an appointment!

Effectively Using the Online Library

Using the Online Library video series

Tips for Searching the Online Library

1. Create a plan for your search and create a search statement to use in a database search.

2. Select a library database for your search.

3. Enter your search statement in the search textbox.

4. On the results page, click on the PDF or HTML links to view articles in full-text. 

5. Print out or save articles you plan to include in your annotated bibliography.

View the video demonstrations of basic database searches in the Database Help tab of this guide

Selecting a Topic

When selecting a topic for the Resource Review project, be sure that your topic:

  • Matches the assignment.
    • Does your topic focus on a Criminal Justice career or a significant issue in the field of Criminal Justice?  Also, is this a topic that you, personally, find interesting?
  • Will allow you to fulfill all required elements of the assignment.
    • Required length
    • Required number and types of sources
    • Specific sections, such as application or evaluation or comparison
  • Is something you are interested in learning more about.
    • It does not need to be a topic on which you're already well informed.  The purpose of college is for you to learn new things, so let your writing assignments help you to do just that!
  • Is focused or broad enough that credible resources to support your position are easily located.
    • Your sources should shape and support your theories, arguments, or conclusions.
    • Personal opinions need to be supported with facts and statistics.  Otherwise, you're just an opinionated person rather than a well-informed writer.

Writing a Thesis Statement

  • A thesis statement clearly identifies the topic being discussed, it should only cover what is being discussed in the paper, and is written for a specific audience.
  • Your thesis statement belongs at the end of your first paragraph, also known as your introduction.
    • Use it to generate interest in your topic and encourage your audience to continue reading.
  • Here are some resources to help you write your introduction and thesis: 

Consult the Writing Guide for additional information and resources to assist with any writing assignment.

Reading Strategies

Before, During, and After Strategies for Reading will help you understand and remember what your read.  Great overall resource!

Improving Reading Comprehension is another resource to help you comprehend and retain more effectively.

SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recall, Review) will lead you through steps to make sense of the text.

Mind Mapping will help your organize your thoughts and see how concepts interrelate. Great for studying too!

K-W-L (what I Know, what I Want to know, what I Learned) will help you activate and use your prior knowledge. So important to the learning process.                  

Utilize Learning Express for reading assistance. See Adult Learning Center - Becoming a Better Reader; see College Center - Reading Review. 

Skill Surfer can also help with Reading skills.  Select ESL, College, and/or Adult College Readiness topics.

How do I take notes that will be helpful?



Explore the video & links below to help you study:

Click on the image below to link to test taking skills resources:

Database Search Tips


  • Library databases are collections of resources that are searchable, including full-text articles, books, and encyclopedias.
  • Searching library databases is different than searching Google. Best results are achieved when using Keywords linked with Boolean Operators
  • Applying Limiters such as full-text, publication date, resource type, language, geographic location, and subject help to refine search results.
  • Utilizing Phrases or Fields, in addition to an awareness of Stop Words, can focus your search and retrieve more useful results.
  • Have questions? Ask a Librarian

Boolean Operators connect keywords or concepts logically to retrieve relevant articles, books, and other resources.  There are three Boolean Operators:

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT

Using AND 

  • Narrows search results
  • Connects two or more keywords/concepts
  • All keywords/concepts connected with "and" must be in an article or resource to appear in the search results list

Venn diagram of the AND connector

Example: The result list will include resources that include both keywords -- "distracted driving" and "texting" -- in the same article or resource, represented in the shaded area where the circles intersect (area shaded in purple).

Using OR

  • Broadens search results ("OR means more!")
  • Connects two or more synonyms or related keywords/concepts
  • Resources appearing in the results list will include any of the terms connected with the OR connector

Venn diagram of the OR connector

Example:  The result list will include resources that include the keyword "texting" OR the keyword "cell phone" (entire area shaded in blue); either is acceptable.

Using NOT

  • Excludes keywords or concepts from the search
  • Narrows results by removing resources that contain the keyword or term connected with the NOT connector
  • Use sparingly

Venn diagram of the NOT connector

Example: The result list will include all resources that include the term "car" (green area) but will exclude any resource that includes the term "motorcycle" (purple area) even though the term car may be present in the resource.

A library database searches for keywords throughout the entire resource record including the full-text of the resource, subject headings, tags, bibliographic information, etc.


  • Natural language words or short phrases that describe a concept or idea
  • Can retrieve too few or irrelevant results due to full-text searching (What words would an author use to write about this topic?)
  • Provide flexibility in a search
  • Must consider synonyms or related terms to improve search results
  • TIP: Build a Keyword List

Example:  The keyword list above was developed to find resources that discuss how texting while driving results in accidents.  Notice that there are synonyms (texting and "text messaging"), related terms ("cell phones" and texting), and spelling variations ("cell phone" and cellphone).  Using keywords when searching full text requires consideration of various words that express an idea or concept.

Subject Headings

  • Predetermined "controlled vocabulary" database editors apply to resources to describe topical coverage of content
  • Can retrieve more precise search results because every article assigned that subject heading will be retrieved.
  • Provide less flexibility in a search
  • Can be combined with a keyword search to focus search results.
  • TIP: Consult database subject heading list or subject headings assigned to relevant resources

Example 1: In EBSCO's Academic Search Complete, clicking on the "Subject Terms" tab provides access to the entire subject heading list used in the database.  It also allows a search for specific subject terms.


Example 2:  A subject term can be incorporated into a keyword search by clicking on the down arrow next to "Select a Field" and selecting "Subject Terms" from the dropdown list.  Also, notice how subject headings are listed below the resource title, providing another strategy for discovering subject headings used in the database.


When a search term is more than one word, enclose the phrase in quotation marks to retrieve more precise and accurate results.  Using quotation marks around a term will search it as a "chunk," searching for those particular words together in that order within the text of a resource. 


"cell phone"

"distracted driving"

"car accident"

TIP: In some databases, neglecting to enclose phrases in quotation marks will insert the AND Boolean connector between each word resulting in unintended search results.



Truncation provides an option to search for a root of a keyword in order to retrieve resources that include variations of that word.  This feature can be used to broaden search results, although some results may not be relevant.  To truncate a keyword, type an asterisk (*) following the root of the word.

For example:



Library databases provide a variety of tools to limit and refine search results.  Limiters provide the ability to limit search results to resources having specified characteristics including:

  • Full text
  • Resource type
  • Publication date
  • Language
  • Geographic location
  • Subject

In both the EBSCO and ProQuest databases, the limiting tools are located in the left panel of the results page.

                                                 EBSCO                                                     ProQuest


The short video below provides a demonstration of how to use limiters to refine a list of search results.


Each resource in a library database is stored in a record.  In addition to the full-text of the resources, searchable Fields are attached that typically include:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Journal title
  • Date of Publication
  • Abstract
  • Subject Headings
  • Publisher

Incorporating Fields into your search can assist in focusing and refining search results by limiting the results to those resources that include specific information in a particular field.

In both EBSCO and ProQuest databases, selecting the Advanced Search option will allow Fields to be included in a search.

For example, in the Advanced Search option in EBSCO's Academic Search Complete database, clicking on the down arrow next to "Select a Field" provides a list of fields that can be searched within that database.  Select the field and enter the information in the text box to the left to use this feature.

Stop Words

Stop words are short, commonly used words--articles, prepositions, and pronouns-- that are automatically dropped from a search.  Typical stop words include:

  • a
  • an
  • and
  • the
  • also
  • but
  • for
  • in
  • is
  • of
  • so
  • which
  • when
  • was

In library databases, a stop word will not be searched even if it is included in a phrase enclosed in quotation marks.  In some instances, a word will be substituted for the stop word to allow for the other words in the phrase to be searched in proximity to one another within the text of the resource.

For example, if you searched company of America, your result list will include these variatons:

  • company in America
  • company of America
  • company for America

Creating an Search String

This short video demonstrates how to create a search string -- keywords connected with Boolean operators -- to use in a library database search to retrieve relevant resources for any research assignment.