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Assignment | Serial Killer Presentation (Sawyerr): Find Your Sources

Fall 2020 | PSYC 2301 | Prof. Sawyerr

Background Information


There are certainly news articles accessible through Google, of course (though with our databases you don't have to worry so much about paywalls and monthly limits). Some tips for targeting your search:

  • Try searching the site of the killer's local newspapers (where they committed their crimes and/or were being tried, and maybe their hometown paper).
  • Search for court documents from the trial (assuming the killer was caught). Just "court documents [killer name]" will get you started. The case will probably be named something like Killer v. US or State.
  • The FBI probably has at least some info for US-based killers! You can search their site (or government sites more generally) by appending or just to your Google search.
Google Web Search

Top Article Databases for Scholarly Info

Digging Deeper       As you ask the WHY questions on this topic you will want to dig deeper into the psycho-social aspects of your topic. What do the subject experts, the researchers, and the scholars say? 

Scholarly sources and credible sources can be found in these collections. Articles from journals are usually scholarly. Articles from newspapers and magazines are examined for credibility. Some of the database collections allow you to limit for scholarly articles. 

Even More Databases:

Consider which disciplines apply to your specific topic when choosing your databases.

DatabasesResearch Databases (Main Page)

Databases (Searchable List)

Books: Credible or Scholarly?

A scholarly book, like a scholarly article, has more going on than just "nonfiction." A good sign of a scholarly book is to check the publisher to see if it's from a university press (e.g. University of Texas Press) or professional society (like the American Psychological Association). Scholarly books will also be much more diligent with their citations.

For example,

Sample Scholarly Article

Evaluate Information

Use the C R A A P Test
to test the validity of your sources.

CRAAP test factors: Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, Purpose

How to Read a Scholarly Research Article