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Research Guides

CRI3340 Health and Justice

Recommended Resources and Search Strategies


This brief guide will introduce you to resources and search strategies designed to assist you in locating literature on the following topic:  

the training and educational needs of probation and parole officers who supervise/support clients with mental health and addictions concerns 

Recommended databases:

Search strategies will cover basic keyword and Boolean.  Most databases also include filters and field limiters to assist you in fine-tuning and focusing your results.

Formulate a search strategy

  • Identify the individual concepts that make up your topic
  • Scan the assignment details for appropriate keywords and match them to their respective concepts 
  • List potential synonyms and alternative terms for each concept
  • Mine your search results for additional terms.
Concept #1 Concept #2 Concept #3 (Concept #4) (Concept #5)
  • probation officer/supervisor
  • parole officer/supervisor
  • correction* officer
  • education
  • training
  • programs
  • mental health
  • addiction
  • drug abuse
  • substance abuse
  • best practices
  • evidence
  • policy
  • gender
  • women
  • female
  • LGBT
  • transgender

Keyword Search:

  • For this example we will use Summon, a mega-database, which covers a majority of the library's online and print resources.
  • To perform a keyword search select a term from each concept and enter them into the search box:


  • probation officer training mental* (the asterisk is a truncation symbol which searches multiple word/phrase endings, e.g., mental health; mental illness; mentally ill; mentally disordered)
  • You can perform this simple search (and variations on it), in most databases, however you'll notice the hitlists will likely vary due to differences in content coverage and search algorithms.
  • As with most search engines you can use filters (e.g., scholarly articles, subject, date) to fine-tune your search

Boolean Searching:

  • The Boolean search (using AND, OR), usually performed on the Advanced search screen, allows you to use all of the variant keywords for each concept within a single search statement.


  • probation OR parole finds records containing either one of these terms, whereas (probation or parole) AND (education or training) finds records containing either probation or parole in addition to the terms education or training

  • For this example we will look briefly at EBSCO and  ProQuest.  Unlike Summon, which is a single database, both ProQuest and EBSCO are multi-file databases, which means you can search:
    • each database as a whole
    • individual files
    • a selection of files from each database

Sample Search:

  • (probation officer or parole officer) and (education or training) and (mental* or addict* or drug* or substance)
  • As with Summon, you can use filters (e.g., Source type, Subject, Database) to focus your search 
  • You can also use field limiters (e.g., subject, title, anywhere except full text (ProQuest)) to further fine-tune your results
  • With ProQuest you can search within your results (e.g., best practice* or evidence or policy)
  • ProQuest also provides links to References as well as Citing articles
  • Caveat: When doing a simple keyword search in EBSCO be sure to change the default under Search Modes and Expanders to Find all my search terms.


  • Use Basic Search to do a keyword search
  • Use Multi-Field Search to do a Boolean search
  • Medline also provides links to Citing articles

Web of Science (SSCI)

  • Provides links to citing references
  • Can also perform a Cited Reference Search

Google Advanced

  • From the Google Advanced screen enter a keyword search in the all these words search box. This option functions as a Boolean AND search
  • Example parole education drug canada
  • In the any of these words search box enter the variant keywords/synonyms for one of your search concepts. This option functions as a Boolean OR search
  • Example: "best practice" evidence policy
  • You can experiment with entering in turn in this search box each concept's keywords for subsequent searches
  • Under File type select Adobe Acrobat PDF

Canadian Government Docs - Google Custom Search

  • Perform a keyword search
  • Note that you can limit to Federal and Provincial documents