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Researching Police Reform

This guide provides resources and search techniques for locating information about understanding and changing police work.

Research Strategies: Police Reform

1. When researching police reform, use both specialized, dedicated search tools and broader article searches. Dedicated searches are produced by police agencies and departments, journalists, and reform advocacy groups. Each of these tools have value and none should be used exclusively and all should be read with an eye to both usefulness, limitations and potential blind spots.

2. When searching article databases such as those listed in the Research Articles section of this guide, be aware of what you are searching (subject-specific articles, or articles across disciplines?). Take time to hone and focus your search. Take time to think of synonyms for concepts, especially if you are looking at older articles. Take time to understand how the search tools work. If search results are not relevant, adjust your search; get help with this from a librarian if need be (the chat window will eventually pop out if you stay on a library page long enough).

3. Recall that humans are vulnerable to confirmation bias; do your research with an eye to convincing an audience that holds different beliefs based on different experience from your own, and also with an eye to understanding information that may cause you to make some adjustment to your own perspective.

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