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Criminal Law (including Police Conduct): Tips for Research and Writing

This guide is primarily for Villanova U. School of Law students writing papers for courses in Criminal Law and the Police Conduct seminar.

Books on Writing

Below are a few books on writing. For additional suggestions, consult with a Reference Librarian or check the library catalog. Or check out this list.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography of Sources

Tips on Creating an Annotated Bibliography

1. Understand what it is.

An annotated bibliography is a list of the sources you plan to use for your paper. Each source is listed with a brief description of the source AND how it relates to your paper topic.


2. As you research, create your list of sources.

As you find books, articles, statutes and cases related to your paper topic, put information about each source in your DRAFT Annotated Bibliography document. For each source include the title, author, citation, date and any other information needed (e.g. a book chapter title or page range or pincites).


3. After reading a source, write an annotation for that source.

As you read each of your sources, write a brief summary of how you will use it in your research paper. Make note of the useful parts of the source, how each part relates to your topic, and where that information fits within the outline of your paper.

See Purdue Online Writing Lab on Annotated Bibliographies  OR University of Newcastle Library Guide on Annotated Bibliographies  

Lexis for Microsoft Word

Lexis for Microsoft Office allows you to easily access Lexis from within Microsoft Word. Features include tools for cite checking, citation formating, and creation of Table of Authorities. To use Lexis for Microsoft Office you must DOWNLOAD the latest version of the software. Logon to LexisNexis and click APPS & TOOLS for the download link.

Research Management Systems

Citation management software allows you to track your sources as you use them rather than waiting until the end of a project to retype a separate bibliography or Table of Authorities. This software also auto formats your citations in Bluebook format. (You still need to REVIEW and EDIT the citations.It's not perfect but it can save time.) For more information, check out this guide:

Subject Guide

Writing Competitions

You've done all the work, why not enter your paper in a writing competition? For more information about some competitions, check out these links and read about a recent Villanova Law student winner.