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CRIM20006 Punishment and Social Control: Reports, policy papers and statistics

This guide has been designed to support your research assignments and contains links to library resources relevant to criminology. It also includes examples of different resource types and information on how to evaluate them.


There is no one ultimate source for reports so you will need to search for them on the internet. You must be careful, however, as searching for reports on the open web can be difficult and can result in obtaining outdated, unreliable or dubious publications.

Reputable reports are usually published on government or not-for-profit organisational websites so restrict your searching to .gov or .org domains. 

On Google, go to Settings > Advanced search and type in .gov or .org in the site or domain field to restrict to government or organisational websites.

Reports are usually highly structured and are extensively backed up with statistics, diagrams and sections by government, academic or organisational experts. They usually introduce the funding body and principal researchers in the introduction. They differ to academic journal articles as they usually present facts and findings in an objective manner rather than through academic opinion or argument.

Good examples of reports:

Subject specific websites

Here is a selection of websites that are useful for searching for reports, policy papers and statistics. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and we encourage you to search on other .gov or .org websites.

Policy papers

Like reports, policy papers will most often need to be found on government websites.

On Google, go to Settings > Advanced search and type in .gov or .org in the site or domain field to restrict to government or organisational websites.

Policy papers outline a strategy or approach dealing with a particular issue. They are usually directed at a specific organisation or agency, are concise and detail direct actions and strategies that are backed up with strong evidence in support of a particular position. They can be used to provide evidence on a particular body's stance on an issue and highlight key measures that they are pursuing to address it.

Good examples of policy papers:

The Public Policy Subject Research Guide also contains useful links to policy resources.

Other useful documents