The Online Encyclopedia of Criminal Justice is a student-based collaborative project at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke that relies on technology to create a research and teaching tool for criminal justice scholars. The encyclopedia is an ongoing project that is created with "wiki" software to create encyclopedia entries on topics pertaining to criminal justice and related fields. Students edit, revise, and organize content with the intent to provide a useful resource for learning about criminal justice and related topics. The encyclopedia covers criminal justice topics including advanced criminal law, alternative dispute resolution, courts, criminal procedures, death penalty, judicial decisions, the sociology of deviance, and many more.
1. Help students improve writing skills, citation, and other aspects of academic writing.
2. Provide useful information on law, criminal justice, sociology, and criminology.
Target Student Population:
High school and undergraduate student populations especially those studying criminal justice or any social science dealing with criminal justice matters.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Type of Material:
In class, homework, and group work
Evaluation and Observation
The encyclopedia has been used by Dr. Kenneth Mentor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in his courses as a tool to enhance the criminal justice research conducted by the students while allowing for a focus on academic writing skills. The development of entries for the encyclopedia also allow for the students to develop skills in proofreading, editing, and organizing of the content within the encyclopedia.
Readers need to be aware that the majority of work completed on this project is done by students. There are entries in the encyclopedia that fail to meet the same standards that are often expected from academics and criminal justice professionals.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The encyclopedia is a teaching tool used at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and as such reflects the educational accomplishments of criminal justice students as they progress with their studies. It provides the students with the ability to create useful material that can be used by others while offering significant educational opportunities in research and writing along with peer interaction.
Many of the entries appear to contain material directly taken from other sources. Additionally, many of the entries have been removed from the encyclopedia and a clear redirection to the page or other information is not present. More than 20 links included in the references were checked and either were no longer valid links or the URL now belonged to another owner.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is very simple to navigate by moving one's mouse and clicking on a term.
Many of the entries have either been removed or moved and there is no clear direction on how to find the material. Automatic redirection is not available. Many of the links to reference material did not appear to be valid and some of the reference material was rather dated. Misstatements, inaccuracies, and plagiarized material make the site unreliable as a source of information and marginal as an example of research writing for college level scholars.