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Ethel K Smith Library

PSI: Psychology and Social Science Intensive: Serial Killer Choice

Killers and Cases

So, why Serial Killers?  

While the topic is a bit unsettling, at best, Serial Killers (as a search term/concept) represents an excellent intersection of the three fields of study that comprise PSI: Psychology & Social Science Intensive as a Bridge Program.  

At the very least, the topic of Serial Killers requires research in Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice.  What makes these offenders kill?  Why do we, as the public, have such a visceral response to this topic?  Where does the study of Psychology overlap with Criminology and then inform Criminal Justice.  Here is the perfect place...the place where research meshes; it is that highlighted spot on the proverbial Venn Diagram which we are, as researchers, always chasing.  This approach to any research will prove we are more informed, obsessively comprehensive, and up-to-date in the tasks Academic requires.  

There are a myriad of search strategies possible in addressing the topic of Serial Killers, especially specific cases.  We will review these search strategies as we review your LibGuide tabs.  The way the search strategies merge will become clearer the more you actually research.  That is why we call it research...we search, then search again, and then search again...

We will start with an example, the Librarians' Choice, if you will.  We have chosen Jack the Ripper for a variety of reasons: everyone has heard of Jack the Ripper, a definitive suspect remains unidentified, and the suspect permeates the media and popular culture.  As novice researchers, you may argue this is an easy example; Librarians would disagree - the more information and content on a topic, the more difficult that topic becomes.  We must employ search strategies. These search strategies will be explained in detail as we proceed throughout the day.  A favorite tool, for us, is a content/concept/bubble/mind map.  That is where we will begin and see how those elements parlay into the search techniques.

So we may connect and engage with the topic(s) and search techniques, we will divide into groups so we may learn more from each other as move through these process(es).  To kick-start your each group's topic, we have provided you with three key search terms applicable to a specific Serial Killer.

Serial Killer Group Choices (by color assignment):

H.H. Holmes - RED

  • Chicago World's Fair
  • Murder Castle
  • Bigamy

Ted Bundy - ORANGE

  • Sociopath
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation 
  • Sorority House 

Zodiac Killer - GREEN

  • Cryptography/Cipher
  • Confession Letters
  • News Agencies and Law Enforcement

John Wayne Gacy - BLUE 

  • Pogo the Clown
  • Crawl Space
  • Childhood Abuse

Librarians Choice: 

  • Jack the Ripper
    • content map (Mrs. Odom's Mind Map...)
    • sample searches