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English Language Communication Research Guide

A research guide for English Language Communications students at Stevens.

Definitions of Commonly Used Library & Research Terms

An abstract is a short summary of the contents of a document, such as a journal article, that appears prior to the full-text of the item.

An anthology is a type of book that consists of essays, stories or poems by different writers.

A bibliography is a list of books and other written materials, such as journal article, that were referred to in another book or article. There are different types of bibliographies, such as analytical and annotated, which focus on one particular subject and provide a short summary below the citation.

A blog is a type of website that contains chronological entries typically produced by one person with comments contributed by readers. Blogs are generally devoted to a particular topic (such as politics or cooking) that appeals to a narrow segment of readers, such as journalists or researchers.

A Boolean operator is a connecting word or symbol that can be used in an online search engine or database to include or exclude terms. The most common Boolean operators are AND, NOT and OR.

A call number is a combination of letters and numbers assigned to a library item that are used to locate the item on the shelf. For example: FC104 .S288 2010. To find the item, first look at the letters (FC) then the number (104) followed by the additional combination of letters and numbers at the end (S288). The Library's collection is arranged according to the Library of Congress classification system.

A catalog is a list of the books in a library, usually arranged according to subject, title or author. Our Library catalog is an electronic listing of all the print and ebooks available through the Library. It allows you to view what is available, check the location of items and place holds on items. Ebooks

The circulation desk is the service desk in the Library where students, faculty and staff borrow, renew and return library items; pay fines, reserve study rooms, borrow laptops and/or iPads, and pick up holds.

A citation is a reference to a source (such as a book, journal article or website) that provides information (such as the title, author and date of publication) that allows a reader to find it.

A database is a searchable electronic collection of information about published items such as journal articles, books and newspapers. Searching a database will retrieve citations, which usually include the information about the item such as the author, title and date of publication. Citations will also include an abstract and/or full-text access to the content of the item in HTML format or as a link to a PDF document.

A doctoral (PhD program) will culminate in the submission of a dissertation. Unlike a masters thesis, a doctoral dissertation must contribute something completely new to your area of academic study and be based on original research.

A DOI is a combination of letters and numbers assigned to a publication that is found online, such as a journal article in a database. For example: 10.1037/a0028240. It provides a permanent way of locating the publication that does not rely on the URL (website address).

If a book, film or other library item is checked out, a user can place a hold on the item. After the item is returned, the Library will keep the item at the circulation desk for you to pick it up.

An index is an alphabetical list of items contained in a book, document or computer memory. It is typically found at the end of the work and provides a method of retrieving information found in the item.

ILL is the practice of lending books and documents, such as journal articles, between libraries on behalf of users.

A journal is a type of publication that is issued periodically at different points in a year (monthly, quarterly, biannually, or annually) and contain various types of articles (book reviews, literature reviews, reports, editorials, opinion pieces, and peer-reviewed research articles). Scholarly journals are aimed at scholars and researchers within a particular discipline or subject area and contain specialized article based in in-depth research conducted by academics, scholars and specialists.

A keyword is a word used to search an electronic resource, such as a library database or the Internet, in order to locate results that match that word in a specified or any part of the item, such as the title or in the full-text.

Peer review is the process by which scholars critically evaluate each other's work. When an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, an independent panel of experts read and comment on the article. If it is approved by the majority of reviewers, the article is accepted for publication.

In academic contexts, plagiarism is a type of intellectual property theft involving the use of someone else's ideas without properly crediting the original source through citation. It is a serious offense that can result in a failing grade on an assignment or in a course.

A primary source is a type of research material that has firsthand or original data on a topic and was created during the time period or at a later date by a participant in the events being studied, as in the case of a memoir or diary. Examples include research studies, personal letters, historical photographs, interviews, and newspaper articles.

The reference desk is a public service counter where professional librarians provide library users with direction to library materials, advice on library collections and services, and expertise on multiple kinds of information from multiple sources.

To renew a book is to extend the due date for an additional loan period of one or two weeks.

A secondary source is a type of research material is describing, summarizing, analyzing, evaluating, derived from, and/or based on primary source materials. Examples include textbooks, essays, biographies, and journal articles.

In the United States, a thesis is the culminating project required for a masters degree. It reflects your knowledge as it relates to your academic program. For a masters thesis you are expected to use the research of others and provide your own analysis of your discoveries.

Trade and popular publications, such as magazines or newspapers, are types of resources that provide specialized news and information for members of a specific profession and industry or for the general public. Unlike scholarly journals, trade and popular publications do not include peer-reviewed research-based articles.

A URL is an internet address comprised of a protocol type (i.e. http) and a domain name (i.e. .com) as well as letters and/or numbers that indicate the location of the page.

Adapted from Bow Valley Community College