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abstract A summary of the content of an article, or other item. Usually an abstract appears in conjunction with a bibliographic citation.
Abstracts from articles relating to particular subjects or disciplines, or from particular publications, are often gathered together into standard bibliographic tools know as indexes and abstracts -- for example, Sociological Abstracts. Online versions of these tools are often simply called databases by libraries.
annotated bibliography An annotated bibliography is made up of bibliographic citations plus explanatory notes. These notes (annotations) generally summarize and analyze the content of the article, based on the reader's knowledge of the subject matter and critical judgement of the item. An annotation is NOT simply an abstract of the article. The element of critical thinking must be present.
For more complete information, see: Annotated Bibliographies
bibliography A systematically arranged list of print or non-print materials related to each other in some way, frequently by subject. Bibliographies may be separate publications or may appear at the end of articles or books. A comprehensive list of sources used when researching a topic / person / event .... Often includes all things cited (there are exceptions), and may (sometimes) include things not specifically cited.
citation A method of documenting a work by using a series of identifiable elements to represent or describe sources used. A typical citation would contain: author, title, publication information, and other appropriate information such as page numbers. The exact form and format of a citation often varies from discipline to discipline, and publisher to publisher. Sometimes called a bibliographic citation or reference.
controlled vocabulary The words and phrases used to describe the content of items represented in a library catalogue, index, or database. The purpose of a controlled vocabulary is to allow the user more efficient access to related items by controlling the pattern, form, content and use of citation elements and subject headings. Sometimes called a thesaurus.
critical thinking Critical thinking means evaluating and assessing the validity of all evidence related to a problem, observation, topic, etc. -- taking particular note of the difference between opinion and fact. Critical thinking also includes weighing evidence, remembering that information may be true, false and/or meaningless in a given context.
For more complete information, see: Critical Thinking
index A systematically arranged list of authors, subjects, proper names, titles, etc. appearing or mentioned in a particular publication or group of publications. An index might cover a single item (such as a book) or a number of periodicals, government or institutional publications, or the like. Specialized indexes and abstracts are often used by researchers to identify needed material which has appeared in their discipline.
LCSH Library of Congress Subject Headings. A standard controlled vocabulary used by many libraries. Sometimes called "the big red books."
literature search A systematic search for all available items on a particular topic. A literature search is a major element in a research project.
peer-reviewed See, refereed
refereed Sometimes, peer-reviewed. A refereed journal contains articles that have been vetted or reviewed by other knowledgeable people in the same or a similar field to ensure the quality of the contents.
For more complete information, see: Periodicals (and Peer Review)
scientific method The scientific method of research generally includes: observing or discovering a problem to be solved, defining the problem, proposing a possible solution (forming a hypothesis), testing the hypothesis, evaluating the results (rejecting, modifying, or accepting the hypothesis), and providing context for what is learned.
scope note Scope note refers to the notes made on the scope (or definition) of a term (usually a subject heading or descriptor). Scope notes are particular to an individual controlled vocabulary.

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Created: 1998/09/11 Last updated: 2011/12/15
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