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Home: Glossary

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Why a glossary?

Many problems students have with the research process are a result of a misunderstanding of terms.  There are different ways to say the same thing.  Some of the terms are confusing.  Hopefully, this will assist you when you are lost.

The Ultimate Glossary

Abstract: Same thing as a summary.  See “summary.”

Annotated bibliography:  A list of bibliographic citations with a summary of the source.  You can also state how you used the source, what you learned from it, why you think its good or bad, and/or why you did (or didn’t) include it in your project. 

APA: Stands for the American Psychological Association.  Used at Monty Tech for the sciences, education, psychology, business, nursing, dental assisting, vocational, technical, and health professions.

Authority:  An acceptable source of information

Bibliography:  A bibliography lists sources you used and reviewed.  Sometimes you will hear teachers say they want your bibliography, when they mean Works Cited or References, depending on the style of the paper.

Blueprint:  Some teachers require this.  This is a plan of action for the paper.  It’s usually one sentence long and goes at the end of your introduction, after your thesis statement.  This will outline all your supporting points to back up your thesis and will provide an outline for your body paragraphs. 

Body:  The “mid-section” of your product (between the introductory paragraph and the conclusion).

Citation: A reference to a source.  There are two types of citations: parenthetical citations and bibliographic citations.  See “parenthetical citations” and “bibliographic citations.”

Citation generator:  An online tool that formats your citations for you.

Cite: The act of documenting your sources.

Conclusion: The last paragraph of your paper or product.  It should restate your thesis and sum up all your subtopics. 

Copyright: A protection of “intellectual property” granted by the U.S. Constitution.  It applies as soon as an expression is in a physical form such as written work (print or online), art, musical scores, song lyrics, poems, software, etc.  It is also the year of publication (copyright year).

Coverage: Informative and relevant.

Currency:  Up-to-date.

Database: Available through subscription only, they provide access to content and articles from books, magazines, journals, and newspapers that have been written and/or edited by experts in their field.  

Direct quote:  Same thing as a quotation.  See “quotation.”

Essential question:  A question that looks deeply into a subject for greater meaning.  It makes meaningful connections with prior learning and/or personal experiences.  It creates discussion and even more questions.  It can consider alternatives and justify answers.  It can't be answered with a sentence or two. 

Five-paragraph essay:  Contains an introductory paragraph with a three-pronged thesis statement, three body paragraphs that support your thesis, and a conclusion. 

Guiding statement:  A general statement in the first person that explains the task ahead.

Introduction:  Also known as introductory paragraph.  See “introductory paragraph.”

Introductory paragraph: The first paragraph in your research paper.  It should contain an attention grabber: an example, statistic, interesting historical fact, an anecdote (little story - two sentences or less), or a quote relating to your topic.  Next is a very brief summary of the topic or issue, followed by your thesis statement at the end.

In-text citations:  Also known as parenthetical citations.  See “parenthetical citations.”

Lead-in:  Same as a signal phrase.  See “signal phrase.”

MLA: Stands for Modern Language Association.  Used at Monty Tech for English, history, and foreign language.

Objectivity:  Based on facts without prejudice or bias.

Outline: A list divided into headings for your research paper. 

Paraphrase:  A rewording of a paragraph or section from the source and into your own words.  Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original.

Plagiarism:  To "plagiarize" is to present someone else's writing or ideas as your own.  The most common example is copying something word for word, including phrases unique to someone's writing style, without the use of quotation marks.   You also plagiarize when you use someone's ideas without giving them credit.

Prompt:  A question posed which asks you to write an essay.

Quotation:  A group of words taken from another person either in text or speech.

Quote:  Same thing as a quote.  See “quotation.”

Signal phrase:  Introduces a quote.   The signal phrase gives the quote some context and helps the flow of your paper.

References:  (APA) Lists every source used in your work in alphabetical order.  It's always at the end.

Research: A methodical investigation into a subject.  The purpose is discovery, to check facts, and/or reach new conclusions.  “Methodical” means there’s a method.  Research requires that you review and evaluate multiple sources.  

Slug: A subtopic or category for your notes.  It’s a term from the field of journalism.

Source:  Any place that you found information.  Can be a book, website, database, another person, movie, song, etc.

Subject:  The overarching field of study.

Subtopic: A smaller, related piece of the topic.

Summary:  An extraction of the main idea(s) of a paragraph or section and in your own words.  Summaries are shorter than paraphrases and take a broader view of the source material.

Thesis: Same thing as a thesis statement.  See “thesis statement.”

Thesis statement: A sentence or two that summarizes your main idea and directs the whole paper. It is strong and defined.  See also “working thesis.”

Topic:  A section or division of the subject.

Works Cited: (MLA) lists every source used in your work in alphabetical order.  It's always at the end.

Working thesis: The answer to your essential question based on your background knowledge. Even though it may change, your teacher may ask for one. 

Subject Guide

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Jennifer Jourdain
Montachusett Regional Voc Tech School
1050 Westminster Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
(978) 345-9200 x5125