Online Guide to Writing and Research




abstract—A summary students write for their assignments, especially for longer papers, designed to provide an accurate description of the original source

academic research—The complex, investigative research students produce in college

academic writing—Writing that students and others perform; emphasis is on the writing and research process as well as the written product; usually written to demonstrate learning

analysis—Breaking some idea or concept into its parts to understand it better

annotated bibliography—A special bibliography where entries include added information about the sources

APA—Shorthand name for the style guide used by the American Psychological Association; used most commonly in documenting research in social sciences and humanities

application—The experiential operation of knowledge

argumentative techniques—Formal rhetorical and logical techniques to argue your point of view

audience analysis—Detailed examination of the significant characteristics of an audience so that you can tailor your writing to meet its needs

audience profile—A tool writers use that describes the significant characteristics of the audience for whom they are writing

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barcode—The 14-digit number on the back of your UMUC student identification card

bibliography—A list of works a writer presents for background or further reading

brainstorming—Prewriting technique used to generate ideas

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causes and effects (causal analysis)—Establishing a relationship between two things or among more than two things where there is a motive and a consequence; a thinking and organization pattern used in writing

CD-ROM (Compact Disk, Read-Only Memory)—A disk that contains information that is "read" using a CD-ROM drive and microcomputer

chaining—A structured, visual free association of ideas to help you start writing

citation—A reference note that includes the title, author, publisher, year, and page number of a source; both MLA and APA use this term to refer to "in-text" citations; a note used after quotations and paraphrases that gives the author, year, and page number of the source

cognitive objectives—The desired learning outcomes of specific thinking tasks

collaborative writing—Writing a paper as a team where the learning and writing processes are emphasized, as well as the final product

college writing—The writing students do while attending college; see academic writing

comparing and contrasting—A way of organizing a paper to compare two or more things; explains likenesses and differences

conscious writing techniques—Systematic and structured strategies to generate ideas and get your writing started

content—The substance of writing; the subject matter of a paper

controlling idea—The primary idea of your topic sentence or thesis; expresses your attitude and approach toward your topic

copyright laws—Laws written to protect the writer and his or her written product

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database—A collection of logically stored information that can be accessed by computer

deductive reasoning—Logical reasoning pattern where the conclusion follows from the premises

diction—Choice of words and the informality or formality of a style based on the kinds of words chosen

discourse community—Sometimes called a knowledge community; the community of scholars and other voices who carry on discussions of a particular subject

documentation—Acknowledgment through proper citation of your indebtedness to certain sources for particular ideas and quotations used in your writing

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editing—Process of revising a written paper to improve clarity, correctness, and consistency

electronic resources—Research resources that are stored using electronic devices

endnotes—The references or list of works cited located at the end of a chapter or article

evidence—Facts, examples, statistics, and expert testimony that are used to support claims

expert testimony—Opinion from someone whose education, training, and experience establish his or her expertise in the objective analysis of data

expository—Relating to explanatory, informative, or scientific speech or writing

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feedback—Objective comments you give to or receive from others that you and they can use in revising writing assignments

final draft—The final written product turned in for a grade or other evaluation

first draft—The first prose conception of the written paper; used to discover the writer’s ideas and direction

flush and hanging—See hanging indent

footnote—The bibliographical or content note that appears at the bottom of the page in traditional note-citation styles such as Turabian or Chicago.

format—How the written product looks; includes headings, subheadings, type fonts, text, graphics style, page layout, and white space

free association—Prewriting technique to generate ideas; writer starts with an idea and connects other ideas by brainstorming

freewriting—Nonstop, free-associational informal writing; writing to think that taps into your individual perspective, knowledge, memory, and intuition

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hanging indent—Bibliography style where second and subsequent lines of a bibliographic entry are indented; also called "flush and hanging"

hold/recall—A feature of the VICTOR online catalog that permits a user to request the delivery of print materials from one USM library to another

human resources—The sources used for research that originate with people, such as interviews, surveys, and solicitations of expert opinions; examples of human resources are your teachers and librarians

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inductive reasoning—Logical reasoning pattern where facts and observations are evaluated to determine whether a generalization can be made

information plan—A planning tool for a longer writing assignment that includes a statement of purpose, audience, scope, and objectives; a tentative outline of the content; and a schedule for completing the tasks

intellectual property—The product of a person’s thinking; may be protected by intellectual property laws

interlibrary loan (ILL)—A library service in which, upon request, one library lends an item to another library that does not have it

Internet—The globally interconnected "network of networks" that provides access to a wide variety of information sources

in-text style—Refers to a documentation style in which references to sources are placed in parentheses within the text itself rather than in footnotes and endnotes; also called "parenthetical style"

introduction—Refers to the structured way to begin a research paper; presents the problem, purpose, and focus of the paper and summarizes the writer’s position

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journal—Writing technique used to generate ideas and practice thinking in writing; may be structured or unstructured

journalist’s questions—Questions to ask and answer to generate ideas to get your writing started, such as who, what, where, when, why, and how

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knowledge community—The community of scholars in a particular discipline or field of study

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literature review—See review of the literature

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mechanics—Elements of writing such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation

MLA—The style guide for the Modern Language Association, used commonly in documenting sources for literature and languages

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note citations—Traditional documentation style that uses footnotes or endnotes, and superscripts; sometimes used in humanities

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organization—The way in which ideas are tied together to flow logically

outline (or outlining)—A type of format for showing the relationships of major and minor ideas; an informal or formal way to organize your ideas in the planning stages of writing

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paragraph—A unit of self-contained writing that has a topic sentence and that explains one major idea in support of the thesis

paraphrase—Saying what someone else has said in your own words; contrast with summary and quote

parenthetical style—See in-text style

peer reviewers—Your classmates and others who may review your writing

persuasion—The art and skill of convincing someone of the credibility of your argument

plagiarism—Presenting other people’s ideas, words, and products as your own; not properly citing your sources when you use other people’s words

planning outline—An informal outline or list of points in the planning stage of writing that shows your thinking process and organization of your ideas

prewriting—The discovery and composing tasks writers perform before they actually start writing

primary audience—The audience for whom something is written

primary sources—The original sources of materials, such as interviews, eyewitness accounts, and original works of art

print sources—Sources that appear in a printed format

proofreading—Reviewing your final copy of a paper for accuracy; checking your latest version of a paper against the version with editorial changes marked to ensure that you have inserted all corrections

purpose—the reason for writing; what the author hopes to accomplish in the writing (contrast with writing strategy)

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qualitative information—Descriptive or explanatory information based on and expressed using value judgments, opinions, and arguments

quantitative information—Statistical and numerical data

quote—Using the exact wording of an author or interviewee; when a writer wishes to invoke authority or preserve an author’s or speaker’s language, he or she may quote from the author or speaker

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record—Information contained in the library catalog that includes the title, author, subject, location, and call number of a printed or electronic resource

recursive—Describes the writing process; refers to the repeated application of the steps of the writing process

reference—Notation of a source of a quotation, figure, or paraphrase using conventional bibliographic information that includes the author, title, publisher, city of publication, and year or other data for books, journal articles, and online sources

reference list—A list of references you create while researching and writing your paper

research—The process of finding, evaluating, and using information on a given subject; the body of information about a given subject; writers may quote from, summarize, or paraphrase information they have found through their own research in primary and secondary sources

research question—The question a researcher asks that guides his or her inquiry into a topic

review of the literature—A survey of the scholarly work in a particular subject area; also called "literature review"

revision strategy—A systematic approach to revising your writing

revising—A systematic approach to improving writing that may include changes to subject matter, organization, phrasing, or all of these

rewriting—See revising

rhetoric [as in rhetorical style]—The techniques for effectively using language in writing

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SAILOR—A Web site librarians designed for the state of Maryland. SAILOR makes it possible for Maryland citizens and students to access the Internet at no charge and examine the holdings of the public and academic libraries in Maryland.

secondary audience—The audience who might read a piece of writing but for whom the piece is not primarily intended

secondary sources—Writings and discussions about the primary sources, such as works of history or criticism found in books and journals

source—Origin of material used in writing and research, such as a book, interview, or article

style—The impressions, such as gracefulness, fluency, and seriousness, of a piece of writing; style can also refer to the sound of a piece of writing, whether formal (with long sentences, many balanced constructions, or erudite vocabulary) or informal (that is, conversational or colloquial)

style guide—A set of rules for formatting and presenting information in written work; most commonly used in college are MLA and APA style guides

summary—Information condensed into a brief format using the major ideas of the original source

supporting idea—An idea that lends credibility to a writer’s thesis

synthesis—Bringing two or more ideas together to show their relationships

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templates—Predesigned formats used in professional workplace writing

thesis—A summary statement of the writer’s main point; sometimes called "thesis statement"

tone—The overall expression in writing of a writer’s attitude

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URL (Uniform Resource Locator) —address for a Web site

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VICTOR—The online catalog of the USM libraries; VICTOR contains the book and journal holdings of the 11 degree-granting USM institutions

vocabulary—Refers to the specific words of a subject; related to diction

voice—The individual way in which writers or narrators express tone

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webbing—An unstructured, visual idea-generating technique that uses association to explore relationships to get your writing started

WorldCat—The largest database of library holdings in the world, it contains the holdings of libraries around the globe

working thesis—The drafted thesis a writer uses to research and begin writing the assignment; this thesis changes as the writer revises the draft to make it final

workplace writing—The professional kinds of writing used on the job, e.g., progress reports, proposals, memos, and task descriptions

World Wide Web (WWW or Web)—A global hypermedia-based system that provides the graphic, audio, and video interface to the Internet; referred to as the WWW or, more commonly, the Web

writer's block—The elusive mental distraction some writers experience that makes it difficult for them to write

writing strategy—The organizing and thinking strategy you use to write a paper, such as analysis, definition, synthesis, cause and effect, and comparison and contrast


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