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

academic researchthe complex, investigative research students produce in college

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

analysisbreaking an idea or concept into its parts to understand it better

annotated bibliographya special bibliography whose entries include added information about the sources

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

applicationthe experiential operation of knowledge

argumentative techniquesformal rhetorical and logical methods used to argue a point of view

audience analysisa detailed examination of the significant characteristics of an audience so that you can tailor your writing to meet its needs

audience profilea tool writers use that describes the significant characteristics of the audience for whom they are writing

top ↑


barcodethe 14-digit number on the back of your UMUC student identification card

bibliographya list of works a writer presents for background or further reading

brainstorminga prewriting technique used to generate ideas

top ↑


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 a microcomputer

chaininga structured, visual, free association of ideas to help you start writing

citationa 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 provides the author, year, and page number of the source

cognitive objectivesthe desired learning outcomes of specific thinking tasks

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

college writingthe writing students do while attending college; see academic writing

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

conscious writing techniquessystematic and structured strategies to generate ideas and get your writing started

contentthe substance of writing; the subject matter of a paper

controlling ideathe primary idea of your topic sentence or thesis; expresses your attitude and approach to your topic

copyright lawslaws written to protect writers and their written products

top ↑


databasea collection of logically stored information that can be accessed by computer

deductive reasoninglogical reasoning pattern in which the conclusion follows from the premises

dictionchoice of words and the informality or formality of a style based on the kinds of words chosen

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

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

top ↑


editingthe process of revising a written paper to improve clarity, correctness, and consistency

electronic resourcesresearch resources that are stored using electronic devices

endnotesthe references or list of works cited located at the end of a chapter or article

enthymemea syllogism in which one of the premises or the conclusion is not stated explicitly because it is considered obvious (as in “I am human” [minor premise]; “therefore, I am mortal” [conclusion]; the major premise, “all humans are mortal,” is not stated because it is assumed)

evaluationdetermining the criteria you will use to measure the value and relevance of information you find during research and then applying those criteria

evidencefacts, examples, statistics, and expert testimony that are used to support claims

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

expositoryrelating to explanatory, informative, or scientific speech or writing

top ↑


feedbackobjective comments given to writers that they can use in revising their writing

final draftthe final written product submitted for a grade or other evaluation

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

flush and hangingsee hanging indent

footnotethe bibliographical or content note that appears at the bottom of the page in traditional note-citation styles like Turabian and Chicago

formathow a written product looks; includes headings, subheadings, type fonts, text, graphics style, page layout, and white space

free associationa prewriting technique used to generate ideas; the writer starts with an idea and connects other ideas by brainstorming

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

top ↑


hanging indentbibliography style in which the second and subsequent lines of a bibliographic entry are indented; also called flush and hanging

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

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

top ↑


inductive reasoninga logical reasoning pattern in which facts and observations are evaluated to determine whether a generalization can be made

information plana 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 propertythe 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

Internetthe globally interconnected “network of networks” that provides access to a wide variety of information sources

in-text stylea 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

introductionthe structured beginning of a research paper; presents the problem, purpose, and focus of the paper and summarizes the writer’s position

top ↑


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

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

top ↑


knowledge communitythe community of scholars in a particular discipline or field of study

top ↑


literature reviewa survey of the scholarly work in a particular subject area

top ↑


mechanicselements of writing such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation

MLAthe style guide of the Modern Language Association, commonly used in documenting sources for literature and languages

top ↑


note citationsa traditional documentation style that uses footnotes or endnotes and superscripts; sometimes used in the humanities

top ↑


organizationthe 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

top ↑


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

paraphrasesaying what someone else has said in your own words; contrast with summary and quote

parenthetical stylesee in-text style

peer reviewersyour classmates and others who may review your writing

persuasionthe art and skill of convincing someone of the credibility of your argument

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

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

prewritingthe discovery and composing tasks writers perform before they actually start writing

primary audiencethe audience for whom something is written

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

print sourcessources that appear in a printed format

proofreadingreviewing the final copy of your paper for accuracy; checking the latest version of your paper against the last version with editorial changes marked to ensure that you have made all of the corrections

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

top ↑


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

quantitative informationstatistical and numerical data

quoteusing 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 the author or speaker

top ↑


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

recursivea term used to describe the writing process; it refers to the repeated application of the steps of the writing process

referencenotation of the 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 lista list of references you create while researching and writing your paper

researchthe 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 questionthe question a researcher asks that guides his or her inquiry into a topic

review of the literaturesee literature review

revision strategya systematic approach to revising your writing

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

rewritingsee revising

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

top ↑


SAILORa website librarians designed for the state of Maryland; SAILOR gives Maryland citizens and students access to the Internet at no charge and allows them to examine the holdings of the public and academic libraries in Maryland

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

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

sourcethe origin of material used in writing and research, such as a book, an interview, or an article

stylethe 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 (conversational or colloquial)

style guidea set of rules for formatting and presenting information in written work; the style guides most commonly used in college are those of the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA)

summaryinformation condensed into a brief format using the major ideas of the original source

supporting ideaan idea that lends credibility to a writer’s thesis

syllogisma deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion (as in “all humans are mortal” [major premise]; “I am human” [minor premise]; “therefore, I am mortal” [conclusion])

synthesisbringing two or more ideas together to show their relationships

top ↑


templatespredesigned formats used in professional workplace writing

thesisa summary statement of the writer’s main point; sometimes called a thesis statement

tonethe overall expression in writing of a writer’s attitude

top ↑


URL (Uniform Resource Locator)—the address of a website

top ↑


VICTORthe online catalog of the University System of Maryland (USM) libraries; VICTOR contains the book and journal holdings of the 11 degree-granting USM institutions

vocabularythe specific words of a subject; related to diction

voicethe individual way in which writers or narrators express tone

top ↑


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

WorldCatthe largest database of library holdings in the world; contains the holdings of libraries around the globe

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

workplace writingthe professional kinds of writing used on the job, such as 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 blockthe elusive mental distraction some writers experience that makes it difficult for them to write

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



top ↑


Student Services: 1616 McCormick Drive, Largo, MD 20774
Mailing Address: 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD 20783

Copyright © 2011 University of Maryland University College (UMUC). All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright holder.

All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMUC is not responsible for the validity or integrity of information located at external sites.