Searching For Truth Through Information Literacy

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2 2 Entering college can be a big transition. You face a new environment, meet new people, and explore new ideas. One of the biggest challenges in the transition to college lies in vocabulary. In the world of higher education, we use many words that are uncommon elsewhere. Trying to learn all of these new terms can be a daunting task. We have compiled this glossary of common college terms, especially those relating to information literacy one of the most important components of the college experience to help you hit the ground running at LFCC. Abstract An abstract is like a summary of an academic paper. Reading abstracts is a good way to evaluate the relevance of a particular source. Academia/academic Academia is an environment focused on learning and scholarship, like a college or university. Academic is an adjective used to describe things, people, and ideas that are rooted in education. Academic dishonesty Academic dishonesty includes traditional forms of cheating, plagiarism, and giving or receiving assistance on an assignment without your instructor s permission. Looking up an answer during a closed-book exam is academically dishonest. Writing a sentence in someone else s paper is also a form of academic dishonesty. In general, any action that makes you or someone else appear to have a better grasp on the course content than they actually do is academic dishonesty. Academic journal An academic journal is an official publication, similar to a magazine, within a field. For example, the Journal of the American Medical Association is a standard and respected source of information in the medical field. Journal articles are well-researched and are often peer-reviewed. Academic journals can be excellent sources for recent and reliable information; the same information may not be published in books for several years. Check your college library s catalog or a scholarly database to find journal articles that are relevant to your topic. Adjacency searches Some databases allow users to search for terms that appear within a certain number of words of each other. For example, using an adjacency search for child psychology might return results including psychology of the child or child development and psychology. Every database has its own way to specify the parameters of an adjacency search, so check the database you are using.

3 3 Analysis/Analyze To analyze a work is to consider its meaning and implications. Analysis is different from summary. Annotated bibliography (annotated bib) An annotated bibliography consists of citations and additional information about resources. An annotated bibliography may include the author s credentials, the purpose of the work, a summary of the main points discussed in the work, and how the work supports or contradicts other research on your topic. APA style APA stands for American Psychological Association. APA style is the citation style used in psychology and in the medical field. This citation style is standard in science classes. Attribution An attribution gives credit to a creator or original source. It is important to cite works properly so that sources are attributed to the right person. Attributing a work to the wrong person is a form of plagiarism. Authoritative/authority The authority of a source is based on its credibility. An authoritative source is a respected and reliable source of information. Bias/biased Bias is a tendency to favor (or oppose) a particular point of view or claim because of personal connections, previous experience, or the prospect of financial gain. For example, a person who was bitten by a dog might believe that dogs make terrible pets; this is a form of bias. Simiarly, a website that is connected to a particular herbal remedy may have a bias against some other forms of medicine. Biased sources tend to be unreliable because they often lack adequate research and factual evidence to support their ideas. See also: unbiased. Bibliography A bibliography is a list of the books, articles, and other sources consulted during the research for a project or paper. Individual items on the list may be referred to as citations or entries. The information included in the bibliography and the format of the bibliography entries will vary depending on the citation style used.

4 4 Boolean operators Boolean operators are words (such as AND, NOT, and OR ) that can be added to a Web search to broaden or narrow the search results. Using Google to search for concussions NOT football will prevent any websites that mention football from appearing in search results. Call number A call number is an item s address in a library. In most college libraries, the call number will include letters and numbers, like PS584.B43. The first letters indicate a section of the library, and the numbers indicate the order of the books on the shelf. Call numbers can be found in a library catalog. Catalog See library catalog. Chicago style Chicago style is the citation style based on The Chicago Manual of Style. This citation style uses footnotes instead of parenthetical citations. It is common in history classes. Citation A citation is the information required to give credit to an original source. In most citation styles, in-text citations and a bibliography are used. Citations typically include information such as the author s name, the title of the work, the publisher, the publication year, and the relevant page numbers. It is important to use proper citations to avoid accidental plagiarism. Citation style A citation style is a set of standards that explain how to give credit to original sources, including how to format citations properly. Popular citations styles are APA style, Chicago style, and MLA style. Cite To cite is to give credit to a source of information. Common knowledge A piece of information is considered common knowledge if the typical person in the intended audience will already be familiar with that information.

5 5 Container In MLA style, a container is the greater work that contains a smaller work. When citing a short story from an anthology, the title of the short story is considered the title of the work, and the title of the anthology is considered the container. The same concept applies to Web articles; the website itself would be considered the container. Copyright Copyright is the legal ownership of a creative work, such as a piece of writing or a musical composition. In the United States, copyright is automatically given at the moment of creation. To use someone else s work without permission is copyright infringement. Copyright infringement Copyright infringement involves using a copyrighted work without permission. Printing someone else s poem in a greeting card without first obtaining written permission from the copyright holder (owner) is illegal and is punishable by steep fines. Creative Commons license A Creative Commons license allows creators (like authors, illustrators, and musicians) to make their work available for free to the public with certain stipulations, like the requirement that the creator be credited even if the work is altered. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright, they simply allow people to use copyrighted material without contacting the creator directly. The terms of the Creative Commons license must be followed to prevent copyright infringement. Credible (credibility) A credible source is a reliable source of information. Scholarly sources are credible. To check for credibility, look at the author s credentials, consider the reputation of the publisher, and examine the arguments and claims in the work. Critical thinking Critical thinking is like active thinking. Critical thinking involves analysis and evaluation to gain a greater understanding of information. Critical thinkers do not take information at face value; instead, they connect new pieces of information to old pieces of information to create a more complete understanding. Currency The currency of a source is its current-ness, or how recently the information was published. Database A database is a collection of information. Academic databases include academic journal articles.

6 6 Dictionary A dictionary lists the meanings (definitions) of words. Many dictionaries include information on how words are pronounced. The most respected dictionary in academia is the Oxford English Dictionary, often called the OED. Discourse community A discourse community is a group of people who communicate with each other about certain topics and share the same goals and values concerning their topic. A group of doctors who come together to discuss their work developing new treatments for skin cancer would be considered a discourse community. Domain A domain is an area governed or owned by a specific person or group of people ( the King looked out over his domain ). In the world of research, we often encounter Web domains, commonly thought of as the name of websites. In lfcc is the domain. Dynamic information Dynamic information is information that is likely to change or to be updated over time. A list of American Olympians could be dynamic because the information will change from year to year. See also: static information. Encyclopedia An encyclopedia is like an expanded dictionary. Rather than simply defining words, encyclopedia entries give explain concepts and provide facts about topics. Encyclopedias are traditionally books, but reliable online versions are available through most libraries. Fair use Fair use allows small amounts of copyrighted material to be used in certain situations without violating copyright law. In general, brief quotes used in teaching, critical reviews, and research papers are considered fair use. Fair use quotes must still be cited to prevent plagiarism. Glossary A glossary is similar to a dictionary, but provides more explanation for each word. Glossaries focus on specific topics and are often found in the back of textbooks. Humanities Humanities courses examine subjects related to human life, interaction, and culture, including art, history, and literature.

7 7 Index An index is a list of items or terms and their locations. Indexes are commonly found in the back of books to help readers locate the page number for a specific piece of information. Information literacy Information literacy is a set of skills, including knowing when information is needed, locating information, assessing the credibility of information, using information to answer questions, and effectively explaining information to others. Information literacy often involves critical thinking. In-text citation An in-text citation is a citation that appears within the body of the paper. An in-text citation can include a signal phrase (like according to ) and any information required by the relevant citation style. In-text citations often include author s names, titles, page numbers, and/or publication years. Journal See academic journal. Lexicon A lexicon is similar to lingo or jargon. It is the collection of language used by the members of a particular community or field of study. This language is often unfamiliar to individuals outside the community. Library catalog A library catalog is a searchable listing of all the materials available in a library. The catalog can be searched by title, author, subject, keyword, and material type. The library catalog lists the call numbers (locations) for every item in the library s collection. Literary analysis A literary analysis is a written analysis of a piece (or multiple pieces) of literature. A literary analysis is not a summary of the original work. Instead, a literary analysis will read between the lines of the literature in order to discuss its theme, symbols, meaning, and implications for the reader. MLA style (MLA format) MLA stands for Modern Language Association. MLA style is the citation style used in humanities fields. Expect to use this style in English classes.

8 8 Open access Some research published online is designated as open access, meaning that the information can be used freely by anyone. These sources must still be cited, but the information does not need to be purchased. Parenthetical citation Parenthetical citations are in-text citations enclosed in parentheses. Parenthetical citations are common in MLA style and APA style. Paraphrase To paraphrase is to put someone else s idea into your own words without changing the meaning. For example, Bob may have said get out of here, but you could paraphrase Bob by saying, Bob told me to leave. Quotation marks are not required for paraphrased information, but all paraphrased information must be cited properly to avoid plagiarism. Peer-reviewed A peer-reviewed article is one that has been checked by a panel of experts in the author s field to ensure that the author s claims are based on solid research and that the information contained in the author s work is reliable. Plagiarism Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person s work as your own. Failure to cite sources properly and allowing someone else to complete part of your work are both examples of plagiarism. Plagiarism may result in a student failing an assignment, failing a course, or being expelled from college. Primary Source A primary source is an original source of information. Eyewitness accounts, journals, historical documents, and the original publication of scientific evidence are primary sources. See also: secondary source. Quote To quote is to use another person s exact words. For example, Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country, is a famous quote from John F. Kennedy. When using a quote, use quotation marks to separate your words from the original speaker s words. Quotes should always be cited. Reference Reference means refer to. If you discussed the Declaration of Independence in your paper, you referenced (referred to) it.

9 9 Reference collection The reference collection of a library is a collection of books that are referred to frequently to answer questions. Books like dictionaries, atlases, and encyclopedias are often found in reference collections. References The word references is often used to mean sources. For example, a professor may ask you what references you plan to use for your research paper. References page The references page is the bibliography used in APA style documents. Research To conduct research is to search for, collect, and evaluate information on a specific topic. Research includes more than running a Google search. Research can involve extensive reading, developing and redeveloping search terms, and analyzing results. Research question A research question is the big question that you are attempting to answer in your research project, like How to penguins rear their young? Developing a clear and comprehensive research question is one of the first and most important steps of a research project. Research tools Research tools, such as library catalogs, databases, and search engines, help you conduct research effectively. Safe Assign Safe Assign is an online plagiarism detection tool used by many colleges and universities. When a paper is uploaded to Safe Assign through a Blackboard submission link, the paper is automatically scanned for phrases that appear on websites or in previous student submissions. These phrases are highlighted so that your instructor can ensure that each borrowed phrase is properly cited. Scholarly article A scholarly article is an article that is considered a scholarly source. Scholarly articles are typically found in academic journals, but scholarly articles can sometimes be found from other reliable, academic sources.

10 1 0 Scholarly source A scholarly source is a source (such as an article or a book) that is suitable for academic research. Articles in peer-reviewed journals are scholarly sources because they are written and reviewed by experts. Buzzfeed lists are not scholarly sources because they are often opinion-based and the writers may not be qualified experts. See also: credible. Search engine A search engine is a tool that helps locate information on the Internet. A search engine does not contain any information, but it can direct users to Web pages that have information relevant to the user s search terms. Search strategy Before you begin researching a topic, it can be helpful to develop a search strategy. To develop a search strategy, sit down and think about keywords, synonyms, and similar ideas related to your topic to develop your search terms. Consider which Boolean operators you can use to get the best results. Decide what type of sources you need and where you will be able to find them. Search terms Search terms are the words used to search for content when conducting a Web-based search with a search engine, such as Google or an online library catalog. Searching language Searching language includes the search terms and Boolean operators used when conducting a Web-based search with a search engine. Searching language is different from natural speaking language because search engines use keywords instead of comprehending complete ideas. Searching language should incorporate the keywords that will help a search engine find the content you are looking for. Secondary source Secondary sources are sources that have drawn on information from other people. A book about the Revolutionary War would be a secondary source because its content is based on research, not on firsthand experiences. See also: primary source. Signal phrase Signal phrases are an important part of citing sources in writing. Phrases such as according to and as stated in are signal phrases; they help you indicate the original source of information and separate your ideas from other people s ideas.

11 1 1 Social sciences The social sciences are academic fields of study focused on human behavior. The social sciences include psychology, sociology, linguistics, economics, political science, and anthropology. Static information Static information is information that will not change over time. Historical facts are static. See also: dynamic information. Subject headings Subject headings are used in libraries and databases to categorize sources on a specific topic. For example, American poetry -- 20th century is a subject heading used to identify 20 th century American poetry. In most library catalogs, subject headings are listed in the item s description or details, and you can click on the subject heading to run a new search for other content in the same category. Summarize To summarize is to create a summary. Summary A summary is a shorter, more pointed, bare bones version of the information in a given source. Synthesize To synthesize information means to combine information from different sources to create a complete idea. For example, you may use information from three different sources to describe a single event. Pay close attention to citations when synthesizing information; citing a piece of information incorrectly or accidentally attributing information to the wrong source is a form of plagiarism. Thesaurus A thesaurus is a collection of lists of words that are similar to other words. For example, the thesaurus entry for big might suggest words such as gigantic and huge. Trademark The word trademark refers to something for which someone is known. For example, if someone always wears a purple hat, the hat would become a trademark for that person. In the world of copyright, a trademark is a symbol (like the Nike swish) or phrase ( Just Do It ) that represents a company. Trademarks are often registered legally to prevent other people from using them.

12 1 2 Truncate/truncation To truncate something is to make it shorter by removing information. You might truncate a quote by removing some words that are irrelevant to your paper. When you are altering someone else s words in this way, you must show your readers that you omitted part of the original content; this is typically done with an ellipsis (three periods). Unbiased An unbiased source presents facts and evidence without allowing personal connections or financial incentives to distort the information. See also: bias. URL URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is a Web address, like Volume/issue An academic journal is published more than once a year. The volume refers to the number of years the journal has been published. Volume 78, issue 3 would be the third publication of the journal in its 78 th year. Works cited The works cited page is the bibliography used in MLA style documents.

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