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Library Research: How to Get Un-Stuck!

Library research is challenging! Here's help on how to get un-stuck when researching.

Research Vocabulary

Research Vocabulary

There is a lot of specialized vocabulary used for academic or library research.  Here are some words you may have heard when librarians explain various aspects of the research process.

On the bottom of the page, there is a video with several examples of these library terms. Read the terms here or watch the video.

What are Boolean Operators?
Boolean Operators are simple words (AND, OR, and NOT) that are used to connect and define the relationship between keywords.

What is a call no.(number)?
A call no. is a series of letters and numbers that explains where in the library the item is located.  Books are organized by similar subjects, so it can be helpful to look around at books on the library shelves near it to find other books that may also be what you are looking for.

What is a citation?
A citation provides information to reference a published or unpublished work.  Using a citation in your research paper lets the reader know that you used information from outside sources in your work. The citation provides information such as the author’s name, publication date, journal title, article title, and page numbers.

What is a DOI?
DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. It is a string of numbers, letters and symbols used to permanently identify an article or document and link to it on the web.

What is empirical research?
Empirical research includes observation and experimentation to gather data into a study, instead of theory or belief.  Many articles contain the following parts that indicate it is empirical research:  introduction/literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion/implication.

What is a library catalog?
A library catalog is an organizational tool that lists and describes the books and other materials that are located in a library.  When you search the library catalog, you'll find things that the library has that you can borrow. 

What is a keyword?
A keyword is an idea or topic that can define a topic.  Keywords are used to search for specific information.

What is a peer-reviewed article or journal?
Peer-reviewed means that articles before publication go through a rigorous process of review by experts in that subject field.  This is to ensure that the articles meet the standards of that discipline.  After the articles have been peer-reviewed, they are published in peer-reviewed journals.

Is peer-reviewed the same as the term refereed?
Yes, more or less.  The review process by publication experts is different for each one.

What is a periodical?
The term periodical can apply to any journal, magazine, or newspaper that is published at regularly occurring intervals.

What is a permalink?
A permalink is a web address that will consistently point to a specific information source such as an ebook, an article, a record in the catalog, a video, or a database. A permalink may also be called a stable link, durable link, persistent link, permanent link or document link, depending on the resource.

What is a primary source?
A primary source is material that was created at a specific time in history by people who had a direct connection to the time period or event in history.   These include: original research/data/surveys/statistics, speeches, diaries, poems, treaty, art work, letters, interviews, experiments, newspaper articles by reporters that were present at an event or quote people who were present at an event, photograph or other recordings, and laws written at that time.

What is a research database?
A research database is a searchable collection of thousands of articles, often organized by subject.

What is a secondary source?
A secondary source describes, explains, restates, or analyzes a primary source.

What is a scholarly journal?
A scholarly journal is a scholarly publication with multiple articles that is often subject specific or has a specific audience.  Sometimes referred to as a periodical, because they are published at regularly occurring intervals. 

What is a trade journal?
A trade journal is written by experts in a specific industry that discusses news, trends, and opinions. They are not scholarly journals because they are not peer-reviewed.

Research Vocabulary Video

Research Vocabulary Video

In this video a librarian defines all the research vocabulary that is listed above, along with a few visual examples.