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“The mission of Ranger College is to transform lives and give students the skills to be a positive influence in their communities.”



Abstract – the brief overview of an article.  It has two purposes.  First, it is used to convince a publisher to publish it.  Second, it gives a reader a more detailed overview than the title can provide, helping the reader decide if it will be useful. 

AND – A Boolean search term, use AND to combine different keyword concepts together.  Peer pressure AND high school

Article – Information presented in a professional journal.  The article goes through a peer-review process to ensure it is accurate.

Bibliography – Found at the end of a work, this is a list that contains information about all the resources used to develop that work.

Bibliographic notation – A specific entry in a bibliography.

Citation – A way of referencing the information you acquired from your resources.  Formed as a footnote or bibliographic notation.

Database – A compilation of information on one or more specific topics.

Footnote – A citation placed at the bottom of a page of written work that cites the reference for a part of the text.  It is distinct from the bibliographic notation in that it includes the specific page the information can be found on in the referenced text.

Hit – An item found by a search engine that may be relevant to your search.

Journal – A periodical published by a profession that presents research to others in that profession.  Articles are reviewed and edited by other professionals in that field so you can be sure of the accuracy of the information.  These are usually considered scholarly.

Keyword – Words or phrases that are the focus of your topic.

Limiters – options that apply restrictions to your search, such as being in English only or date of publication. 

NOT A Boolean search term, use NOT to remove terms from a search. Southwest NOT Nevada

ORA Boolean search term, use OR to search for terms that may be related. Death penalty OR capital punishment.

Quotation Marks – are used to ensure that all terms in a search phrase are found exactly as entered.

Peer reviewed – Work that is examined by others in a field.  This assures accuracy of information.  Many peer reviewed works are excellent sources, but many are also generic overviews, such as Encyclopedia Britannica.  Because it is peer reviewed, you can be sure it is accurate, but it may not contain enough detail to be considered a useful source.

PESTLE – an acronym for political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental.  This is a common framework for identifying narrow topics within a broad topic.

Primary Source - Sources that contain raw, original, unevaluated information; they are created at the time of the events by persons involved.  These are often items such as diaries, newspapers, or personal letters.  They can also include text of legal documents, interviews, or police records.  These sources make an excellent foundation for your work.

Scholarly – A work that is both peer reviewed and detailed enough to contain in-depth research.

Secondary source – Sources that analyze, evaluate, and interpret information contained within primary sources.  These are typically journal articles or books published by university presses and are commonly acceptable for use in research.

Tertiary source - Sources that compile, digest, or analyze secondary information.  These are dictionaries, encyclopedias, chronologies, compilations, or textbooks.  Tertiary sources are rarely acceptable sources.

Topic – the specific, detailed subject of your research.  World War II is not a topic.  What were the effects on the native population in the Battle of Midway is a topic.

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