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How to Research Guide

Research Terms

When doing research, you may come across some unfamiliar words.  Here is a list of common research terms.

Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of a document.  Abstracts are useful because they allow you to quickly determine if a document fits your topic.

Citation

The citation provides the bibliographic information for a source. It lets the reader know who is responsible for creating a source you reference in your project, when it was created, and gives the reader all the information needed to retrieve that source for further examination.

Copyright

This refers to the legal right of the copyright owner to determine how a work may be copied, distributed, displayed, performed, etc. The copyright owner is often the author/creator of the work. To learn more about copyright, check out the Copyright Association of Ireland and the International Federation on Copyright 

Database

An organized collection of stored data which is usually searchable by keywords, subject, topic, language, and/or date. The library subscribes to a range of databases that relate directly to courses offered at DU.

DOI

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. A DOI is a string of letters and numbers used to identify an electronic document.  While the web address (URL) where a work is located may change, the DOI remains the same. 

Fair Use

Under certain conditions, a section of a work can be reproduced without asking permission from the copyright owner. These conditions include “criticism or review or for reporting current events or for purposes of research or private study”. However, you must always cite the source!  To learn more about fair use, check out the Copyright Association of Ireland.

Full-Text

This means the whole document is available. 

Journal

A publication, produced periodically on a schedule, that provides research articles in a particular field of study. Journal articles report on primary research and offer insight and evaluation of the results.

Key Word Search

A key word search looks for a particular word or words within a document.  The advantage of key word searching is that it is quick.  The disadvantage is it often produces results unrelated to your topic, and misses those that use a different term. 

OER

"Open Educational Resources" are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that may be useful in your research. These resources may or may not be scholarly sources.

Peer Reviewed &
Refereed

These terms are often used interchangeably.  Peer reviewed documents have been examined by a panel of experts.  Examples of journals that publish peer reviewed articles include Harvard Law Review and Journal of the American Medical Association. Some instructors may require that you use only peer reviewed sources for your papers.

Subject Search

Libraries and databases categorize items by subject. By searching by subject, you get results that are closely related and it is more efficient than keyword searching.

URL

URL stands Uniform Resource Locator. This is the address of a document on the internet.  For example, the URL for LIT Library homepage is https://library.lit.ie

Volume and Issue Number

Journals and magazines often number their publications using volume and issue numbers. The volume number includes all issues published within a specific time period (usually a year), and the issues are numbered within the volume. For example, the January 10, 2011 issue of Time is volume 177, issue 1. 

The Library, Limerick Institute of Technology