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Research Process

Steps to an effective research project.

Common Library Terms

Research Terms

  • Abstract: a brief summary at the beginning of an article or text

  • Accession Number: a unique identifier for each record in a database

  • Annotation / Annotated Bibliography: a bibliography that lists your sources as well as a brief statement about why the source is necessary

  • WorldCat Discovery: the general name for the basic catalog search on the library homepage

  • Boolean Operators: "and," "or," "not" - terms used to combine search words in most databases and catalogs

  • Citation: standard publication information that can follow different styles (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago)

  • Database [in libraries]: a large collection of citations and sources that are organized for rapid search and retrieval; some are general whereas others have only specific disciplines (e.g., Academic Search Complete vs. PsycInfo)

  • Finding Aid: descriptive guide for archival collections that includes information about the creator of the materials, formats included, dates covered, and how the materials are arranged

  • Methods: standard procedures and processes for conducting verifiable research. Methods are discipline dependent: methods in chemistry research are different from methods in physics or psychology research. 

  • Results: Information created or gathered from a research program or systematic inquiry. Successful scientists will publish the results of an experiment, social scientists will publish the results of a poll.  

  • Subject Headings: standardized terms that describe library materials and aid in searching (also called index terms or descriptors).

  • Subject Librarian: a librarian that may provide research assistance for their discipline(s); maintains the library subject guide for an assigned discipline and is available for individual appointment sessions.


Material, Collection, and Department Terms

  • Call number: a unique set of  numbers and/or letters that organize library materials on the shelf; we use a system called Dewey.

  • OneCard: 1) a physical card that allows you to check out library materials and pay for printing; 2) the unique set of letters and numbers that is tied to your Goucher account (e.g., 001234567).

  • WorldCat Discovery: the combined library catalog for the libraries across the nation; you can search and request books from other libraries in this system.

  • Library Service Desk: the 3rd floor desk where you can check out books, DVDs/etc., reserves; open all hours that the library is open.

  • Course Reserves: materials such as books or DVDs that are used by specific courses (but available for anyone to check out).

  • Main Stacks: the collection of books located on floors 1-4 across the bridge in the library (includes folio/oversize books)

  • Siebert Center: the collection of books, Picture, Children's, and Young Adult located on the 3rd floor.

  • Hold: a request placed on an item that is currently checked out bay another patron; you receive an email once the item has been returned.

  • Interlibrary Loan: the system for borrowing materials from libraries outside Goucher.

  • ISBN: a unique identifier for books that make it easy to find in a catalog or online; acronym for International Standard Book Number

  • ISSN: a unique identifier for a serial publication; acronym for International Standard Serial Number

  • DVD/CD Collection: the selection of DVDs and CDs on the 3rd floor across the bridge, DVDs loan for five days, CDs for 28 days.

  • Reference Collection: the encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, atlases, etc., located on the 3rd floor next to the Research Help Desk or online.

  • Renewal: an action that extends the due date for material already checked out, usually for the same period of time originally granted (some materials have limits).

  • Serials: materials published on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) with no set end date; common types include magazines, newspapers, journals, proceedings and are sometimes called periodicals

  • Special Collections & Archives: a department that houses original, rare, unique, fragile, and archival materials such as photographs and manuscripts.  It also houses materials documenting the history of the Goucher campus, faculty, staff, students, and campus life.

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