Glossary of terms used in Academic Writing

glossary of academic information technology terms and glossary in academic writing and glossary in academic paper
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Published Date:16-07-2017
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A Glossary of Academic and Associated Terms From the Skills Team, University of Hull The academic world is often accused of being riddled with jargon. Even some academics are confused at times. Indeed, all that jargon can be very baffling - especially to a new undergraduate. Therefore, the Skills Team has decided to provide a list of terms which we all encounter at times. This list aims to help by briefly defining some of these words, which are arranged in alphabetical order. See also our glossary of abbreviations and acronyms. Words in bold are cross-referenced, i.e. listed in another part of the table. We are adding to the list all the time, so if you would like us to include a word and its definition, please let us know by emailing us at skillshull.ac.uk. Word Definition Addendum Any short piece of material added to a text or other written (pl. addenda) work, usually after publication. Appendix Additional information, the detail of which is not essential to answer the question, appended (added) after the end of an pl. appendices) assignment. The appendix may be in text, tables, graphs or any other format and is not part of any word count. Appendices are often marked A, B, C etc or numbered. Assignment An ‘umbrella’ term used to mean any piece of work a student is required to do as part of his/her course of study. This may take the form of an essay, report, case study, experiment, presentation or any other. Assignments usually count towards the final mark of a course of study, though not always. Bibliography A list of all the sources of information a student has cited in the text of his/her work, together with all other sources of information used but not necessarily cited or referred to in any other way and which the student has read or part read. The bibliography appears at the end of a piece of work and is arranged in alphabetical order by surname of the author/s. See also: List of references and References. Case study Describes and investigates a situation (for example, a patient being treated in hospital), analyses that situation in the light of relevant theories and literature, identifies any problems, suggests possible solutions and/or makes recommendations. Citation A source quoted in an essay, report or dissertation. Web: http://www.hull.ac.uk/skills Email: skillshull.ac.uk Word Definition Compensatable If the mark for an assignment falls just below that required for a fail pass, the student may ask for the work to be ‘compensated’ and awarded a pass nevertheless. Thus, for example, if the pass mark is 40, any mark between 35 and 39 can be regarded as a compensatable fail. However, this does not apply in all cases. Students have a right to ask for ‘compensation’ but not an automatic right to be awarded this. Full details can be found in the University of Hull Online Student Handbook (available at: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/studenthandbook.aspx) Condonement A neologism meaning, in the context of the award of marks or grades at honours or final year level only, the disregarding of up to 20 credits by an examination board so that the degree may nevertheless be awarded. Copy editing The process of modifying a piece of text so that it conforms to a particular ‘house style’ or so that it contains (or does not as the case may be) information regarded as important by an editor. Course work A written essay and other work which is part of the ongoing study students do for their courses. Course work can also form part of the assessment for a course. Dissertation An extended piece of writing, usually on a topic chosen by a student and based on that student’s own research. Undergraduate students are often asked to write a dissertation (usually between 10,000 and 20,000 words) in their final year, as are postgraduate students at Masters level (usually a minimum of 20,000 words). Empirical Research which is based on trial, experiment and/or experience. research From the Greek en = in and peira = a trial. Erratum A short item, often inserted in loose-leaf format in a printed (pl. errata) work, correcting a factual or other error in the publication. Essay A piece of continuous writing on a specific topic. Traditionally, essays do not have sub-titles, though some departments may accept these. Check if you are unsure. Examination A board of examiners, comprising members of staff from the board relevant awarding department, which meets at the conclusion of a module or other course of study to decide which candidates/students should be passed or failed and at what level, if any. There is usually an internal board followed by an external board which has the addition of one or more external examiners. 2 Word Definition External A member of staff, usually very experienced, from a higher examiner education institution who visits another institution for a number of days to verify that the correct standards are being applied for the award of qualifications in a particular course or programme. External examiners, who may be one or more in number depending on the size of the department visited, are usually re- appointed on a three- or four-year rotation system. It is an ssential moderation process for the country as a whole in order to maintain academic standards. Field trip Study which is an integral part of a module, but which is undertaken at a location away from the University campus so that students can study places or phenomena in their natural setting. Geography students, for example, go on field trips to study the natural and man-made landscape. Footnote Any form of additional information, not regarded as essential in the text, usually in much smaller font, inserted at the foot of the same page. The footnotes are usually numbered in rising numerical order, either page by page or consecutively throughout the work. This can easily be done using the ‘Insert, Reference, Footnote’ commands in Word. References may also be made by way of footnotes (see MHRA & Vancouver referencing systems). Formative An assessment of work which aims to evaluate and give guidance assessment for improvement or further work. In contrast to summative assessment, therefore, its purpose is positive, supportive and pedagogic, rather than uniquely judgmental or final. Group work A task, presentation or project undertaken by a group of students, rather than by an individual student. ‘Harvard’ An ‘author/date’ referencing system, recommended by many referencing departments in this university and a system in common use system today. Impact factor A method often used in scientific work to indicate the popularity and quality of authors or articles in journals based on the number of times these are cited in other publications. Independent Taking responsibility for your own study and learning, instead of learning others telling you exactly what to do and when to do it. Intercalation The interruption of a course of study for a term, semester, year (or exceptionally longer), by agreement with the department of the institution concerned, so as to continue study at a later date. Journal The original meaning of the word, ‘daily’ (from the French jour = day) has been altered to mean any academic publication which appears at regular intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually …) Academic journals are always peer-reviewed in order to try and ensure quality of content. See also Periodical. 3 Word Definition Learning What the student should know, understand or be able to do outcome after completion of a piece of work or module. Learning style A unique collection of individual skills and preferences that determine how a person perceives, gathers and processes information. No learning style is necessarily better than any other, because everyone’s style is different. Lecture A talk given by a lecturer to a large group of students. Lectures outline the main aspects of a subject and students are usually able to ask questions during or after the lecture. List of A list of all the sources of information a student has referred to references directly or indirectly in a piece of work. The list appears at the end of the work and is arranged alphabetically by author surname or numerically, depending on the reference system used. See also: Bibliography and References. Literature A systematic survey and critical assessment of what has been review written in a topic area. It may include printed, electronic, published or unpublished sources of information. Manuscript From the Latin manu = by hand and scribere = to write, a piece of work in written form (originally handwritten, now typed or word-processed) submitted for publication but before going into final print. MHRA Modern Humanities Research Association. This referencing referencing system is often recommended by Humanities departments and system commonly uses footnotes for this purpose. Full details can be found at http://mhra.org.uk/. MLA Modern Language Association of America (MLA). This system referencing was devised for arts and humanities studies in the USA and is system often recommended by English and Humanities departments here. It is similar to ‘Harvard’ but shows the year of publication only in the reference list at the end. There are other differences. See for more details: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Module A distinct part or unit of a course of study. Neologism A new word or phrase invented to describe a particular concept. (From the Greek, neo = new and logos = word.) Open learning A self-study method whereby learners use a variety of media in their own time, with or without guidance from an adviser, to study a particular subject or aspect thereof. Oral A meeting attended by a student and a small number of lecturers, at which the student answers questions by word of mouth about a piece of work he/she has written or presented. In modern foreign languages, an oral is a class or examination focusing on spoken skills. At postgraduate or doctorate level for example, the student would be asked questions about his/her dissertation or thesis. See also viva. 4 Word Definition Pedagogy The art and principles of teaching (adj. pedagogic). Peer review All academic journals or periodicals of any merit are peer- reviewed. Before an article submitted by an author is accepted, the editor, if he or she thinks it could be included in a future edition, will send the manuscript to two or more known experts in the field for their comments on its quality. Upon receipt of these reports, the editor will then decide whether or not the submitted article will be published in his/her journal and report back to the author concerned. This is the process of peer review. Periodical Any form of journal containing articles by different authors on a particular subject area and of an academic nature, which is published periodically, e.g. every month, bi-monthly, quarterly. Plagiarism Using the work, ideas or words of others in your own work without acknowledging their source. In other words, fraud: passing off the ideas and/or words and/or any intellectual creation of others as your own. Plagiarism can also be unintentional, and the most effective way to avoid it is to use a recognised referencing system and adopt a proper note-taking technique. Portfolio A collection of short pieces of work, which together make up a detailed study of a subject area or act as evidence of the development of a set of skills. Practical A ‘hands on’ session where the theories that are taught within modules are applied to real situations. Practical sessions usually require some preparation. Problem-based A method of teaching and learning, sometimes in groups, using learning imaginary but plausible scenarios through which, with guidance from a tutor, students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to try and resolve the problem posed. Proofreading The detailed checking of a text for errors of punctuation, (abbrev. grammar and syntax. (The term ‘proof’ comes from the printing proofing) industry, referring to the first print from a negative or press, which is then ‘proofed’ before going into full print production.) Quotation A short extract of the words or any other material from a work published in print, electronically or via any other means. Quotations must be clearly recognisable as such, for example, through the use of single or double quotation marks or italics. Always follow the guidelines provided by your department. References The details of sources of information which a student has used in a piece of work (for example, a book, website or journal article), in a set format laid down by the student’s department. See also: List of references and Bibliography. N.B. Notwithstanding anything written in this glossary, you should always follow the guidance on referencing set out in your departmental handbook(s). 5 Word Definition Referral After marking, an item of (course) work, or more usually a dissertation or thesis, may be referred if it is considered not to reach the required standard for a pass. The referral is usually returned with suggestions as to how the work might be improved in order for it to be passed. Referral is normally only allowed once for any given piece of work. Report A formal, structured piece of writing that usually presents the findings of some research or an information gathering process. Research Students are usually asked to prepare a research proposal for proposal their dissertation or project. The proposal explains what the student intends to do, how it will be done, and why it is important. Semester A period of the academic year, originating in American campuses, where summer schools are common. A semester lasts for about 10 weeks, plus two or more weeks of examinations. Seminar A discussion session on a topic with a lecturer and a small group of students (usually up to about twenty). Seminars often follow a lecture and go into more detail on the topic. Students are usually asked to prepare for a seminar, for example, by doing some reading on the topic. Summative A form of assessment which summarises a student’s quality of assessment learning on the conclusion of a module or course of study or part thereof, usually in the form of an examination, and for which a mark or grade is given. See also formative assessment. Supervisor A member of staff appointed to supervise an individual student’s period of study, dissertation or thesis. The supervisor will arrange regular or occasional meetings with the student so as to give advice and guidance. Term A period of about 10 - 12 weeks allocated to teaching and learning in a university, college or school. The academic year is traditionally split into three terms (Autumn, Spring & Summer), with one set of examinations at the end of the academic year; a few universities still use this system. Thesis A comparatively long piece of work in printed format, usually of (pl. theses) about 80,000 words or more in length, summarising a period of research. In addition to summarising and/or analysing existing knowledge in a particular field, doctoral theses must also make a significant contribution to that knowledge for a PhD to be awarded. (There are, however, some exceptions to this: in the biological and other sciences a thesis will often be a great deal shorter than 80,000 words. A student may spend an entire year producing a couple of graphs and a few pages of text. Laboratory- based PhD theses are often less than 50,000 words.) 6 Word Definition Transcript The written record of all the marks/grades given to a student throughout his or her course of study, along with any relevant comments. Trimester Roughly the equivalent of a term, or a period of three months (from the Latin tri = three and mensis = month). Tutorial A meeting and teaching session between a lecturer and a small group of students (of any number from 1 to about 15). Unfair means Any way in which a student or candidate in an examination gains an unfair advantage over his or her peers i.e. some form of cheating. Plagiarism is one of these means. ‘Vancouver’ This is a numbered system used mainly in academic medicine and referencing named after the city in British Columbia, Canada, where the first informal meeting took place of editors of medical journals in an system attempt to agree a common referencing system for their field of work. For more information go to: http://referencing.port.ac.uk/vancouver/index.html . Viva An oral examination to verify the student’s knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. Students who have recently completed a thesis are usually required to undergo a viva conducted by an external examiner before being awarded the degree or qualification. Workshop A practical, interactive teaching session with a lecturer and a small group of students (usually up to about twenty). The session is likely to include individual and group exercises and activities, as well as discussion. All web addresses in this leaflet were correct at the time of publication. The information in this leaflet can be made available in an alternative format on request – email skillshull.ac.uk. 7

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