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Library Research Tutorial for Students : K - P

Directed toward online students taking English Composition - anyone is welcome to use.

K - P

A researcher’s own word or words used to search for information in a database or search engine.

A periodical for general reading, quick information, or entertainment, frequently containing advertising for consumer products.

Modern Language Association or MLA

To quote the web site: "Founded in 1883, the Modern Language Association of America provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy." The organization also publishes the MLA handbook or style guide. 


An acronym for the term "Online Public Access Catalog."  The William Hessel Library has this. We just call it the library catalog.

A term used in searching computerized indexes to describe the direct interactive process of retrieving citations on a particular subject. One uses the Web, for example, to do online banking, search the Google search engine, buy an airline ticket, and search libraries' electronic resources to information.


Portable Document Format. Capturing and sending electronic documents in exactly the intended format.

Peer reviewed (refereed) journal 
A scholarly journal where the articles have been reviewed or refereed by the authors' peers, i.e., an editorial board of specialists in the field of research who evaluate the content and methodology of the author(s) work and results. Editorial board information generally appears on the inside cover page or title page.

Periodicals or Serials
Publications which are issued at regular intervals and generally intended to be continued indefinitely. Examples: newspapers, magazines, journals.

To copy and take credit for someone else's work, instead of acknowledging in writing that someone else produced it. Plagiarism can be grounds for dismissal from most colleges and universities.

Proximity Operators
Like "Boolean Operators" these are terms available to use in certain electronic databases that serve to give you better, more precise results when you search a database. Example in Lexis-Nexis:

doctor w/s malpractice [both of these words must be located in the sentence]


Subject Guide

Diane Baker's picture
Diane Baker
William Hessel Library
Lake Michigan College
2755 East Napier Avenue
Benton Harbor, MI 49022