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PSC 1011: American Government: Writing in Political Science


Research also has its own set of specific terms (or "jargon") that can be confusing at first. Below are those terms and their definitions.


Abstract - An introduction to a scholarly article. This covers the main points of research, methods, and conclusions. These provide a fantastic overview of the language used in the article and tell readers if the article will fit their research question.

Annotate/Annotation/Annotated - Often followed by the word "bibliography" (see below), all of these mean "to add notes with context" to the citations you provide. Basically, you're going to be adding a brief overview to the source.

Bibliography - Used in CHICAGO style citation, this is the title of the page that appears at the end of a research paper listing all sources used. This is a complete list of all sources evaluated for the paper or project - including sources not used in the final product.

Citation - Providing a source for a direct or indirect quote, paraphrase, or mention of a source's material.

Peer Reviewed - often used in conjunction with "scholarly" when referring to sources, this term means that the article, chapter, or book has been reviewed by someone else of similar credentials as the author (a peer) and proven to be accurate. Find more information here.

Primary Source - An original work; something a researcher examines first-hand. Examples include diaries, interviews, eyewitness accounts, lab studies, etc.

Reference List - The APA style citation page that appears at the end of a research paper with a complete list of sources used.

Secondary Source - Works that interpret or discuss primary sources. Examples include scholarly books and articles, reviews, and biographies.

Source - A body of work used to support the writer's conclusions.

Works Cited - The MLA style citation page at the end of a research paper listing all sources used in the final product.

What about citation generators?

Citation generators like Citation Machine and KnightCite are popular among college students because they claim to create the citation for you in whatever format you want! Sounds great, right?

Not necessarily. These sites sometimes get it wrong- they use incorrect information, old or incorrect formatting, or don't pull up your source and you end up typing all the information in by hand anyway. Use at your own risk- and always double-check any citations you create (or generate).

Below are some tutorials and more information on citations.

Why Citations Matter

Video: Citing sources using library databases

Chicago Sites and Books

Since Chicago-style formatting is required of all CMC Political Science classes, you will find links to Purdue OWL's Chicago style guide here.

Other CMC Resources