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How to Write the Definition of Terms in Chapter 1 of a Thesis

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Confusion to Clarity: Definition of Terms in a Research Paper

Explore the definition of terms in research paper to enhance your understanding of crucial scientific terminology and grow your knowledge.

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Have you ever come across a research paper and found yourself scratching your head over complex synonyms and unfamiliar terms? It’s a hassle as you have to fetch a dictionary and then ruffle through it to find the meaning of the terms.

To avoid that, an exclusive section called ‘ Definition of Terms in a Research Paper ’ is introduced which contains the definitions of terms used in the paper. Let us learn more about it in this article.

What Is The “Definition Of Terms” In A Research Paper?

The definition of terms section in a research paper provides a clear and concise explanation of key concepts, variables, and terminology used throughout the study. 

In the definition of terms section, researchers typically provide precise definitions for specific technical terms, acronyms, jargon, and any other domain-specific vocabulary used in their work. This section enhances the overall quality and rigor of the research by establishing a solid foundation for communication and understanding.

Purpose Of Definition Of Terms In A Research Paper

This section aims to ensure that readers have a common understanding of the terminology employed in the research, eliminating confusion and promoting clarity. The definitions provided serve as a reference point for readers, enabling them to comprehend the context and scope of the study. It serves several important purposes:

  • Enhancing clarity
  • Establishing a shared language
  • Providing a reference point
  • Setting the scope and context
  • Ensuring consistency

Benefits Of Having A Definition Of Terms In A Research Paper

Having a definition of terms section in a research paper offers several benefits that contribute to the overall quality and effectiveness of the study. These benefits include:

Clarity And Comprehension

Clear definitions enable readers to understand the specific meanings of key terms, concepts, and variables used in the research. This promotes clarity and enhances comprehension, ensuring that readers can follow the study’s arguments, methods, and findings more easily.

Consistency And Precision

Definitions provide a consistent framework for the use of terminology throughout the research paper. By clearly defining terms, researchers establish a standard vocabulary, reducing ambiguity and potential misunderstandings. This precision enhances the accuracy and reliability of the study’s findings.

Common Understanding

The definition of terms section helps establish a shared understanding among readers, including those from different disciplines or with varying levels of familiarity with the subject matter. It ensures that readers approach the research with a common knowledge base, facilitating effective communication and interpretation of the results.

Avoiding Misinterpretation

Without clear definitions, readers may interpret terms and concepts differently, leading to misinterpretation of the research findings. By providing explicit definitions, researchers minimize the risk of misunderstandings and ensure that readers grasp the intended meaning of the terminology used in the study.

Accessibility For Diverse Audiences

Research papers are often read by a wide range of individuals, including researchers, students, policymakers, and professionals. Having a definition of terms in a research paper helps the diverse audience understand the concepts better and make appropriate decisions. 

Types Of Definitions

There are several types of definitions that researchers can employ in a research paper, depending on the context and nature of the study. Here are some common types of definitions:

Lexical Definitions

Lexical definitions provide the dictionary or commonly accepted meaning of a term. They offer a concise and widely recognized explanation of a word or concept. Lexical definitions are useful for establishing a baseline understanding of a term, especially when dealing with everyday language or non-technical terms.

Operational Definitions

Operational definitions define a term or concept about how it is measured or observed in the study. These definitions specify the procedures, instruments, or criteria used to operationalize an abstract or theoretical concept. Operational definitions help ensure clarity and consistency in data collection and measurement.

Conceptual Definitions

Conceptual definitions provide an abstract or theoretical understanding of a term or concept within a specific research context. They often involve a more detailed and nuanced explanation, exploring the underlying principles, theories, or models that inform the concept. Conceptual definitions are useful for establishing a theoretical framework and promoting deeper understanding.

Descriptive Definitions

Descriptive definitions describe a term or concept by providing characteristics, features, or attributes associated with it. These definitions focus on outlining the essential qualities or elements that define the term. Descriptive definitions help readers grasp the nature and scope of a concept by painting a detailed picture.

Theoretical Definitions

Theoretical definitions explain a term or concept based on established theories or conceptual frameworks. They situate the concept within a broader theoretical context, connecting it to relevant literature and existing knowledge. Theoretical definitions help researchers establish the theoretical underpinnings of their study and provide a foundation for further analysis.

Also read: Understanding What is Theoretical Framework

Types Of Terms

In research papers, various types of terms can be identified based on their nature and usage. Here are some common types of terms:

A key term is a term that holds significant importance or plays a crucial role within the context of a research paper. It is a term that encapsulates a core concept, idea, or variable that is central to the study. Key terms are often essential for understanding the research objectives, methodology, findings, and conclusions.

Technical Term

Technical terms refer to specialized vocabulary or terminology used within a specific field of study. These terms are often precise and have specific meanings within their respective disciplines. Examples include “allele,” “hypothesis testing,” or “algorithm.”

Legal Terms

Legal terms are specific vocabulary used within the legal field to describe concepts, principles, and regulations. These terms have particular meanings within the legal context. Examples include “defendant,” “plaintiff,” “due process,” or “jurisdiction.”

Definitional Term

A definitional term refers to a word or phrase that requires an explicit definition to ensure clarity and understanding within a particular context. These terms may be technical, abstract, or have multiple interpretations.

Career Privacy Term

Career privacy term refers to a concept or idea related to the privacy of individuals in the context of their professional or occupational activities. It encompasses the protection of personal information, and confidential data, and the right to control the disclosure of sensitive career-related details. 

A broad term is a term that encompasses a wide range of related concepts, ideas, or objects. It has a broader scope and may encompass multiple subcategories or specific examples.

Also read: Keywords In A Research Paper: The Importance Of The Right Choice

Steps To Writing Definitions Of Terms

When writing the definition of terms section for a research paper, you can follow these steps to ensure clarity and accuracy:

Step 1: Identify Key Terms

Review your research paper and identify the key terms that require definition. These terms are typically central to your study, specific to your field or topic, or may have different interpretations.

Step 2: Conduct Research

Conduct thorough research on each key term to understand its commonly accepted definition, usage, and any variations or nuances within your specific research context. Consult authoritative sources such as academic journals, books, or reputable online resources.

Step 3: Craft Concise Definitions

Based on your research, craft concise definitions for each key term. Aim for clarity, precision, and relevance. Define the term in a manner that reflects its significance within your research and ensures reader comprehension.

Step 4: Use Your Own Words

Paraphrase the definitions in your own words to avoid plagiarism and maintain academic integrity. While you can draw inspiration from existing definitions, rephrase them to reflect your understanding and writing style. Avoid directly copying from sources.

Step 5: Provide Examples Or Explanations

Consider providing examples, explanations, or context for the defined terms to enhance reader understanding. This can help illustrate how the term is applied within your research or clarify its practical implications.

Step 6: Order And Format

Decide on the order in which you present the definitions. You can follow alphabetical order or arrange them based on their importance or relevance to your research. Use consistent formatting, such as bold or italics, to distinguish the defined terms from the rest of the text.

Step 7: Revise And Refine

Review the definitions for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Ensure that they align with your research objectives and are tailored to your specific study. Seek feedback from peers, mentors, or experts in your field to further refine and improve the definitions.

Step 8: Include Proper Citations

If you have drawn ideas or information from external sources, remember to provide proper citations for those sources. This demonstrates academic integrity and acknowledges the original authors.

Step 9: Incorporate The Section Into Your Paper

Integrate the definition of terms section into your research paper, typically as an early section following the introduction. Make sure it flows smoothly with the rest of the paper and provides a solid foundation for understanding the subsequent content.

By following these steps, you can create a well-crafted and informative definition of terms section that enhances the clarity and comprehension of your research paper.

In conclusion, the definition of terms in a research paper plays a critical role by providing clarity, establishing a common understanding, and enhancing communication among readers. The definition of terms section is an essential component that contributes to the overall quality, rigor, and effectiveness of a research paper.

Also read: Beyond The Main Text: The Value Of A Research Paper Appendix

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About Sowjanya Pedada

Sowjanya is a passionate writer and an avid reader. She holds MBA in Agribusiness Management and now is working as a content writer. She loves to play with words and hopes to make a difference in the world through her writings. Apart from writing, she is interested in reading fiction novels and doing craftwork. She also loves to travel and explore different cuisines and spend time with her family and friends.

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Writing Definitions

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This handout provides suggestions and examples for writing definitions.

A formal definition is based upon a concise, logical pattern that includes as much information as it can within a minimum amount of space. The primary reason to include definitions in your writing is to avoid misunderstanding with your audience. A formal definition consists of three parts:

  • The term (word or phrase) to be defined
  • The class of object or concept to which the term belongs
  • The differentiating characteristics that distinguish it from all others of its class

For example:

  • Water ( term ) is a liquid ( class ) made up of molecules of hydrogen and oxygen in the ratio of 2 to 1 ( differentiating characteristics ).
  • Comic books ( term ) are sequential and narrative publications ( class ) consisting of illustrations, captions, dialogue balloons, and often focus on super-powered heroes ( differentiating characteristics ).
  • Astronomy ( term ) is a branch of scientific study ( class ) primarily concerned with celestial objects inside and outside of the earth's atmosphere ( differentiating characteristics ).

Although these examples should illustrate the manner in which the three parts work together, they are not the most realistic cases. Most readers will already be quite familiar with the concepts of water, comic books, and astronomy. For this reason, it is important to know when and why you should include definitions in your writing.

When to Use Definitions

"Stellar Wobble is a measurable variation of speed wherein a star's velocity is shifted by the gravitational pull of a foreign body."
"Throughout this essay, the term classic gaming will refer specifically to playing video games produced for the Atari, the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and any systems in-between." Note: not everyone may define "classic gaming" within this same time span; therefore, it is important to define your terms
"Pagan can be traced back to Roman military slang for an incompetent soldier. In this sense, Christians who consider themselves soldiers of Christ are using the term not only to suggest a person's secular status but also their lack of bravery.'

Additional Tips for Writing Definitions

  • Avoid defining with "X is when" and "X is where" statements. These introductory adverb phrases should be avoided. Define a noun with a noun, a verb with a verb, and so forth.
"Rhyming poetry consists of lines that contain end rhymes." Better: "Rhyming poetry is an artform consisting of lines whose final words consistently contain identical, final stressed vowel sounds."
  • Define a word in simple and familiar terms. Your definition of an unfamiliar word should not lead your audience towards looking up more words in order to understand your definition.
  • Keep the class portion of your definition small but adequate. It should be large enough to include all members of the term you are defining but no larger. Avoid adding personal details to definitions. Although you may think the story about your Grandfather will perfectly encapsulate the concept of stinginess, your audience may fail to relate. Offering personal definitions may only increase the likeliness of misinterpretation that you are trying to avoid.

Scientific Research and Methodology

2.2 conceptual and operational definitions.

Research studies usually include terms that must be carefully and precisely defined, so that others know exactly what has been done and there are no ambiguities. Two types of definitions can be given: conceptual definitions and operational definitions .

Loosely speaking, a conceptual definition explains what to measure or observe (what a word or a term means for your study), and an operational definitions defines exactly how to measure or observe it.

For example, in a study of stress in students during a university semester. A conceptual definition would describe what is meant by ‘stress.’ An operational definition would describe how the ‘stress’ would be measured.

Sometimes the definitions themselves aren’t important, provided a clear definition is given. Sometimes, commonly-accepted definitions exist, so should be used unless there is a good reason to use a different definition (for example, in criminal law, an ‘adult’ in Australia is someone aged 18 or over ).

Sometimes, a commonly-accepted definition does not exist, so the definition being used should be clearly articulated.

Example 2.2 (Operational and conceptual definitions) Players and fans have become more aware of concussions and head injuries in sport. A Conference on concussion in sport developed this conceptual definition ( McCrory et al. 2013 ) :

Concussion is a brain injury and is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces. Several common features that incorporate clinical, pathologic and biomechanical injury constructs that may be utilised in defining the nature of a concussive head injury include: Concussion may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an “impulsive” force transmitted to the head. Concussion typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, symptoms and signs may evolve over a number of minutes to hours. Concussion may result in neuropathological changes, but the acute clinical symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury and, as such, no abnormality is seen on standard structural neuroimaging studies. Concussion results in a graded set of clinical symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Resolution of the clinical and cognitive symptoms typically follows a sequential course. However, it is important to note that in some cases symptoms may be prolonged.

While this is all helpful… it does not explain how to identify a player with concussion during a game.

Rugby decided on this operational definition ( Raftery et al. 2016 ) :

… a concussion applies with any of the following: The presence, pitch side, of any Criteria Set 1 signs or symptoms (table 1)… [ Note : This table includes symptoms such as ‘convulsion,’ ‘clearly dazed,’ etc.]; An abnormal post game, same day assessment…; An abnormal 36–48 h assessment…; The presence of clinical suspicion by the treating doctor at any time…

Example 2.3 (Operational and conceptual definitions) Consider a study requiring water temperature to be measured.

An operational definition would explain how the temperature is measured: the thermometer type, how the thermometer was positioned, how long was it left in the water, and so on.

definition of terms format in a research paper

Example 2.4 (Operational definitions) Consider a study measuring stress in first-year university students.

Stress cannot be measured directly, but could be assessed using a survey (like the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) ( Cohen et al. 1983 ) ).

The operational definition of stress is the score on the ten-question PSS. Other means of measuring stress are also possible (such as heart rate or blood pressure).

Meline ( 2006 ) discusses five studies about stuttering, each using a different operational definition:

  • Study 1: As diagnosed by speech-language pathologist.
  • Study 2: Within-word disfluences greater than 5 per 150 words.
  • Study 3: Unnatural hesitation, interjections, restarted or incomplete phrases, etc.
  • Study 4: More than 3 stuttered words per minute.
  • Study 5: State guidelines for fluency disorders.

A study of snacking in Australia ( Fayet-Moore et al. 2017 ) used this operational definition of ‘snacking’:

…an eating occasion that occurred between meals based on time of day. — Fayet-Moore et al. ( 2017 ) (p. 3)

A study examined the possible relationship between the ‘pace of life’ and the incidence of heart disease ( Levine 1990 ) in 36 US cities. The researchers used four different operational definitions for ‘pace of life’ (remember the article was published in 1990!):

  • The walking speed of randomly chosen pedestrians.
  • The speed with which bank clerks gave ‘change for two $20 bills or [gave] two $20 bills for change.’
  • The talking speed of postal clerks.
  • The proportion of men and women wearing a wristwatch.

None of these perfectly measure ‘pace of life,’ of course. Nonetheless, the researchers found that, compared to people on the West Coast,

… people in the Northeast walk faster, make change faster, talk faster and are more likely to wear a watch… — Levine ( 1990 ) (p. 455)

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Q: How to write operational definition of terms?

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Asked by Chiamaka Ugwuja on 18 Mar, 2019

Operational definition of terms refers to a detailed explanation of the technical terms and measurements used during data collection. This is done to standardize the data. Whenever data is being collected, it is necessary to clearly define how to collect the data. Data that is not defined runs the risk of being inconsistent and might not give the same results when the study is replicated. Often we assume that those collecting the data understand what to do and how to complete the task. However, people may have differing views and interpretations of the same thing, and this will affect the data collection. The only way to ensure that the data is consistent is by means of a detailed operational definition of terms. 

The operational definition of terms is included in the Methods section. For example , an example of operational definition of the term " weight " of an object would be something like this: "weight refers to the numbers that appear when an object is placed on a weighing scale."

For more detailed guidance on how to write operational definition of terms, you can refer to this article .  

Related reading: 

  • How to write the Methods section of a research paper

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Answered by Editage Insights on 25 Mar, 2019

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Where to find a research paper definition of terms sample.

When writing your research paper, you want to ensure that attention is given to the minutest of details. A definition of terms may not be deemed necessary for some students, especially those who prefer taking the easier route. However, incorporating a definition of terms can greatly enhance your research paper.

Benefits of a Definition of Terms

  • This is a useful place to include technical terms in your topic or your research question.
  • You can clarify the definition of a term especially if it has different meanings. Include the definition according to how it will be used throughout your research.
  • Makes it easy for someone to consult to revisit the definition of a term instead of searching through the paper to try and locate it.
  • Remember your paper is written not only for your professor but also for a general audience. You want to ensure that the general public is able to read your research paper and understand technical terminology and jargons.

This being said, if you have never seen a research paper with a definition of terms, you can find here. Otherwise to find samples of definition of terms, you can consider doing the following:

  • Use several different research samples that your professor can provide you. From these samples, pick out the ones that contain a definition of terms.
  • Use the internet and plug the terms into your favorite search engines. If you do choose the option of using the Internet, find here useful samples.
  • Make use of a handbook for research papers which normally have samples there that you can copy and utilize as a guide.

A Guide For Your Definition of Terms

When you go through the definition of terms samples that you can find here, take note that this is not a place for you to add just any terms. This is a place where you define those terms of a technical nature to the research, a term that you would not want your audience to misinterpret. If this will not add any value to your research paper, then you do not have to include a definition of terms which is optional.

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  • What is a Glossary? | Definition, Templates, & Examples

What Is a Glossary? | Definition, Templates, & Examples

Published on May 24, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation , it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader.

Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and it’s intended to enhance their understanding of your work. Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one.

If you do choose to include a glossary, it should go at the beginning of your document, just after the table of contents and (if applicable) list of tables and figures or list of abbreviations . It’s helpful to place your glossary at the beginning, so your readers can familiarize themselves with key terms relevant to your thesis or dissertation topic prior to reading your work. Remember that glossaries are always in alphabetical order.

To help you get started, download our glossary template in the format of your choice below.

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Glossaries and definitions often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited.

However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to citing your sources , in order to avoid accidental plagiarism .

If you’d prefer to cite just in case, you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA Style for citations in your glossary. Remember that direct quotes should always be accompanied by a citation.

In addition to the glossary, you can also include a list of tables and figures and a list of abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation if you choose.

Include your lists in the following order:

  • List of figures and tables
  • List of abbreviations

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A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.

A glossary or “glossary of terms” is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.

Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organized by page number.

Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.

However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

George, T. (2023, July 18). What Is a Glossary? | Definition, Templates, & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 25, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/glossary-of-a-dissertation/

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Abstract:  a brief summary of an information source, such as a journal article or paper. An abstract appears at the beginning of the work, and it outlines the work's key points and arguments.

Citation :  a quotation from or a reference to a book, paper, author, etc.Citations are used in the body of your paper to tell your readers the source of the information that you are quoting and give credit to authors for their original ideas. 

Journal:  a type of perioda quote or a reference to a book, article, passage, or other text or author; in academic writing, citations are typically used in defense of an argument.ical which is usually considered more scholarly than a popular magazine. Journals contain scholarly articles, they are often published by academic associations, and their subject matter is specific to certain fields of study.

Magazine:  a type of periodical which is generally not scholarly in nature and which may or may not have an author.

Encyclopedia:  a general information resource that contains articles on many subjects. An encyclopedia can be generalized, and provide information on many subjects, or it may be subject specific, and provide detailed information on one subject.

Periodical:  a magazine, journal, newsletter, or other annual publication that is published at least 3 times a year.

Reference:  references are similar to citations, but they provide more complete information about the sources that you have cited so that your readers can more easily locate the sources if they need to. Think about a reference as pointing (or referring) to another source. References do not appear in the body of your writing, but are shown in a complete reference list at the end of your paper.

  • A  reference list  is a list of the all the sources that you have cited in your paper.

Style Guide : a set of guidelines governing writing and formatting that is designed to provide uniformity in the style of writing, particularly academic or scholarly writing. A style guide makes it easier to read and understand academic writing.

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definition of terms format in a research paper

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Chapter Twelve: Positing a Thesis Statement and Composing a Title / Defining Key Terms

Defining Key Terms

You are viewing the first edition of this textbook. a second edition is available – please visit the latest edition for updated information..

Earlier in this course, we discussed how to conduct a library search using key terms. Here we discuss how to present key terms. Place yourself in your audience’s position and try to anticipate their need for information. Is your audience composed mostly of novices or professionals? If they are novices, you will need to provide more definition and context for your key concepts and terms.

Because disciplinary knowledge is filled with specialized terms, an ordinary dictionary is of limited value. Disciplines like psychology, cultural studies, and history use terms in ways that are often different from the way we communicate in daily life. Some disciplines have their own dictionaries of key terms. Others may have terms scattered throughout glossaries in important primary texts and textbooks.

Key terms are the “means of exchange” in disciplines. You gain entry into the discussion by demonstrating how well you know and understand them. Some disciplinary keywords can be tricky because they mean one thing in ordinary speech but can mean something different in the discipline. For instance, in ordinary speech, we use the word  shadow  to refer to a darker area produced by an object or person between a light source and a surface. In Jungian psychology,  shadow  refers to the unconscious or unknown aspects of a personality. Sometimes there is debate within a discipline about what key terms mean or how they should be used.

To avoid confusion, define all key terms in your paper before you begin a discussion about them. Even if you think your audience knows the definition of key terms, readers want to see how  you  understand the terms before you move ahead. If a definition is contested—meaning different writers define the term in different ways—make sure you acknowledge these differences and explain why you favor one definition over the others. Cite your sources when presenting key terms and concepts.

Key Takeaways

Strategies for Conducting Literary Research Copyright © 2021 by Barry Mauer & John Venecek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Any untoward occurrence in a research participant. The occurrence need not have a clear causal relationship with the individual’s participation in the research; an AE can be any unfavorable and unintended sign, symptom, event, or occurrence affecting a participant’s physical, mental, social, financial, legal, or psychological well-being. An unanticipated AE should be reported to the committee as soon as possible after it is identified.

Agreement by an individual not competent to give legally valid informed consent (e.g., a child or cognitively impaired person) to participate in research. An assent is typically paired with permission from a parent or guardian, and together they comprise the informed consent to participate.

An officer of an institution with the authority to speak for and legally commit the institution to adherence to the requirements of the federal regulations regarding the involvement of human subjects in biomedical and behavioral research.

A statement of basic ethical principles governing research involving human subjects issued by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects in 1979. View a summary of the Belmont Report . The Belmont Report principles permeate human subjects research to this day.

An ethical principle discussed in the Belmont Report that entails an obligation to protect persons from harm. The principle of beneficence can be expressed in two general rules: 1) do not harm; and 2) protect from harm by maximizing possible benefits and minimizing possible risks of harm.

A valued or desired outcome associated with a research project. Anticipated benefits may express the probability that subjects and society may benefit from the research procedures. Research may benefit the individual or society as a whole. If research will not benefit individuals, it is required to provide a reasonable likelihood of resulting in benefits to society. UNLV’s human research application requests information about the direct benefits accruing to the research participants and to society. Compensation and incentives given to participants are not considered benefit.

This is a certificate issued by the National Institutes of Health that protects identifiable research information of a sensitive nature from forced disclosure. It is typically requested when the researcher believes his/her research objectives could not be met without this form of protection. 

Persons who have not attained the legal age for consent to treatment or procedures involved in the research, as determined under the applicable law of the jurisdiction in which the research will be conducted [45 CFR 46 46.401(a)]. In Nevada, individuals younger than 18 years of age are considered children for most research situations, and informed consent then consists of the child’s assent and the parent’s permission.(See “Assent.”)

The act of forcing or compelling one to take action against one’s will. Coercion can be overt or perceived, and it can occur when the researcher is in a position of authority or power over the subject (for example, teachers over students or physicians over patients). It can also occur when incentives become so great that the participant will only participate to attain the incentive.

Having either a psychiatric disorder (e.g., psychosis, neurosis, personality or behavior disorders, or dementia) or a developmental disorder (e.g., mental retardation) that affects cognitive or emotional functions to the extent that capacity for judgment and reasoning is significantly diminished. Others, including persons under the influence of or dependent on drugs or alcohol, those suffering from degenerative diseases affecting the brain, terminally ill patients, and persons with severely disabling physical handicaps, may also be compromised in their ability to make decisions in their best interests.

Human subjects research projects conducted by more than one institution. Each institution is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjects. Arrangements for joint review, relying upon one qualified IRB, or similar arrangements are acceptable. (Please contact the ORI-HS staff if this situation occurs; they can assist with the arrangements.)

Payment for participation in research. Compensation should be appropriate for the amount of effort involved, and not excessive and thereby coercive. Compensation is NOT considered a benefit.

Technically, a legal term, used to denote capacity to act on one’s own behalf; the ability to understand information presented, to appreciate the consequences of acting (or not acting) on that information, and to make a choice. (See also: Incompetence, Incapacity)

Pertains to the treatment of information that an individual has disclosed in a relationship of trust and with the expectation that it will not be divulged to others without permission in ways that are inconsistent with the understanding of the original disclosure.

Defined as a set of conditions in which an investigator’s judgment concerning a primary interest (e.g., subject welfare, integrity of research) could be biased by a secondary interest (e.g., personal or financial gain). See information regarding UNLV’s Conflict of Interest/Compensated Outside Services Policy .

See “Informed Consent.”

Subject(s) used for comparison who are not given the treatment under study or who do not have a given condition, background, or risk factor that is the object of study. Control conditions may be concurrent (occurring more or less simultaneously with the condition under study) or historical (preceding the condition under study). When the present condition of subjects is compared with their own condition on a prior regimen or treatment, the study is considered historically controlled.

The other primary scholar or researcher involved in conducting the research. Co-PIs must also meet the UNLV PI eligibility requirements.

Giving subjects previously undisclosed information about the research project following completion of their participation in research.

A code of ethics for clinical research approved by the World Medical Association in 1964 and widely adopted by medical associations in various countries. It was revised most recently in 2008.

Any study that is not truly experimental (e.g., quasi-experimental studies, correlational studies, record reviews, case histories, and observational studies).

A legal status conferred upon persons who have not yet attained the age of legal competency as defined by state law (for such purposes as consenting to medical care), but who are entitled to treatment as if they had by virtue of assuming adult responsibilities such as marriage, procreation, or being self-supporting and not living at home. (See also “Mature Minor.”)

Fair or just; used in the context of selection of subjects to indicate that the benefits and burdens of research are fairly distributed.

The code of federal regulations (45 CFR 46.101(b)) identifies several categories of minimal risk research as exempt from the Federal Policy for the Protection of Research Subjects. This determination must not be made by the PI, but by the IRB or someone appointed by the IRB. For more information, see the U.S. Health and Human Services website, “ Exempt Research and Research That May Undergo Expedited Review .”

The code of federal regulations (45 CFR 46.110 and 21 CFR 56.110) identifies several categories of minimal risk research that may be reviewed through an expedited review process. For more information, see the U.S. Health and Human Services website on “ Guidance on Expedited Review Procedures .”

This act defines the rights of students and parents concerning reviewing, amending, and disclosing educational records and requires written permission to disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education record, except under certain circumstances such as an order of subpoena. 1

The federal policy that provides regulations for the involvement of human subjects in research. The policy applies to all research involving human subjects conducted, supported, or otherwise subject to regulation by any federal department or agency that takes appropriate administrative action to make the policy applicable to such research. Currently, 16 federal agencies have adopted this policy, commonly referred to as “The Federal Policy,” but also known as the “Common Rule.”

A formal written, binding commitment that is submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) in which an institution agrees to comply with applicable regulations governing research with human subjects and stipulates the procedures through which compliance will be achieved. UNLV’s assurance number is FWA00002305.

Review of proposed research at a convened meeting at which a majority of the membership of the IRB are present, including at least one member whose primary concerns are in nonscientific areas. For the research to be approved, it must receive the approval of a majority of those members present at the meeting. Generally, studies that undergo full board review are studies involving greater than minimal risk, risky, or novel procedures or vulnerable populations.

An individual who is authorized under applicable state or local law to give permission on behalf of a child for general medical care. In Nevada, under NRS 159.0805, guardians may not give permission for a child to enter into a research study unless a court order has been obtained.

The rule which protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information. The privacy rule provides federal protections for personal health information held by covered entities and gives patients specific rights with respect to that information.

Individuals whose physiological or behavioral characteristics and responses are the object of study in a research project. Under the federal regulations, human subjects are defined as living individual(s) about whom an investigator conducting research obtains: (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual; or (2) identifiable private information.

Federal regulations define identifiable to mean that the identity of the individual subject is or may readily be ascertained by the investigator or may be associated with the information.

This refers to a person’s mental status and means inability to understand information presented, to appreciate the consequences of acting (or not acting) on that information, and to make a choice. The term is often used as a synonym for incompetence.

A legal term meaning inability to manage one’s own affairs, and often used as a synonym for incapacity.

A person’s voluntary agreement, based upon adequate knowledge and understanding of relevant information, to participate in research or to undergo a diagnostic, therapeutic, or preventive procedure. In giving informed consent, subjects may not waive or appear to waive any of their legal rights, or release or appear to release the investigator, the sponsor, the institution, or agents thereof from liability for negligence.

Institutional research (also called internal research) is the gathering of data from or about UNLV students, faculty, and staff by university offices or organizations, with the sole intent of using the data for internal informational purposes or for required data-collection purposes. This data would not be made generalizable. Examples include surveys to improve university services or procedures; ascertain the opinions, experiences, or preferences of the university community; or to provide necessary information to characterize the university community. This kind of data gathering does not require IRB review unless respondents are queried about sensitive aspects of their own behavior. For debatable projects, investigators should submit an exclusion review form to the ORI-HS.

A specially constituted, federally mandated review body established or designated by an entity to protect the welfare of human subjects recruited to participate in biomedical or behavioral research. UNLV has two IRBs – Social/Behavioral and Biomedical.

The federal regulations define interaction as “communication or interpersonal contact between investigator and subject.”

The federal regulations define intervention as both physical procedures by which data are gathered (for example, venipuncture) and manipulations of the subject or the subject’s environment that are performed for research purposes.

This refers to a researcher conducting the project. Investigators can be principal investigators or co-principal investigators. Students are always listed as student investigators.

A formal agreement between UNLV and another FWA-holding institution that allows the one IRB to serve as the “IRB of Record” for protocols involving collaborative research between UNLV and the other institution.

A term utilized when an institution assumes the IRB responsibilities for a human subject research protocol conducted at another institution. An IRB authorization agreement signed by institutional officials at both institutions is required.

An ethical principle discussed in the Belmont Report requiring fairness in distribution of burdens and benefits; those that bear the burdens of research should also receive the benefits. There must be fair and equitable selection of subjects.

A person authorized either by statute or by court appointment to make decisions on behalf of another person. In human subjects research, an individual or judicial or other body authorized under applicable law to consent on behalf of a prospective subject to the subject’s participation in the procedure(s) involved in the research.

Someone who has not reached adulthood (as defined by state law) but who may be treated as an adult for certain purposes (e.g., consenting to medical care). Note that a mature minor is not necessarily an emancipated minor. (See also “Emancipated Minor.”)

A risk is minimal when the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the proposed research are not greater, in and of themselves, than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests. For example, the risk of drawing a small amount of blood from a healthy individual for research purposes is no greater than the risk of doing so as part of routine physical examination. Note: The definition of minimal risk for research involving prisoners differs somewhat from that given for non-institutionalized adults.

Any change to an IRB-approved study protocol, regardless of the level of review it receives initially.

A federally mandated member of an Institutional Review Board who has no ties to the parent institution, its staff, or faculty. This individual is usually from the local community (e.g., business person, attorney, or teacher).

A code of research ethics developed during the trials of Nazi war criminals following World War II and widely adopted as a standard during the 1950s and 1960s for protecting human subjects.

The office within the Department of Health and Human Services that is responsible for implementing DHHS regulations (45CFR46) governing research involving human subjects.

The UNLV office, formerly known as the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS), that serves as an administrative hub for the UNLV IRB’s oversight of human subjects research.

The agreement of parent(s) to the participation of their child in research.

The scientist or scholar with primary responsibility for the design and conduct of a research project. See UNLV’s PI Eligibility Policy for those who are eligible for automatic PI status and how to apply for PI status.

An individual involuntarily confined in a penal institution, including persons: 1) sentenced under a criminal or civil statue; 2) detained pending arraignment, trial, or sentencing; and 3) detained in other facilities (e.g., for drug detoxification or treatment of alcoholism) under statutes or commitment procedures providing such alternatives to criminal prosecution or incarceration in a penal institution. Note that this includes adjudicated youth.

Control over the extent, timing, and circumstances of disclosing personal information (physical, behavioral, or intellectual) with others.

Defined by the federal regulations to include information about behavior that occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place. It also includes information that has been provided for specific purposes by an individual and which the individual can reasonably expect will not be made public (e.g., a medical record). Private information must be individually identifiable (i.e., the identity of the subject is or may readily be ascertained by the investigator or associated with the information) in order for the acquisition of the information to constitute research involving human subjects.

Studies designed to observe outcomes or events that occur subsequent to the identification of the group of subjects to be studied. Prospective studies need not involve manipulation or intervention but may be purely observational or involve only the collection of data.

Applies to survey research conducted in schools and states that parents have the right to inspect surveys and questionnaires distributed within schools. This amendment also specifies that parental permission must be obtained to have minors participate in surveys that disclose certain types of sensitive information. 1

The formal design or plan of an experiment or research study; specifically, the plan submitted to an IRB for review and to an agency for research support. The protocol includes a description of the research design or methodology to be employed, the eligibility requirements for prospective subjects and controls, the treatment regimen(s), and the proposed methods of analysis that will be performed on the collected data.

A systematic investigation (i.e., the gathering and analysis of information) designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.

An ethical principle discussed in the Belmont Report requiring that individual autonomy be respected and persons with diminished autonomy be protected.

Research conducted by reviewing records from the past (e.g., birth and death certificates, medical records, school records, or employment records) or by obtaining information about past events elicited through interviews or surveys. Case control studies are an example of this type of research. This requires IRB review, as long as it involves private information about humans.

The probability of harm or injury (physical, psychological, social, or economic) occurring as a result of participation in a research study. Both the probability and magnitude of possible harm may vary from minimal to significant. Risks include immediate risks of study participation as well as risks of long-term effects.

This involves two types of data: 1) data collected by someone other than the principal investigator for a research or non-research purpose, or 2) data that was collected by the principal investigator, but when collected was not intended to be used for human subjects research. For data to be considered secondary data, the data must exist prior to the initiation of the current research study or be “on the shelf” at the time of study initiation. Principal investigators must submit and receive approval for use of secondary human subjects data prior to initiation of the project.

A visit by agency officials, representatives, or consultants to the location of a research activity to assess the adequacy of IRB protection of human subjects or the capability of personnel to conduct the research.

“Participant” is the preferred term since it more correctly portrays the participatory aspects of research. Sometimes “subject” more accurately describes the role.

Free of coercion, duress, or undue inducement or influence. Used in the research context to refer to a subject’s decision to participate (or to continue to participate) in a research activity.

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Definition Of Terms In A Research Paper: Where To Find A Good Sample

When you write a research paper, you usually don’t pay attention to details. You just want to finish everything in fast way so you can enjoy your afternoon. One of the secrets that students don’t know is that professors pay more attention to the details than they do to the general composition. The lack of definition of terms might seem like nothing to you, but for them it is a strong reason to give you a small grade. Here is where you can find a sample that will help you solve the assignment:

  • In literature magazines. Until now, you thought that people read magazines just for fun. You will be surprised to find out that there are some magazines who are dedicated exclusively to literature. You will find there not only samples, but also instructions on how to build different kinds of compositions and papers. A big advantage of this is that you can be sure that whatever you take from there is correct. An editor verified each piece of text before publishing the magazines.
  • On writing services websites. You know perfectly that if you want to collaborate with a writing service, you have to pay a small amount of money. What you don’t know is that on their websites they publish different articles that can be helpful for students, and they do this without asking for any money. Since they are professional in this field, you can count of the fact that their examples are appropriate for academic use.
  • On freelancing websites. Don’t worry, we will not ask you to hire anyone. Any freelancer needs to have a portfolio; this is how other clients will know if he is a good fit for the job or not. Writers publish amazing papers in their portfolios, and you can take advantage of this. Since you only need inspiration and not an actual composition, you can take a look at these texts and see how you have to complete your own.
  • In literature clubs. You saw your colleagues a few times going to the library after school. They are going there to discuss about literature and writing, so go and join them. They are well prepared so they will be able to offer you many examples that are good for your course. Even more, they can even explain to you how to build your composition.

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Home » Term Paper – Format, Examples and Writing Guide

Term Paper – Format, Examples and Writing Guide

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V

Definition:

Term paper is a type of academic writing assignment that is typically assigned to students at the end of a semester or term. It is usually a research-based paper that is meant to demonstrate the student’s understanding of a particular topic, as well as their ability to analyze and synthesize information from various sources.

Term papers are usually longer than other types of academic writing assignments and can range anywhere from 5 to 20 pages or more, depending on the level of study and the specific requirements of the assignment. They often require extensive research and the use of a variety of sources, including books, articles, and other academic publications.

Term Paper Format

The format of a term paper may vary depending on the specific requirements of your professor or institution. However, a typical term paper usually consists of the following sections:

  • Title page: This should include the title of your paper, your name, the course name and number, your instructor’s name, and the date.
  • Abstract : This is a brief summary of your paper, usually no more than 250 words. It should provide an overview of your topic, the research question or hypothesis, your methodology, and your main findings or conclusions.
  • Introduction : This section should introduce your topic and provide background information on the subject. You should also state your research question or hypothesis and explain the importance of your research.
  • Literature review : This section should review the existing literature on your topic. You should summarize the key findings and arguments made by other scholars and identify any gaps in the literature that your research aims to address.
  • Methodology: This section should describe the methods you used to collect and analyze your data. You should explain your research design, sampling strategy, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • Results : This section should present your findings. You can use tables, graphs, and charts to illustrate your data.
  • Discussion : This section should interpret your findings and explain what they mean in relation to your research question or hypothesis. You should also discuss any limitations of your study and suggest areas for future research.
  • Conclusion : This section should summarize your main findings and conclusions. You should also restate the importance of your research and its implications for the field.
  • References : This section should list all the sources you cited in your paper using a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
  • Appendices : This section should include any additional materials that are relevant to your study but not essential to your main argument (e.g., survey questions, interview transcripts).

Structure of Term Paper

Here’s an example structure for a term paper:

I. Introduction

A. Background information on the topic

B. Thesis statement

II. Literature Review

A. Overview of current literature on the topic

B. Discussion of key themes and findings from literature

C. Identification of gaps in current literature

III. Methodology

A. Description of research design

B. Discussion of data collection methods

C. Explanation of data analysis techniques

IV. Results

A. Presentation of findings

B. Analysis and interpretation of results

C. Comparison of results with previous studies

V. Discussion

A. Summary of key findings

B. Explanation of how results address the research questions

C. Implications of results for the field

VI. Conclusion

A. Recap of key points

B. Significance of findings

C. Future directions for research

VII. References

A. List of sources cited in the paper

How to Write Term Paper

Here are some steps to help you write a term paper:

  • Choose a topic: Choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to your course. If your professor has assigned a topic, make sure you understand it and clarify any doubts before you start.
  • Research : Conduct research on your topic by gathering information from various sources such as books, academic journals, and online resources. Take notes and organize your information systematically.
  • Create an outline : Create an outline of your term paper by arranging your ideas and information in a logical sequence. Your outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Write a thesis statement: Write a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main idea of your paper. Your thesis statement should be included in your introduction.
  • Write the introduction: The introduction should grab the reader’s attention, provide background information on your topic, and introduce your thesis statement.
  • Write the body : The body of your paper should provide supporting evidence for your thesis statement. Use your research to provide details and examples to support your argument. Make sure to organize your ideas logically and use transition words to connect paragraphs.
  • Write the conclusion : The conclusion should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.
  • Edit and proofread: Edit and proofread your term paper carefully to ensure that it is free of errors and flows smoothly. Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
  • Format and cite your sources: Follow the formatting guidelines provided by your professor and cite your sources properly using the appropriate citation style.
  • Submit your paper : Submit your paper on time and according to the instructions provided by your professor.

Term Paper Example

Here’s an example of a term paper:

Title : The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

As the world becomes more digitally interconnected, cybersecurity threats are increasing in frequency and sophistication. Traditional security measures are no longer enough to protect against these threats. This paper explores the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity, including how AI can be used to detect and respond to threats in real-time, the challenges of implementing AI in cybersecurity, and the potential ethical implications of AI-powered security systems. The paper concludes with recommendations for organizations looking to integrate AI into their cybersecurity strategies.

Introduction :

The increasing number of cybersecurity threats in recent years has led to a growing interest in the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve cybersecurity. AI has the ability to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate a security breach. Additionally, AI can automate responses to threats, allowing for faster and more effective mitigation of security incidents. However, there are also challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, such as the need for large amounts of high-quality data, the potential for AI systems to make mistakes, and the ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI in security.

Literature Review:

This section of the paper reviews existing research on the use of AI in cybersecurity. It begins by discussing the types of AI techniques used in cybersecurity, including machine learning, natural language processing, and neural networks. The literature review then explores the advantages of using AI in cybersecurity, such as its ability to detect previously unknown threats and its potential to reduce the workload of security analysts. However, the review also highlights some of the challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, such as the need for high-quality training data and the potential for AI systems to be fooled by sophisticated attacks.

Methodology :

To better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with using AI in cybersecurity, this paper conducted a survey of cybersecurity professionals working in a variety of industries. The survey included questions about the types of AI techniques used in their organizations, the challenges they faced when implementing AI in cybersecurity, and their perceptions of the ethical implications of using AI in security.

The results of the survey showed that while many organizations are interested in using AI in cybersecurity, they face several challenges when implementing these systems. These challenges include the need for high-quality training data, the potential for AI systems to be fooled by sophisticated attacks, and the difficulty of integrating AI with existing security systems. Additionally, many respondents expressed concerns about the ethical implications of using AI in security, such as the potential for AI to be biased or to make decisions that are harmful to individuals or society as a whole.

Discussion :

Based on the results of the survey and the existing literature, this paper discusses the potential benefits and risks of using AI in cybersecurity. It also provides recommendations for organizations looking to integrate AI into their security strategies, such as the need to prioritize data quality and to ensure that AI systems are transparent and accountable.

Conclusion :

While there are challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, the potential benefits of using these systems are significant. AI can help organizations detect and respond to threats more quickly and effectively, reducing the risk of security breaches. However, it is important for organizations to be aware of the potential ethical implications of using AI in security and to take steps to ensure that these systems are transparent and accountable.

References:

  • Alkhaldi, S., Al-Daraiseh, A., & Lutfiyya, H. (2019). A Survey on Artificial Intelligence Techniques in Cyber Security. Journal of Information Security, 10(03), 191-207.
  • Gartner. (2019). Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020/
  • Kshetri, N. (2018). Blockchain’s roles in meeting key supply chain management objectives. International Journal of Information Management, 39, 80-89.
  • Lipton, Z. C. (2018). The mythos of model interpretability. arXiv preprint arXiv:1606.03490.
  • Schneier, B. (2019). Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World. WW Norton & Company.
  • Wahab, M. A., Rahman, M. S., & Islam, M. R. (2020). A Survey on AI Techniques in Cybersecurity. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 11(2), 22-27.

When to Write Term Paper

A term paper is usually a lengthy research paper that is assigned to students at the end of a term or semester. There are several situations when writing a term paper may be required, including:

  • As a course requirement: In most cases, a term paper is required as part of the coursework for a particular course. It may be assigned by the instructor as a way of assessing the student’s understanding of the course material.
  • To explore a specific topic : A term paper can be an excellent opportunity for students to explore a specific topic of interest in-depth. It allows them to conduct extensive research on the topic and develop their understanding of it.
  • To develop critical thinking skills : Writing a term paper requires students to engage in critical thinking and analysis. It helps them to develop their ability to evaluate and interpret information, as well as to present their ideas in a clear and coherent manner.
  • To prepare for future academic or professional pursuits: Writing a term paper can be an excellent way for students to prepare for future academic or professional pursuits. It can help them to develop the research and writing skills necessary for success in higher education or in a professional career.

Purpose of Term Paper

The main purposes of a term paper are:

  • Demonstrate mastery of a subject: A term paper provides an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. It requires students to research and analyze the topic, and then present their findings in a clear and organized manner.
  • Develop critical thinking skills: Writing a term paper requires students to think critically about their subject matter, analyzing various sources and viewpoints, and evaluating evidence to support their arguments.
  • Improve writing skills : Writing a term paper helps students improve their writing skills, including organization, clarity, and coherence. It also requires them to follow specific formatting and citation guidelines, which can be valuable skills for future academic and professional endeavors.
  • Contribute to academic discourse : A well-written term paper can contribute to academic discourse by presenting new insights, ideas, and arguments that add to the existing body of knowledge on a particular topic.
  • Prepare for future research : Writing a term paper can help prepare students for future research, by teaching them how to conduct a literature review, evaluate sources, and formulate research questions and hypotheses. It can also help them develop research skills that they can apply in future academic or professional endeavors.

Advantages of Term Paper

There are several advantages of writing a term paper, including:

  • In-depth exploration: Writing a term paper allows you to delve deeper into a specific topic, allowing you to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
  • Improved writing skills: Writing a term paper involves extensive research, critical thinking, and the organization of ideas into a cohesive written document. As a result, writing a term paper can improve your writing skills significantly.
  • Demonstration of knowledge: A well-written term paper demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, which can be beneficial for academic or professional purposes.
  • Development of research skills : Writing a term paper requires conducting thorough research, analyzing data, and synthesizing information from various sources. This process can help you develop essential research skills that can be applied in many other areas.
  • Enhancement of critical thinking : Writing a term paper encourages you to think critically, evaluate information, and develop well-supported arguments. These skills can be useful in many areas of life, including personal and professional decision-making.
  • Preparation for further academic work : Writing a term paper is excellent preparation for more extensive academic projects, such as a thesis or dissertation.

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  • What is a Glossary? | Definition, Templates, & Examples

What Is a Glossary? | Definition, Templates, & Examples

Published on 26 May 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on 25 October 2022.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader.

Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and it’s intended to enhance their understanding of your work. Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one.

If you do choose to include a glossary, it should go at the beginning of your document, just after the table of contents and (if applicable) list of tables and figures or list of abbreviations . It’s helpful to place your glossary at the beginning, so your readers can familiarise themselves with key terms prior to reading your work. Remember that glossaries are always in alphabetical order.

To help you get started, download our glossary template in the format of your choice below.

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  • Table of contents

Example of a glossary

Citing sources for your glossary, additional lists to include in your dissertation, frequently asked questions about glossaries.

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Glossaries and definitions often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited.

However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to citing your sources , in order to avoid accidental plagiarism .

If you’d prefer to cite just in case, you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA Style for citations in your glossary. Remember that direct quotes should always be accompanied by a citation.

In addition to the glossary, you can also include a list of tables and figures and a list of abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation if you choose.

Include your lists in the following order:

  • List of figures and tables
  • List of abbreviations

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.

Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.

However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organised by page number.

Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.

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George, T. (2022, October 25). What Is a Glossary? | Definition, Templates, & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 25 March 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/what-is-a-glossary/

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

Glossary of research terms.

  • Purpose of Guide
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This glossary is intended to assist you in understanding commonly used terms and concepts when reading, interpreting, and evaluating scholarly research. Also included are common words and phrases defined within the context of how they apply to research in the social and behavioral sciences.

  • Acculturation -- refers to the process of adapting to another culture, particularly in reference to blending in with the majority population [e.g., an immigrant adopting American customs]. However, acculturation also implies that both cultures add something to one another, but still remain distinct groups unto themselves.
  • Accuracy -- a term used in survey research to refer to the match between the target population and the sample.
  • Affective Measures -- procedures or devices used to obtain quantified descriptions of an individual's feelings, emotional states, or dispositions.
  • Aggregate -- a total created from smaller units. For instance, the population of a county is an aggregate of the populations of the cities, rural areas, etc. that comprise the county. As a verb, it refers to total data from smaller units into a large unit.
  • Anonymity -- a research condition in which no one, including the researcher, knows the identities of research participants.
  • Baseline -- a control measurement carried out before an experimental treatment.
  • Behaviorism -- school of psychological thought concerned with the observable, tangible, objective facts of behavior, rather than with subjective phenomena such as thoughts, emotions, or impulses. Contemporary behaviorism also emphasizes the study of mental states such as feelings and fantasies to the extent that they can be directly observed and measured.
  • Beliefs -- ideas, doctrines, tenets, etc. that are accepted as true on grounds which are not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.
  • Benchmarking -- systematically measuring and comparing the operations and outcomes of organizations, systems, processes, etc., against agreed upon "best-in-class" frames of reference.
  • Bias -- a loss of balance and accuracy in the use of research methods. It can appear in research via the sampling frame, random sampling, or non-response. It can also occur at other stages in research, such as while interviewing, in the design of questions, or in the way data are analyzed and presented. Bias means that the research findings will not be representative of, or generalizable to, a wider population.
  • Case Study -- the collection and presentation of detailed information about a particular participant or small group, frequently including data derived from the subjects themselves.
  • Causal Hypothesis -- a statement hypothesizing that the independent variable affects the dependent variable in some way.
  • Causal Relationship -- the relationship established that shows that an independent variable, and nothing else, causes a change in a dependent variable. It also establishes how much of a change is shown in the dependent variable.
  • Causality -- the relation between cause and effect.
  • Central Tendency -- any way of describing or characterizing typical, average, or common values in some distribution.
  • Chi-square Analysis -- a common non-parametric statistical test which compares an expected proportion or ratio to an actual proportion or ratio.
  • Claim -- a statement, similar to a hypothesis, which is made in response to the research question and that is affirmed with evidence based on research.
  • Classification -- ordering of related phenomena into categories, groups, or systems according to characteristics or attributes.
  • Cluster Analysis -- a method of statistical analysis where data that share a common trait are grouped together. The data is collected in a way that allows the data collector to group data according to certain characteristics.
  • Cohort Analysis -- group by group analytic treatment of individuals having a statistical factor in common to each group. Group members share a particular characteristic [e.g., born in a given year] or a common experience [e.g., entering a college at a given time].
  • Confidentiality -- a research condition in which no one except the researcher(s) knows the identities of the participants in a study. It refers to the treatment of information that a participant has disclosed to the researcher in a relationship of trust and with the expectation that it will not be revealed to others in ways that violate the original consent agreement, unless permission is granted by the participant.
  • Confirmability Objectivity -- the findings of the study could be confirmed by another person conducting the same study.
  • Construct -- refers to any of the following: something that exists theoretically but is not directly observable; a concept developed [constructed] for describing relations among phenomena or for other research purposes; or, a theoretical definition in which concepts are defined in terms of other concepts. For example, intelligence cannot be directly observed or measured; it is a construct.
  • Construct Validity -- seeks an agreement between a theoretical concept and a specific measuring device, such as observation.
  • Constructivism -- the idea that reality is socially constructed. It is the view that reality cannot be understood outside of the way humans interact and that the idea that knowledge is constructed, not discovered. Constructivists believe that learning is more active and self-directed than either behaviorism or cognitive theory would postulate.
  • Content Analysis -- the systematic, objective, and quantitative description of the manifest or latent content of print or nonprint communications.
  • Context Sensitivity -- awareness by a qualitative researcher of factors such as values and beliefs that influence cultural behaviors.
  • Control Group -- the group in an experimental design that receives either no treatment or a different treatment from the experimental group. This group can thus be compared to the experimental group.
  • Controlled Experiment -- an experimental design with two or more randomly selected groups [an experimental group and control group] in which the researcher controls or introduces the independent variable and measures the dependent variable at least two times [pre- and post-test measurements].
  • Correlation -- a common statistical analysis, usually abbreviated as r, that measures the degree of relationship between pairs of interval variables in a sample. The range of correlation is from -1.00 to zero to +1.00. Also, a non-cause and effect relationship between two variables.
  • Covariate -- a product of the correlation of two related variables times their standard deviations. Used in true experiments to measure the difference of treatment between them.
  • Credibility -- a researcher's ability to demonstrate that the object of a study is accurately identified and described based on the way in which the study was conducted.
  • Critical Theory -- an evaluative approach to social science research, associated with Germany's neo-Marxist “Frankfurt School,” that aims to criticize as well as analyze society, opposing the political orthodoxy of modern communism. Its goal is to promote human emancipatory forces and to expose ideas and systems that impede them.
  • Data -- factual information [as measurements or statistics] used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.
  • Data Mining -- the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information, often to discover patterns and/or systematic relationships among variables.
  • Data Quality -- this is the degree to which the collected data [results of measurement or observation] meet the standards of quality to be considered valid [trustworthy] and  reliable [dependable].
  • Deductive -- a form of reasoning in which conclusions are formulated about particulars from general or universal premises.
  • Dependability -- being able to account for changes in the design of the study and the changing conditions surrounding what was studied.
  • Dependent Variable -- a variable that varies due, at least in part, to the impact of the independent variable. In other words, its value “depends” on the value of the independent variable. For example, in the variables “gender” and “academic major,” academic major is the dependent variable, meaning that your major cannot determine whether you are male or female, but your gender might indirectly lead you to favor one major over another.
  • Deviation -- the distance between the mean and a particular data point in a given distribution.
  • Discourse Community -- a community of scholars and researchers in a given field who respond to and communicate to each other through published articles in the community's journals and presentations at conventions. All members of the discourse community adhere to certain conventions for the presentation of their theories and research.
  • Discrete Variable -- a variable that is measured solely in whole units, such as, gender and number of siblings.
  • Distribution -- the range of values of a particular variable.
  • Effect Size -- the amount of change in a dependent variable that can be attributed to manipulations of the independent variable. A large effect size exists when the value of the dependent variable is strongly influenced by the independent variable. It is the mean difference on a variable between experimental and control groups divided by the standard deviation on that variable of the pooled groups or of the control group alone.
  • Emancipatory Research -- research is conducted on and with people from marginalized groups or communities. It is led by a researcher or research team who is either an indigenous or external insider; is interpreted within intellectual frameworks of that group; and, is conducted largely for the purpose of empowering members of that community and improving services for them. It also engages members of the community as co-constructors or validators of knowledge.
  • Empirical Research -- the process of developing systematized knowledge gained from observations that are formulated to support insights and generalizations about the phenomena being researched.
  • Epistemology -- concerns knowledge construction; asks what constitutes knowledge and how knowledge is validated.
  • Ethnography -- method to study groups and/or cultures over a period of time. The goal of this type of research is to comprehend the particular group/culture through immersion into the culture or group. Research is completed through various methods but, since the researcher is immersed within the group for an extended period of time, more detailed information is usually collected during the research.
  • Expectancy Effect -- any unconscious or conscious cues that convey to the participant in a study how the researcher wants them to respond. Expecting someone to behave in a particular way has been shown to promote the expected behavior. Expectancy effects can be minimized by using standardized interactions with subjects, automated data-gathering methods, and double blind protocols.
  • External Validity -- the extent to which the results of a study are generalizable or transferable.
  • Factor Analysis -- a statistical test that explores relationships among data. The test explores which variables in a data set are most related to each other. In a carefully constructed survey, for example, factor analysis can yield information on patterns of responses, not simply data on a single response. Larger tendencies may then be interpreted, indicating behavior trends rather than simply responses to specific questions.
  • Field Studies -- academic or other investigative studies undertaken in a natural setting, rather than in laboratories, classrooms, or other structured environments.
  • Focus Groups -- small, roundtable discussion groups charged with examining specific topics or problems, including possible options or solutions. Focus groups usually consist of 4-12 participants, guided by moderators to keep the discussion flowing and to collect and report the results.
  • Framework -- the structure and support that may be used as both the launching point and the on-going guidelines for investigating a research problem.
  • Generalizability -- the extent to which research findings and conclusions conducted on a specific study to groups or situations can be applied to the population at large.
  • Grey Literature -- research produced by organizations outside of commercial and academic publishing that publish materials, such as, working papers, research reports, and briefing papers.
  • Grounded Theory -- practice of developing other theories that emerge from observing a group. Theories are grounded in the group's observable experiences, but researchers add their own insight into why those experiences exist.
  • Group Behavior -- behaviors of a group as a whole, as well as the behavior of an individual as influenced by his or her membership in a group.
  • Hypothesis -- a tentative explanation based on theory to predict a causal relationship between variables.
  • Independent Variable -- the conditions of an experiment that are systematically manipulated by the researcher. A variable that is not impacted by the dependent variable, and that itself impacts the dependent variable. In the earlier example of "gender" and "academic major," (see Dependent Variable) gender is the independent variable.
  • Individualism -- a theory or policy having primary regard for the liberty, rights, or independent actions of individuals.
  • Inductive -- a form of reasoning in which a generalized conclusion is formulated from particular instances.
  • Inductive Analysis -- a form of analysis based on inductive reasoning; a researcher using inductive analysis starts with answers, but formulates questions throughout the research process.
  • Insiderness -- a concept in qualitative research that refers to the degree to which a researcher has access to and an understanding of persons, places, or things within a group or community based on being a member of that group or community.
  • Internal Consistency -- the extent to which all questions or items assess the same characteristic, skill, or quality.
  • Internal Validity -- the rigor with which the study was conducted [e.g., the study's design, the care taken to conduct measurements, and decisions concerning what was and was not measured]. It is also the extent to which the designers of a study have taken into account alternative explanations for any causal relationships they explore. In studies that do not explore causal relationships, only the first of these definitions should be considered when assessing internal validity.
  • Life History -- a record of an event/events in a respondent's life told [written down, but increasingly audio or video recorded] by the respondent from his/her own perspective in his/her own words. A life history is different from a "research story" in that it covers a longer time span, perhaps a complete life, or a significant period in a life.
  • Margin of Error -- the permittable or acceptable deviation from the target or a specific value. The allowance for slight error or miscalculation or changing circumstances in a study.
  • Measurement -- process of obtaining a numerical description of the extent to which persons, organizations, or things possess specified characteristics.
  • Meta-Analysis -- an analysis combining the results of several studies that address a set of related hypotheses.
  • Methodology -- a theory or analysis of how research does and should proceed.
  • Methods -- systematic approaches to the conduct of an operation or process. It includes steps of procedure, application of techniques, systems of reasoning or analysis, and the modes of inquiry employed by a discipline.
  • Mixed-Methods -- a research approach that uses two or more methods from both the quantitative and qualitative research categories. It is also referred to as blended methods, combined methods, or methodological triangulation.
  • Modeling -- the creation of a physical or computer analogy to understand a particular phenomenon. Modeling helps in estimating the relative magnitude of various factors involved in a phenomenon. A successful model can be shown to account for unexpected behavior that has been observed, to predict certain behaviors, which can then be tested experimentally, and to demonstrate that a given theory cannot account for certain phenomenon.
  • Models -- representations of objects, principles, processes, or ideas often used for imitation or emulation.
  • Naturalistic Observation -- observation of behaviors and events in natural settings without experimental manipulation or other forms of interference.
  • Norm -- the norm in statistics is the average or usual performance. For example, students usually complete their high school graduation requirements when they are 18 years old. Even though some students graduate when they are younger or older, the norm is that any given student will graduate when he or she is 18 years old.
  • Null Hypothesis -- the proposition, to be tested statistically, that the experimental intervention has "no effect," meaning that the treatment and control groups will not differ as a result of the intervention. Investigators usually hope that the data will demonstrate some effect from the intervention, thus allowing the investigator to reject the null hypothesis.
  • Ontology -- a discipline of philosophy that explores the science of what is, the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes, and relations in every area of reality.
  • Panel Study -- a longitudinal study in which a group of individuals is interviewed at intervals over a period of time.
  • Participant -- individuals whose physiological and/or behavioral characteristics and responses are the object of study in a research project.
  • Peer-Review -- the process in which the author of a book, article, or other type of publication submits his or her work to experts in the field for critical evaluation, usually prior to publication. This is standard procedure in publishing scholarly research.
  • Phenomenology -- a qualitative research approach concerned with understanding certain group behaviors from that group's point of view.
  • Philosophy -- critical examination of the grounds for fundamental beliefs and analysis of the basic concepts, doctrines, or practices that express such beliefs.
  • Phonology -- the study of the ways in which speech sounds form systems and patterns in language.
  • Policy -- governing principles that serve as guidelines or rules for decision making and action in a given area.
  • Policy Analysis -- systematic study of the nature, rationale, cost, impact, effectiveness, implications, etc., of existing or alternative policies, using the theories and methodologies of relevant social science disciplines.
  • Population -- the target group under investigation. The population is the entire set under consideration. Samples are drawn from populations.
  • Position Papers -- statements of official or organizational viewpoints, often recommending a particular course of action or response to a situation.
  • Positivism -- a doctrine in the philosophy of science, positivism argues that science can only deal with observable entities known directly to experience. The positivist aims to construct general laws, or theories, which express relationships between phenomena. Observation and experiment is used to show whether the phenomena fit the theory.
  • Predictive Measurement -- use of tests, inventories, or other measures to determine or estimate future events, conditions, outcomes, or trends.
  • Principal Investigator -- the scientist or scholar with primary responsibility for the design and conduct of a research project.
  • Probability -- the chance that a phenomenon will occur randomly. As a statistical measure, it is shown as p [the "p" factor].
  • Questionnaire -- structured sets of questions on specified subjects that are used to gather information, attitudes, or opinions.
  • Random Sampling -- a process used in research to draw a sample of a population strictly by chance, yielding no discernible pattern beyond chance. Random sampling can be accomplished by first numbering the population, then selecting the sample according to a table of random numbers or using a random-number computer generator. The sample is said to be random because there is no regular or discernible pattern or order. Random sample selection is used under the assumption that sufficiently large samples assigned randomly will exhibit a distribution comparable to that of the population from which the sample is drawn. The random assignment of participants increases the probability that differences observed between participant groups are the result of the experimental intervention.
  • Reliability -- the degree to which a measure yields consistent results. If the measuring instrument [e.g., survey] is reliable, then administering it to similar groups would yield similar results. Reliability is a prerequisite for validity. An unreliable indicator cannot produce trustworthy results.
  • Representative Sample -- sample in which the participants closely match the characteristics of the population, and thus, all segments of the population are represented in the sample. A representative sample allows results to be generalized from the sample to the population.
  • Rigor -- degree to which research methods are scrupulously and meticulously carried out in order to recognize important influences occurring in an experimental study.
  • Sample -- the population researched in a particular study. Usually, attempts are made to select a "sample population" that is considered representative of groups of people to whom results will be generalized or transferred. In studies that use inferential statistics to analyze results or which are designed to be generalizable, sample size is critical, generally the larger the number in the sample, the higher the likelihood of a representative distribution of the population.
  • Sampling Error -- the degree to which the results from the sample deviate from those that would be obtained from the entire population, because of random error in the selection of respondent and the corresponding reduction in reliability.
  • Saturation -- a situation in which data analysis begins to reveal repetition and redundancy and when new data tend to confirm existing findings rather than expand upon them.
  • Semantics -- the relationship between symbols and meaning in a linguistic system. Also, the cuing system that connects what is written in the text to what is stored in the reader's prior knowledge.
  • Social Theories -- theories about the structure, organization, and functioning of human societies.
  • Sociolinguistics -- the study of language in society and, more specifically, the study of language varieties, their functions, and their speakers.
  • Standard Deviation -- a measure of variation that indicates the typical distance between the scores of a distribution and the mean; it is determined by taking the square root of the average of the squared deviations in a given distribution. It can be used to indicate the proportion of data within certain ranges of scale values when the distribution conforms closely to the normal curve.
  • Statistical Analysis -- application of statistical processes and theory to the compilation, presentation, discussion, and interpretation of numerical data.
  • Statistical Bias -- characteristics of an experimental or sampling design, or the mathematical treatment of data, that systematically affects the results of a study so as to produce incorrect, unjustified, or inappropriate inferences or conclusions.
  • Statistical Significance -- the probability that the difference between the outcomes of the control and experimental group are great enough that it is unlikely due solely to chance. The probability that the null hypothesis can be rejected at a predetermined significance level [0.05 or 0.01].
  • Statistical Tests -- researchers use statistical tests to make quantitative decisions about whether a study's data indicate a significant effect from the intervention and allow the researcher to reject the null hypothesis. That is, statistical tests show whether the differences between the outcomes of the control and experimental groups are great enough to be statistically significant. If differences are found to be statistically significant, it means that the probability [likelihood] that these differences occurred solely due to chance is relatively low. Most researchers agree that a significance value of .05 or less [i.e., there is a 95% probability that the differences are real] sufficiently determines significance.
  • Subcultures -- ethnic, regional, economic, or social groups exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish them from the larger society to which they belong.
  • Testing -- the act of gathering and processing information about individuals' ability, skill, understanding, or knowledge under controlled conditions.
  • Theory -- a general explanation about a specific behavior or set of events that is based on known principles and serves to organize related events in a meaningful way. A theory is not as specific as a hypothesis.
  • Treatment -- the stimulus given to a dependent variable.
  • Trend Samples -- method of sampling different groups of people at different points in time from the same population.
  • Triangulation -- a multi-method or pluralistic approach, using different methods in order to focus on the research topic from different viewpoints and to produce a multi-faceted set of data. Also used to check the validity of findings from any one method.
  • Unit of Analysis -- the basic observable entity or phenomenon being analyzed by a study and for which data are collected in the form of variables.
  • Validity -- the degree to which a study accurately reflects or assesses the specific concept that the researcher is attempting to measure. A method can be reliable, consistently measuring the same thing, but not valid.
  • Variable -- any characteristic or trait that can vary from one person to another [race, gender, academic major] or for one person over time [age, political beliefs].
  • Weighted Scores -- scores in which the components are modified by different multipliers to reflect their relative importance.
  • White Paper -- an authoritative report that often states the position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a general explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology written by a group of researchers. A white paper seeks to contain unbiased information and analysis regarding a business or policy problem that the researchers may be facing.

Elliot, Mark, Fairweather, Ian, Olsen, Wendy Kay, and Pampaka, Maria. A Dictionary of Social Research Methods. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016; Free Social Science Dictionary. Socialsciencedictionary.com [2008]. Glossary. Institutional Review Board. Colorado College; Glossary of Key Terms. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Glossary A-Z. Education.com; Glossary of Research Terms. Research Mindedness Virtual Learning Resource. Centre for Human Servive Technology. University of Southampton; Miller, Robert L. and Brewer, John D. The A-Z of Social Research: A Dictionary of Key Social Science Research Concepts London: SAGE, 2003; Jupp, Victor. The SAGE Dictionary of Social and Cultural Research Methods . London: Sage, 2006.

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Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, sustaining sme growth: the long-term success of korean smes in a dynamic market.

Strategic Direction

ISSN : 0258-0543

Article publication date: 1 April 2024

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

SMEs, particularly those in the high-tech sectors, can face significant challenges to sustained growth. There are some key elements to focus on for owner-managers in order to help improve the odds of survival.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives, strategists and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

  • Collaboration
  • High-tech SMEs
  • Founder owner-manager
  • High-growth
  • Sustained growth

(2024), "Sustaining SME growth: The long-term success of Korean SMEs in a dynamic market", Strategic Direction , Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SD-02-2024-0022

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