Another term to refer to college, specifically in the sense of a space for serious scholarship, study and knowledge production.

academic discipline

A field of study (we often call them "majors" or "minors"). Academic study, academic journals, and college departments are often organized around a single discipline, such as neuroscience, political science, biology, mechanical engineering, nursing, or English literature. There are often sub-specialties within these disciplines.

academic discourse

Discourse (noun) : spoken or written communication, conversation, debate. Academic discourse is the exchange of ideas and debates among professors in a specific field, or among students in a classroom. The goal is always to think deeply, critically, and with the aim of pushing knowledge forward.


An annotation is a special kind of note-taking directly on a piece of writing or text, usually in the margins of the page. The purpose of annotating is to aid your understanding of the text, engage in a conversation with the author of the text, and provide you with a reminder of your reading experience when you return to the text. When you annotate, you jot down quick summaries, questions, or observations in the margins, and underline, highlight, or comment on the text itself. Annotations can also be made using sticky notes (paper or digital) and the insert-comment feature of word-processing software.

The annotations in an annotated bibliography are somewhat different from annotations as defined above. An annotated bibliography is a list of your research sources (called a Works Cited in MLA format) with a paragraph or more of annotation—usually a paragraph-length summary and explanation—beneath each source.


Bias is the inclination toward or against something. Bias can be explicit, meaning it is overt and obvious, or implicit, meaning it may not be obvious at first. 


A claim is a type of argumentative thesis - we usually call it a claim when it is being used in a persuasive essay. Claims need to be defended by you with logical, persuasive reasoning. Claims can also be challenged.

The most common types of claims are

claims of policy (we must do something!),
claims of value (this is good! or this is bad!),
claims of definition (this is what it is)
claims of cause/effect (X has caused Y or X will cause Y)


The groupings of words that make up sentences


To concede is to accept or to admit that something is true or valid (rather than opposing it or fighting it). In an argument, we sometimes concede points to the counterargument, which indicates that we do accept some of what they have presented in an argument. To concede, or to make a concession, does not mean that you have "lost" an argument. After a concession, you can move on to disagreement with a counterarguer or counterargument perspective. You can also concede certain points but not others.


Context refers to background information that is necessary to understand historical and/or situational circumstances of the person, event, and/or idea.  Context is imperative when researching a topic; one must understand the situation, history, and setting surrounding the topic for basic understanding.


A database is a searchable collection of online materials or articles.

In college, academic research databases are collections of sources that tend to be more credible and therefore useful for academic research. In an academic research database, you may find articles from newspapers, magazines, or websites, but many academic databases contain just scholarly research journal articles. Some research databases focus on only one academic discipline. Others are multidisciplinary. Chapter 8.4 offers more information on research databases.


The choice of words in writing and/or speaking


Expository texts are often non-fiction works meant to explain, inform, analyze, and/or give details about a topic

Expository Writing

Also called explanatory writing. Expository writing is one of the most common types of writing, and you will be asked to create expository pieces of writing during your college career. When an author writes in an expository style, he or she is trying to explain a concept to an audience. Expository writing does not include the author’s opinions, but focuses on reporting, explaining, summarizing or otherwise objectively rendering a topic for a reader.


FYW is an acronym for "First-Year Writing." It is also synonymous with the terms "college writing" and "introductory composition courses."


A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. For example: conservatism, capitalism, are ideologies. Socialism, fascism, and liberalism are all considered ideologies. Do not confuse ideology with truth, it is a theory or policy ("“Ideology | Definition of Ideology In English By Oxford Dictionaries").


A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. For example: conservatism, capitalism, are ideologies. Socialism, fascism, and liberalism are all considered ideologies. Do not confuse ideology with truth, it is a theory or policy ("“Ideology | Definition of Ideology In English By Oxford Dictionaries").


Greek for the “right time,” or “opportunity,” refers to the timeliness of an argument. In modern rhetoric, it refers to making the right statement or argument at exactly the right time.


the thinking that you do about how you think or how you learn. For our purposes here (when thinking about metacognitive writing strategies), we could break this word down as follows:
"meta" = awareness of oneself
"cognition" = learning

new media

A text created for and distributed on the internet.


Without opinion or bias; neutral or explanatory.


The quality of being neutral, impartial or without bias. To be objective is to try to avoid being opinionated.

parenthetical citation

Parenthetical = in parentheses; Citation = a reference to the original source material

A parenthetical citation is the information that comes after a quote or paraphrase that connects to your Works Cited page. Parenthetical citations are also called in-text citations.

For information on parenthetical or in-text citations, see Chapter 9.5

Peer Review

In class peer review means you, and other students in your class, providing feedback to your fellow students on their drafts of various papers.

Peer review as it relates to scholarly sources is something different. Scholarly peer review is part of the process of scholarly publication. When a scholar who has conducted his or her own research wants to convey that research in a published paper, he or she must first submit a draft of the paper to several other experts (people with PhDs) in that same field. Those peer reviewers are looking to see that the research question, the literature review, the study's methodology and the author's conclusions are sound and reasonable. If so, the peer reviewers will approve the paper for publication.


Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing is the main style of writing you will use in academic papers. When an author writes in a persuasive style, he or she is trying to convince the audience of a position or belief. Persuasive writing contains the author’s opinions and biases, as well as justifications and reasons given by the author as evidence of the correctness of their position. Any “argumentative” essay you write in school will be in the persuasive style of writing.

Examples of expository writing include:

Critiques or Reviews of articles/events


Letters to the editor

Cover letters

Argument essays

Position papers

Popular Source

Popular in this sense does not mean likable. Instead, when we say "popular source" the popular means "for the people". Popular sources are magazine, newspaper or website articles that are written for an audience of every day people. Sources that are scholarly are written for highly educated experts who are specialists within their field.

print source*

A "print source" means a source that originally or still exists as a printed document. Sometimes articles, especially scholarly journal articles, are originally published as print sources. When these articles become digitized (meaning that a digital copy of the article is created), we are looking at a scanned image of the original print copy. Print sources generally have page numbers that you need to use when citing.

research gap

When we discuss a "research gap," we are building off of ideas expressed by John Swales and his study of the rhetorical moves that are common in the introductory section of academic articles. Swales found that writers often attempt to "create a research space" (CARS) at the beginning of their papers, meaning that they identify needs for further research, or different research, or different analyses for a particular topic. In other words, they identify some sort of gap in the scholarship on a given topic. Identifying that gap justifies the need for the new research or analysis that the author wants to fill with his or her own work.


Revision is the process whereby on-going adjustments and changes are made to create a well balanced and well structured final product of the essay. During the revision stages of an essay, one is expected to take heed of suggestions that the instructor, peer, and writing tutors have made to help develop and solidify ideas while also paying attention to writing style and structure. 

Scholarly Sources

Scholarly is often used to signify academic, serious work. So a "Scholarly" source is an article, book or journal that is written by someone with a PhD or other terminal degree to other experts in that field. These scholarly sources are not written to make money or to entertain, as popular sources often are. Scholarly sources are meant to convey research findings and knowledge that the author has come to through his or her studies.

Signal phrase

A signal phrase signals to the reader of your paper that you will be including ideas from another person. Signal phrases are used to clearly differentiate between your thoughts and those of the authors who you quote, paraphrase or summarize.

Example signal phrases:

Jones states that...

Miller argues that...

According to the Pew Research Center, ...


Sources are texts that may express the ideas, views, arguments, research, etc. of others. While sources can be utilized in a variety of ways, they should be carefully selected and integrated into a text using the appropriate documentation style guidelines. A source should always be cited. 


The act of taking pieces or parts of several original sources and using them to form a new whole. In writing, this means drawing from several sources to create your own essay, one that either explains a concept (using perspectives and information from several different sources) or defends your own argument (using perspectives and information from several different sources).


Text can refer to the written word: “Proofread your text before submitting the paper.” 

A text refers to any form of communication, primarily written or oral, that forms a coherent unit, often as an object of study. A book can be a text, and a speech can be a text, but television commercials, magazine ads, website, and emails can also be texts: “Dieting advertisements formed one of the textswe studied in my Sociology class.”


A thesis is the writer’s central point (clear, concise, and limited) that provides the foundation for the rest of the essay. Most often located at the end of the introduction, the thesis establishes the core idea that the rest of the essay will develop. It should never be expressed as a question. A thesis can be explanatory or argumentative; if a thesis is argument-based, it is sometimes referred to as a claim. 


A quality in writing that communicates or hints at a particular voice, inflection, character, or mood. Academic writing uses to tone shifts to indicate pathos or audience.


Topics are sometimes referred to as "subject" or "main idea" or "claim" or "support."

Often paragraphs focus on sub-topics, or more specific examples of the topic. For instance, the focus of an essay might be higher education, one topic discussed within it is marketing higher education, and a supportive sub-topic might be the use of social media to attract students.

Topic Sentence

The topic sentence is often the first sentence in a body paragraph. It introduces the topic of the paragraph, naming the key idea or concept that you will develop in that paragraph. Topic sentences often also contain a transitional phrase to let the reader know if in that paragraph you will be discussing an idea that builds off of the previous paragraph or diverges from it.


URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is more commonly known as a web address, although, as Wikipedia explains, the URL is only one part of the web address: “most web browsers display the URL of a web page above the page in an address bar. A typical URL could have the form, which indicates a protocol (http), a hostname(, and a file name (index.html)" ("URL").


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ENG 100/101/102 at Cleveland State University by Melanie Gagich & Emilie Zickel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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