CTAR 601

Vocabulary is the Key to Information Search

  • Databases contain what are called 'records', which are simply text descriptions of each item in the database. The text descriptions include, among other elements, the title, the author(s), and the publisher of the items. Some databases include non-evaluative summaries, called 'abstracts', of each item as well. A few databases are comprised of the full text of each item and not just descriptions of each item, e.g., Google, Google Scholar, JSTOR.


  • Whether a database contains the full-texts of items or just descriptions of those items, the bottom line is that database information search involves querying written, text records documenting the communications of others
  • The key to discovering material relevant to your topic is your ability to use appropriate VOCABULARY – words and phrases – to search the communication streams
  • Another way to frame this is that when you are doing RESEARCH you are joining a CONVERSATION among other researchers who share your concerns about the issues and problems that engage you
  • To participate in any ongoing conversation you will need to understand the LANGUAGE – words and concepts – being used by the discussants