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How do I find definitions of terms related to my research topic?
Enter your term into the basic search box. Results will include entries from full-text encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, etc., as shown below.
You may also search for definitions in Ebook Central, also accessible on the Find an E-Book page. Ebook Central is the Library’s largest e-book database and includes a number of full text reference books and non-reference books in all academic subject areas. The example below shows a resulting book for a search for “definition of motivation.”
SAGE Research Methods
Additionally, you may use SAGE Research Methods to find definitions of terms related to research methodology (e.g. validity, multivariate analysis, causality, Delphi method, etc.). To access SAGE Research Methods, select Find an E-Book under Research Resources on the Library's home page.
Enter your term into the basic search box. Use quotation marks to find exact phrases. Results will include entries from full-text encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, etc., as shown below.
While Credo Reference, Ebook Central, and SAGE Reference are recommended resources for finding key terms, there are additional dictionaries available. Click here for a complete list of dictionaries available from the Library.
Finally, it may be possible to look at how other scholars have defined terms within published journal articles. However, retrieving definitions from scholarly journal articles may prove difficult as this information may or may not be included as background information, or within a literature review. Therefore, searching for definitions in journal articles may not always yield the desired result.
You may do an Advanced Search within NavigatorSearch (formerly Roadrunner) using defin* as one of your search terms. This will bring up results for define, defines, defined, definition, and definitions. We recommend using a proximity search in order to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases. In the example below, we are looking for defin* within five words of the phrase “teacher attrition,” regardless of the order in which they appear.
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