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Dictionaries and Introductions to Terms of Art in Your Field

If your professors or peers are using terms about which you do not have a precise understanding, know that you do not have to remain in the dark.  There are helpful resources that explain key terms in every field.  Often these resources will point you to the foundational texts from which, and theorists from whom, these concepts or terms emerged and developed.  Consult your faculty, a librarian in your field, or a local bookseller, for recommendations.
The following are some examples of the kinds of resources that help students and scholars better understand key concepts in their fields.  Similar texts are published in virtually every discipline.  Note the difference between dictionaries, which provide definitions, and brief overviews of a field (sometimes referred to as ‘handbooks,’ ‘primers,’ or ‘introductions’), which will likely identify key theorists who have developed disciplinary concepts, as well as foundational texts, and current debates. 
In all, your goal should be to gain, over time, a multifaceted understanding of vocabulary in your discipline—particularly the key words that surround your research questions and methodology.

Cultural Studies, Critical Theory, Literary Theory


International Relations and Global Studies


Political Science










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