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RMOT 191 & 192: An Introduction: Terminology

fish, fisheries, wildlife, wildlife management, technical reports

Getting Started with Terminology

Becoming Familiar with Your Topic’s Terminology

Start your research by getting an overview of your topic and making a list of terms (keywords) associated with it.  You’ll use these terms to search our library resources for information in databases (e.g.  journal articles), books, videos, and technical reports.

Reference sources such as encyclopedias (e.g. Wikipedia and Oxford Reference Online) are good for doing an introductory exploration of your topic. However, these sources are intended to provide a general understanding of your topic, and are not usually accepted as academic resources which can be listed in the Reference List (Bibliography) at the end of your research paper.

The VIU Library has many life science encyclopedias that may be helpful in getting an overview of your topic and ideas for narrowing your focus. You can complete a search in LibrarySearch for these encyclopedias (See the next page: Searching the VIU Library Collection)

For example, after reading about Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning in the sources mentioned above, we can identify the following terms as relevant to the topic:

  • red tide - the popular name for an algal bloom causing a body of water to appear discoloured
  • paralytic shellfish poisoning - the food poisoning that results from consuming shellfish that have fed on red tide plankton.
  • PSP - a popular acronym for paralytic shellfish poisoning. It's important to search for abbreviated versions of important terms as well as the full versions, especially if the abbreviations are commonly used!
  • Alexandrium - the genus name for the dinoflagellate species that cause PSP.
  • Saxitoxin and Gonyautoxin - the toxins that cause PSP.