Word of the Day: contextomy

Are you writing a research paper? Please avoid contextomy, which is distorting meaning by quoting of context. You can read more about it in the 2005 article “Contextomy: the art of quoting out of context” (Media, Culture & Society, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 511-522).

Avoiding unintended contextomy may be as simple as making sure you understand the original text of the sources you’re using for your paper. When you encounter words you don’t understand, look them up using:

  • your favorite print dictionary (We have several in the Library!),
  • Google (search for define:<your word here>, e.g., define:contextomy), or
  • your favorite online dictionary (We link to several at http://libguides.uww.edu/dictionaries).

And if you are interested in growing your vocabulary one word a day, the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) online has a Word of the Day RSS feed for you, or you can click to get a random word every time you visit the site!

About Barbara

I am a Reference & Instruction librarian, head of that department in Andersen Library, an associate professor, and a member of the General Education Review Committee and Faculty Senate. I've been working at UW-W since July 1, 1990.
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