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ASC Success Strategies: Developing Your Vocabulary

Developing Your Vocabulary Overview

Academic disciplines have their own vocabularies. It is important to develop your college vocabulary so you can get the most out of your courses and course readings.

The most popular vocabulary development strategy is the Frayer model, a simple, visual organization device. Using the Frayer model is pretty self-explanatory—one need only look at a few templates to understand that the four quadrants (definitions, characteristics, examples, and nonexamples) essentially contribute to your meaning of the central term—but the employment of the strategy can be immensely helpful, from  understanding new terms—perhaps specific to your area of study—to composing your “Definition of Terms” subsection in your dissertation.

Another though arguably less scholarly approach to developing one’s academic vocabulary is using a site like OneLook Reverse Dictionary. OneLook provides its users with the opportunity to describe a concept in a search field and retrieve a set of words or phrases associated with that concept. Again, this might be especially useful when trying to find the precise word to articulate your subject matter. 

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