I have 7 different point shapefiles, and want to join them into one geodatabase. What would be the best method to do this in ArcGIS10?
The linked thread explains pretty well the difference between merge and append. In your case, I think, if you don't have a feature class to put the 7 shapefile into, use the Merge tool.
If you want to add them all in separately, right click the geodatabase, and import feature class (multiple)
You can also merge them all together, and do the same to have one shapefile containing the 7 shapefile's attributes' in the geodatabase.