9 Glossary

Term Definition
applied research research focused on specific problems or applications
basic research pursuit of fundamental knowledge of phenomena; forms the basis of clinical research
behavioral research Research that focuses on the most effective ways to change people’s behaviors in their daily life
causal inference determining whether or not there is a relationship where one variable causes another; seeks to establish that X causes Y
clinical research a broad field that encompasses patient-oriented research, epidemiological and behavioral studies, and outcomes research and health services research
correlational research A type of descriptive research that asks questions about the relationship (a.k.a association) between two or more variables; builds upon descriptive insights by attempting to predict or explain the behavior or phenomenon
correlational research
deductive reasoning reasoning that makes conclusions about some unobserved or unmeasured phenomenon based on direct observations of the world
demographic research Research that seeks to understand more about population size, structure and change (e.g., birth, death migration, marriage, employment, education)
dependent variable Also called the response variable or
descriptive inference goes beyond basic description (or collection of facts) to say something about how indiviudal experiences and opinions illuminate something more universal about the research problem at hand
descriptive research Research that seeks to answer the question “What is going on?”
empirical evidence the systematic observations that are used in the process of empiricism
empiricism to use what observations to make conclusions about what cannot or will not be observed directly; at the heart of scientific research
experimental design a design where researchers manipulate some independent variable and examine changes to some dependent variable that result (considered the “gold standard” of designs)
explanatory research Research that seeks to answer the question “Why is it going on?”
implementation failure The failure of a program to be effective because the program was not executed properly
implementation science Studies that assess to how to best get efficacious treatments to the people who need it most
inductive reasoning reasoning from specific observations to the generation of hypotheses and theories
inference the process of making conclusions about some unobserved or unmeasured phenomenon based on our direct observations of the world
mixed methods designs that utilize both inductive and deductive reasoning
needs assessments
peer review an important compnent of the scientific process where a scientist’s peers evaluate a work before it is published in a journal
Phase I In clinical research, a trial that utilizes a small sample size in order to find a safe dosing range and look for side effects.
Phase II In clinical research, studies that demonstrate the efficacy of the medication against several endpoints (a.k.a. outcomes). Includes Phase IIa and Phase IIb.
Phase III In clinical research, typically a large trial to show that a treatment is efficacious.
Phase IV In clinical research, trials that evaluate a medication’s long-term effects.
preclinical research The clinical research phase in which testing is performed in non-human subjects with the goal of collecting data on how well the medication works (efficacy), how much damage it can do to an organism (toxicity), and how it is affected by the body (pharmacokinetics).
prevalence Prevalence is the number of existing cases out of the total population at a point in time. In contrast to incidence, which is a measure of disease occurrence, prevalence is a measure of existing disease. Prevalence is unit-less.
program evaluation
program monitoring Concerned with the implementation of programs, policies or interventions. Necessary for good evaluations.
quasi-experimental design
replication refers to the ability of another research group to be able to follow the methods of a research study and replicate the results; relatively rare
reproducibility the ability to generate a study’s findings given the orginal dataset and sometimes the original analysis code
research problem A gap in the academic world’s knowledge
research question
sample In statistics, a sample refers to a set of observations drawn from a population.
scientific research Resarch where 1) the goal is inference, 2) the procedures are public, and 3) the conclusions are uncertain
stakeholders Refers to a wide range of people and organizations that have some sort of vested interest in the outcome of a program’s implementation
theory failure The failure of a program to be effective because the idea or theory behind the program was incorrect
translational research Studies that focus on getting interventions from “bench to bedside”