Glossary of Research Terms PDF


Aggregate Data is data not limited to one participant, which is tracked across time, organizations, populations, or other variables. (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Asset Mapping is a visual representation of a location's resourceful sites and services to its community. Asset mapping allows one to identify a community's unmet needs for a certain resource, which is useful in determining how to build upon already existing assets or creation of new ones. Asset mapping promotes community empowerment, partnership, and involvement. (Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research)

Cohort is a set of people studied over a period of time. People within a cohort embody certain shared characteristics and are examined for investigation on a certain outcome like disease, death, etc. (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Cohort Study/ Panel Study is a type of epidemiological study in which sets of a certain population are identified to have, at one point, been exposed or unexposed to a certain factor that is hypothesized to influence the occurrence of a certain outcome. (Source: CDC)


Datasets are a collection of data that is organized for studying. Most commonly, a single database table with a single statistical data matrix is used. (Source: Wikipedia)

Demographics are the statistical characteristics or qualities (such as age, sex, income, etc.) of populations used as identifiers. (Source: Wikipedia)


Environmental Scanning is a tool for obtaining and organizing data of an organization that allows the study for certain events and trends; environmental scanning helps plan the initiation and future of a project, provide evidence of the directionality of an organization, or raise awareness of issues. (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information)


Federal Poverty is a certain income level measured annually by the Department of Health and Human Services that is used to determine one's eligibility for certain programs and benefits; a reference to the Census Bureau poverty thresholds that are characterized by family size, number of children, or whether or not elderly. Such thresholds are used for calculating the number of people in poverty. (Sources: U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesU.S. Department of Health & Human Services)


Geocoding is an assigned code that associates an individual to a geographic location. (Source: UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute)


Informed Consent is a process in which an individual gives consent to a treatment or procedure after being informed of the risk and benefits of a procedure or treatment, and its alternatives. Informed consent could also involve the participant's voluntary release of confidential information after being informed of the purpose of the information's disclosure. (Source: UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools)

Institutional review board (IRB) is a group that reviews and monitors biomedical research involving human subjects. IRB has the authority to approve or disapprove research. IRB ensures that the appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of the research subjects. IRBs use a group process in its review of research protocols or related materials. (Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration)


Longitudinal Study is a study of a certain outcome that is measured on a cohort repeatedly across a set time period. Time may be measured in minutes, days, or years. (Source: Journal of Thoracic Disease)


Meta-analysis is a process in which research across individual studies is synthesized using a formal scientific process; a combination of evidence across various studies done using an organized, formal method. (Source: SAS)


Needs Assessment is a systematic set of procedures that determine an entity's needs, examine its nature and causes of need, and set priorities for future action to appease such needs.(Source: U.S. Department of Education


Poor birth outcome is the risk of mortality and a variety of health and developmental problems for an infant. A birth outcome is considered poor if the infant's health risk is at a higher percentage than expected or normal. Length of gestation and birth weight and are two common factors in considering whether an infant's birth outcome is poor. An infant is considered preterm if born before 37 completed gestation weeks. Birth weight is determined by length of gestation as well as fetal growth. Infants may be born with low birth weight if born prematurely.


Qualitative Study is the method of research expressed using words and concepts rather than numerical expression. Qualitative data is often used to acquire an understanding of a particular event, and answer the "how" or "why" of this event. (Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research)

Quantitative Study is the method of research expressed using numbers and percentages rather than words. Quantitative data is often used to answer the "who, what, when, and where" questions of an assessment. (Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research)

Query is request or question for information concerning a set of data. (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)


Repository or an Institutional Repository (IR) is an organizational service in which digital materials created by members of an institution are preserved for members of the organization to access or distribute. Risk-assessment is a process to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs. (Source: Association of Research Libraries)

Risk-assessment is the assessment of the probability of harm in a physical, psychological, social, or economic sense that occurs as a result of participating in a research study. Assessment involves determining the magnitude and significance of such harm.  (Source: UCLA Office of Human Research Protection Program)


Statistical significance is a mathematical technique used in the field of statistics that measures whether certain results are likely to be true. Statistical significance is calculated as the probability that something is occurring due to chance, which is expressed as a P-value. A P-value less than 0.05 (p<0.05) means that a result is unlikely to be due to chance, and is thus likely to be true. (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Surveillance is the collection of data that is used for health planning and promotion, and disease control and prevention. Surveillance is used to monitor changes for health factors and detect the onset of outbreaks. (Source: UCLA School of Public Health)

Survey Instrument is a tool for implementing scientific methods and protocol consistently for obtaining data from respondents.  (Source: Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research)