Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services

By Ann Bowling | Go to book overview


Glossary

acquiescence response set ('yes-saying'): respondents will more frequently endorse a statement than disagree with its opposite.

actuarial records: public records about the demographic characteristics of the population served.

archives: ongoing records maintained by institutions within society.

attrition: loss of sample members over time in longitudinal and experimental research with post-tests.

average costs: the total costs divided by the total number of units of output.

bias: deviation in one direction of the observed value from the true value of the construct being measured (as opposed to random error).

bivariate statistics: descriptive statistics for the analysis of the association between two variables (e.g. contingency tables, correlations).

blind: concealing the assignment of people to experimental or control group in experiments. Concealment can be from the people or from both the people and the person carrying out the intervention, e.g. treating doctor ('double blind').

capital costs: the costs of land, buildings and equipment.

case: a single unit in a study (e.g. a person or setting, such as a clinic, hospital).

case study: a research method which focuses on the circumstances, dynamics and complexity of a single case, or a small number of cases.

causal hypothesis: a statement that it is predicted that one phenomenon will be the result of one or more other phenomena that precede it in time.

causal relationships: observed changes (the 'effect') in one variable are owing to earlier changes in another.

central limit theorem: the sampling distribution approaches normality as the number of samples taken increases.

central tendency: (a) Mean: the arithmetic mean, or average, is a measure of central tendency in a population or sample. The mean is defined as the sum of the scores divided by the total number of cases involved, (b) Median: this is the middle value of the observations when listed in ascending order; it bisects the observations (i.e. the point below which 50 per cent of the observations fall), (c) Mode: a measure of central tendency based on the most common value in the distribution (i.e. the value of X with the highest frequency).

clinical trial: an experiment where the participants are patients.

closed question: the question is followed by predetermined response choices into which the respondent's reply is placed.

cluster: a sample unit which consists of a group of elements.

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