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Definition of science
An area of study that objectively, systematically and impartially weighs empirical evidence for the purpose of discovering and verifying order within and between phenomena
Definition of research
Scientific structured problem solving
Definition of qualitative research
An approach to research involving in-depth description of a topic with the goal of obtaining a rich understanding of some phenomenon
Definition of quantitative research
An approach to research that relies on prior research to generate research questions and often to make predictions, with the results being analyzed mathematically
Definition of data
Information collected by researchers for later analysis to answer research questions
Does having non-numeric data mean the research is qualitative?
No, quantitative researchers may collect non-numeric data, such as gender, diagnosis, medications being prescribed, etc. Qualitative research is an entirely different approach to studying phenomena, with the goal of obtaining nuanced understanding of the topic
Definition of mixed-methods research
Research that involves two parts: a qualitative study and a quantitative study
Definition of statistics
Numerical summary measures computed on data
Definition of a mean
An arithmetic average
Definition of literature review
Process of identifying and reading articles and books about a topic on which subsequent research may be conducted
Definition of theory
An organized, research-supported explanation and prediction of phenomena
Meaning of "designing a study"
Process of making decisions about the plans for a study, such as whether repeated measures or different groups of participants are needed
Definition of population
Larger group of people to whom we would like to generalize our results, or the larger group of entities that share a characteristic of interest to researchers
Definition of unit of analysis
The entity that is measured in a study. The unit of analysis often is the participant
Definition of sample
Subgroup of a population
Characteristics of a population
Large, usually unobtainable, sometimes hypothetical
Why do we need samples?
Because we can't get populations
Definition of epidemiology
The study of the distribution and spread of health conditions and diseases in human populations
Definition of a variable
A quantity or property that is free to vary or take on different values
Definition of discrete variable
A variable with discrete categories or values (example: gender)
Definition of continuous variable
A variable that theoretically could take on an infinite number of values between any two points (example: weight)
Definition of bias
A systematic influence on a study that makes the results inaccurate
Definition of simple random sampling
Process of obtaining a sample such that each participant is independently selected from the population
Definition of sample size
The number of people in a study (symbol is N)
Definition of external validity
Quality of our generalization from the sample back to the population
Does simple random sampling require equal probability of selection?
No. A random process involving independent selection of participants is required.
Definition of convenience sample
Groups of participants conveniently available to researchers
Definition of judgment sample
Same thing as a convenience sample
Are magazine articles the same thing as journal articles?
No, journal articles are published in scientific journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine
Definition of random assignment
Process of placing participants into groups such that the placement of each participant is independent of the placement of any other participant
Another term for random assignment
Definition of manipulation or intervention
The researchers' act of changing the experience of different groups of participants
Definition of control
Researchers' efforts to limit the effect of variables that may interfere with the ability to detect a relationship between other variables
Definition of statistical replication
Having a sample size greater than 1, or observing a phenomenon across multiple people or units of analysis
Definition of experimental research
Research which is characterized by random assignment of participants to groups, the researchers' manipulation of the participants' experiences, and statistical replication
Definition of experiment
Same as experimental research
Definition of an independent variable
A variable that is manipulated by the researcher. It comes first in time and is independent of the results
Definition of levels
The possible conditions or categories within an independent variable
Definition of a dependent variable
A variable that is measured as an outcome in experimental studies. It comes second in time
Definition of an extraneous variable
A variable that potentially interferes with the researchers' ability to detect the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable
Other terms for extraneous variable
Confounding variable or lurking variable
Definition of randomized controlled trials
Studies in health sciences in which participants are randomized to groups and typically observed across time, with one group receiving a sham condition that mimics a real treatment but has no effect
Definition of placebo
A sham condition that is identical to the treatment condition except having no effect
Definition of control group
The group that receives a placebo or no intervention
Definition of experimental group
The group that receives an intervention
Definition of treatment arm
A term sometimes used to refer to an experimental condition in a study
Definition of attention-control group
A control group that receives some attention from the researcher but no intervention
Definition of double-blinding
A research method that keeps participants and the researchers who directly deal with them from knowing who is in which experimental condition
Definition of randomized block design
A study that contains at least one variable to which the participants cannot be randomly assigned, such as gender
Definition of blocking variable
A categorical variable with participants in naturally occurring or predefined groups. The variable is taken into account in the statistical analysis of the results
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