# Glossary

**Applied research**

answers specific questions about specific problems or makes decisions about particular courses of action

**Basic or pure research**

advances the knowledge about a given concept or tests the acceptability of a given theory

**Basic research**

(also called pure research) advances the knowledge about a given concept or tests the acceptability of a given theory

**Bell curve**

(also called normal curve) a symmetrical distribution that describes the expected probability distribution of many samples or chance occurrences

**Bias**

anything that influences unduly the outcome of research results

**Case study**

an intensive investigation of specific situation that can provide insight to the problem at hand

**Causal research**

research that attempts to show that there is a cause and effect relationship between certain variables

**Central tendency**

or "average"; there are three types: mode, median and mean

**Chi-square**

determines whether differences between groups are statistically significant

**Close-ended question**

respondents is limited to a number of given alternatives in his/her response

**Cluster sampling**

the random selection of groups of units rather than individual units from the population

**Conclusive research**

research that has followed a formal research design process and provides reliable information on which to base decisions

**Content validity**

(also called face validity) determines whether the research instrument measures what it is supposed to measure

**Convenience sampling**

the selection of units from the population based on easy availability and/or accessibility

**Correlation**

determines the relationship between two variables, and to what degree one variable will vary as a result of the other

**Criterion validity**

said of a research instrument that tests whether there is consistency in the way a respondent answered

**Criterion variable**

(also called dependent variable) a variable that can be explained or predicted since they are the effect of the independent variable; the variable that is expected to change because of the manipulation of another (independent) variable

**Delimitations**

restrictions that have been placed on the study in order to make it more doable, e.g. surveying adults aged 18 and over only

**Dependent or criterion variable**

a variable that can be explained or predicted since they are the effect of the independent variable; the variable that is expected to change because of the manipulation of another (independent) variable

**Dependent variable**

(also called criterion variable) a variable that can be explained or predicted since they are the effect of the independent variable; the variable that is expected to change because of the manipulation of another (independent) variable

**Descriptive research**

(also called statistical ) research designed to describe the characteristics of the population or universe under study

**Experimentation**

research that allows for the isolation of one variable at a time while the others are being kept constant to test a hypothesis about cause and effect

**Exploratory research**

initial research conducted to determine the real scope of the problem and the course of action to be taken, including whether further research is required

**External validity**

said of research where the results apply to other similar approaches in the "real" world

**Face or content validity**

determines whether the research instrument measures what it is supposed to measure

**Face validity**

(also called content validity) determines whether the research instrument measures what it is supposed to measure

**Focus group**

an unstructured, free-flowing but moderated interview with a small number of selected individuals on a specific topic

**Frequency**

the number of times a given response occurs, expressed in absolute numbers or in percentage

**Heterogeneity, heterogeneous**

dissimilarity, made up of unlike elements or parts

**Homogeneity, homogeneous**

similarity, made up of like elements or parts

**Hypothesis**

(pl. hypotheses) educated guess as to the outcome of the research

**Independent variable**

(also called predictor variable) a variable that is thought to be independent of the outcome itself but instead influence other variables; the variable that is manipulated in experimental research

**Intercept survey**

respondents are approached in a high traffic area (e.g. a mall) and asked to complete a questionnaire either as part of an interview or self-administered

**Internal validity**

said of research where it can be shown that the observed changes in the data were the exclusive result of the experiment

**Interval scale**

not only orders items but also measures the exact difference between points

**Interviewer error**

(or bias) occurs when the interviewer's behaviour, appearance or actions in some way influence the respondents such that s/he will provide an inaccurate answer

**Item non-response**

refers to the failure to provide an answer to a question and is particularly common with open-ended questions

**Judgement sampling**

the researcher or some other "expert" uses his/her judgement in selecting the units from the population for study based on the population's parameters

**Marketing research**

systematic and objective gathering and analysis of information in support of marketing decisions

**Mean**

one of the measures of central tendency, also referred to as the arithmetic average; calculated by adding up the values for each case and dividing by the total number of cases

**Median**

one of the measure of central tendency, also known as the midpoint or the value below which half the values in a distribution fall

**Mode**

one of the measure of central tendency, also known as the value that occurs most often

**Nominal scale**

numbers or letters assigned to the item that serve to label it for identification or classification into mutually exclusive categories

**Non-probability sampling**

selection of the sample in such a way that each unit within the population or universe is not chosen by chance; three types are judgement, quota and convenience sampling

**Non-response error**

(or bias) occurs when the respondents who did not participate in the study for a variety of reasons are in fact different from those who did

**Normal curve**

(also called bell curve) a symmetrical distribution that describes the expected probability distribution of many samples or chance occurrences

**Normal or bell curve**

a symmetrical distribution that describes the expected probability distribution of many samples or chance occurrences

**Observation technique**

the systematic recording of behaviour patterns of the subjects or occurrences without questioning or in any way communicating with them

**Open-ended question**

there are no pre-determined answers to choose from; the respondent uses his/her own words to answer the question

**Ordinal scale**

permits the measurement of a degree of difference (more or less), but does not indicate the how much more or less of a particular characteristic an object has; also referred to as rank-order scale

**Parameter**

the population (as opposed to the sample) value of a distribution

**Pilot study**

the collection of data from a limited number of the ultimate consumer group targeted or the actual subjects of the research project

**Population**

(also called universe) all elements within a given group, whether people, objects or organizations, about whom information is required; normally expressed as "N"

**Population or universe**

all elements within a given group, whether people, objects or organizations, about whom information is required; normally expressed as "N"

**Population parameter**

the variable or characteristic of population that are being measured

**Predictor variable**

a variable that is thought to be independent of the outcome itself but instead influence other variables; the variable that is manipulated in experimental research

**Pretest**

a trial run of the questionnaire; administering a questionnaire to a small group of respondents to determine whether there are any potential problems with question wording and layout that could introduce bias

**Primary research**

information gathered specifically for the project at hand, whether using quantitative or qualitative research techniques Predictor variable (also called independent variable) a variable that is thought to be independent of the outcome itself but instead influence other variables; the variable that is manipulated in experimental research

**Probability sampling**

selection of the sample in such a way that each unit within the population or universe has a known chance of being selected; three types are simple, stratified and cluster random sampling

**Pure Research**

(also called basic research) advances the knowledge about a given concept or tests the acceptability of a given theory

**Qualitative research**

in-depth research into the motivation, attitudes and behaviour of respondents or into a given situation

**Quantitative research**

information in the form of numbers that can be quantified and summarized

**Quota sampling**

selection of units from the population that has been segmented into mutually exclusive sub-groups based on a specified proportion of sample units from each segment

**Random sampling**

each unit to be selected from the population has a known and equal chance of being selected

**Randomization**

procedure whereby the selection of subjects is based on chance

**Range**

the distance between the smallest and largest values of a frequency distribution

**Ratio scale**

numbers on the scale not only represent equal distances from one another, but there is also an absolute zero point

**Reliability**

the extent to which results are consistent over time and an accurate representation of the total population under study

**Repeatability**

(also called replicability) the ability to replicate or repeat a study to determine whether the same results can be obtained; a measure of reliability

**Replicability**

(also called repeatability) the ability to replicate or repeat a study to determine whether the same results can be obtained; a measure of reliability

**Replicability or repeatability**

the ability to replicate or repeat a study to determine whether the same results can be obtained; a measure of reliability

**Representative**

said of a sample that has been chosen randomly from the population, where it can be viewed as an approximation of that population

**Request for Proposal**

(RFP) a research buyers’ statement outlining his/her research needs issued to potential suppliers and calling for a proposed methodology and price quotation in response to the research problem described

**Research design**

The plan used to guide the researcher in choosing the methods and procedures for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data

**Research instrument**

a measuring form or data collection device, such as a questionnaire

**Response error**

(or bias) occurs when the respondent consciously or unconsciously provides an untruthful answer

**Response error or bias**

occurs when the respondent consciously or unconsciously provides an untruthful answer

**Response rate**

the proportion of respondents that participated in the study; the number of respondents that participated/completed a survey divided by the total number of subjects contacted or requested to participate in the study x 100 (expressed as %)

**Sample**

a proportion of the population; a sub-set of a larger group; normally expressed as "n"

**Sample bias**

occurs when the sample deviates from the true value of the population

**Sample statistics**

the variables or characteristics of the sample that are being measured and from which inferences are made about the population parameters

**Sampling frame**

(also called working population) The list of elements or physical entity from which the sample is drawn, e.g. a telephone directory or membership listing

**Sampling frame error**

occurs when the sampling frame does not accurately reflect the operational definition of the population or certain sample elements are not listed

**Sampling frame or working population**

The list of elements or physical entity from which the sample is drawn, e.g. a telephone directory or membership listing

**Sampling unit**

the element or group of elements targeted for selection in the sample

**Scale**

a set or range of numbers or scores which allows for the measurement of a particular concept or attribute

**Scientific method**

a systematic approach to gathering information that will lead to the unbiased assessment of whether an expected outcome is confirmed or disproved; generally follows six distinct steps: formulation of the problem; determination of sources of information; determination of research and sample design; collection of the data; analysis and interpretation of the data

**Secondary data**

Any information that has been previously collected or published. It includes literature as well as data assembled other projects

**Secondary research**

Any information that has been previously collected or published. It includes literature as well as data assembled other projects

**Simple random sampling**

a sampling procedure whereby each element in the population has an equal chance of being selected

**Simulation**

a computer model is used to recreate a certain real-life situation and determine mathematically what the results would be if a certain variable is changed in the cause and effect equation

**Standard deviation**

a measure of how widely scores are spread out or dispersed

**Statistical significance**

indicates a result that happens by chance, usually less then once in 20 times (.05)

**Stratified sampling**

segmenting a population into mutually exclusive subgroups or strata and then randomly selected units from each stratum

**Survey technique**

a method whereby primary data is collected about subjects, usually by selecting a representative sample of the population or universe under study, through the use of a questionnaire

**Universe**

(also called population) all elements within a given group, whether people, objects or organizations, about whom information is required; normally expressed as "N"

**Validity**

the ability of research to measure that which it was intended to measure; the truthfulness of the research

**Variable**

any criteria or factor that can be expressed numerically; any property that can take on different values

**Weighting**

increasing or decreasing the weight attributed to a part of the sample to make it proportionate to the characteristic found in the population Working population (also called sampling frame) The list of elements or physical entity from which the sample is drawn, e.g. a telephone directory or membership listing