a priori categories

Categories that we use that are determined ahead of time, based on existing literature/knowledge.


whether you can actually reach people or documents needed to complete your project

action research

research that is conducted for the purpose of creating social change

aggregate matching

In nonequivalent comparison group designs, the process in which researchers match the population profile of the comparison and experimental groups.


what a researcher hopes to accomplish with their study

alternate/multiple forms reliability

A type of reliability in which multiple forms of a tool yield the same results from the same participants.


the process of writing notes on an article


Artifacts are a source of data for qualitative researcher that exist in some form already, without the research having to create it. They represent a very broad category that can range from print media, to clothing, to tools, to art, to live performances.

assent form

Comparable to the informed consent for BUT this is for children who are old enough to understand and make a decision about a research project.


The characteristics we assume about our data, like that it is normally distributed, that makes it suitable for certain types of statistical tests

audit trail

An audit trail is a system of documenting in qualitative research analysis that allows you to link your final results with your original raw data. Using an audit trail, an independent researcher should be able to start with your results and trace the research process backwards to the raw data. This helps to strengthen the trustworthiness of the research.

availability sampling

researcher gathers data from whatever cases happen to be convenient or available


One of the three values indicated in the Belmont report. An obligation to protect people from harm by maximizing benefits and minimizing risks.


Biases are conscious or subconscious preferences that lead us to favor some things over others.


Biases are conscious or subconscious preferences that lead us to favor some things over others.

bimodal distribution

A distribution with two distinct peaks when represented on a histogram.

bivariate analysis

a group of statistical techniques that examines the relationship between two variables


A qualitative research technique where the researcher attempts to capture and track their subjective assumptions during the research process. * note, there are other definitions of bracketing, but this is the most widely used.

BRUSO model

An acronym, BRUSO for writing questions in survey research. The letters stand for: “brief,” “relevant,” “unambiguous,” “specific,” and “objective.”

case studies

Case studies are a type of qualitative research design that focus on a defined case and gathers data to provide a very rich, full understanding of that case. It usually involves gathering data from multiple different sources to get a well-rounded case description.

categorical variables

variables whose values are organized into mutually exclusive groups but whose numerical values cannot be used in mathematical operations.

chi-square test for independence

a statistical test to determine whether there is a significant relationship between two categorical variables

chronbach’s alpha

Statistical tool used to asses the internal consistency of an instrument. See also split-half approach.

cluster sampling

a sampling approach that begins by sampling groups (or clusters) of population elements and then selects elements from within those groups


A code is a label that we place on segment of data that seems to represent the main idea of that segment.


A document that we use to keep track of and define the codes that we have identified (or are using) in our qualitative data analysis.


Part of the qualitative data analysis process where we begin to interpret and assign meaning to the data.


When a participant faces undue or excess pressure to participate by either favorable or unfavorable means, this is known as coercion and must be avoided by researchers

cognitive biases

predictable flaws in thinking

Common method bias

Common method bias refers to the amount of spurious covariance shared between independent and dependent variables that are measured at the same point in time.

concurrent validity

A type of Criterion validity. Examines how well a tool provides the same scores as an already existing tool.


The different levels of the independent variable in an experimental design.

confidence interval

a range of values in which the true value is likely to be, to provide a more accurate description of their data

confirmation bias

observing and analyzing information in a way that agrees with what you already think is true and excludes other alternatives

conflicts of interest

Conflicting allegiances.


a variable whose influence makes it difficult to understand the relationship between an independent and dependent variable

constant comparison

Constant comparison reflects the motion that takes place in some qualitative analysis approaches whereby the researcher moves back and forth between the data and the emerging categories and evolving understanding they have in their results. They are continually checking what they believed to be the results against the raw data they are working with.


Constructivist research is a qualitative design that seeks to develop a deep understanding of the meaning that people attach to events, experiences, or phenomena.


Conditions that are not directly observable and represent states of being, experiences, and ideas.


Content is the substance of the artifact (e.g. the words, picture, scene). It is what can actually be observed.

content validity

The extent to which a measure “covers” the construct of interest, i.e., it's comprehensiveness to measure the construct.


Context is the circumstances surrounding an artifact, event, or experience.


Research findings are applicable to the group of people who contributed to the knowledge building and the situation in which it took place.

contingency table

a visual representation of across-tabulation of categorical variables to demonstrate all the possible occurrences of categories

continuous variables

variables whose values are mutually exclusive and can be used in mathematical operations

control variable

a confounding variable whose effects are accounted for mathematically in quantitative analysis to isolate the relationship between an independent and dependent variable

convenience or availability

A convenience sample is formed by collecting data from those people or other relevant elements to which we have the most convenient access. Essentially, we take who we can get.


a relationship between two variables in which their values change together.


when the values of two variables change at the same time

criterion validity

The extent to which people’s scores on a measure are correlated with other variables (known as criteria) that one would expect them to be correlated with.


Research that collects data at one point in time.

damaged-centered research

Research that portrays groups of people or communities as flawed, surrounded by problems, or incapable of producing change. 

data analysis plan

An ordered outline that includes your research question, a description of the data you are going to use to answer it, and the exact analyses, step-by-step, that you plan to run to answer your research question.

data collection protocol

A plan that is developed by a researcher, prior to commencing a research project, that details how data will be collected, stored and managed during the research project.

data dictionary

This is the document where you list your variable names, what the variables actually measure or represent, what each of the values of the variable mean if the meaning isn't obvious.

data matrix

A data matrix is a tool used by researchers to track and organize data and findings during qualitative analysis.

data triangulation

Including data from multiple sources to help enhance your understanding of a topic


a searchable collection of information

deconstructing data

The act of breaking piece of qualitative data apart during the analysis process to discern meaning and ultimately, the results of the study.


The type of research in which a specific expectation is deduced from a general premise and then tested

descriptive research

research that describes or defines a particular phenomenon

descriptive statistics

A technique for summarizing and presenting data.


an academic field, like social work

discrete variables

Variables with finite value choices.


“a planned process that involves consideration of target audiences and the settings in which research findings are to be received and, where appropriate, communicating and interacting with wider policy and…service audiences in ways that will facilitate research uptake in decision-making processes and practice” (Wilson, Petticrew, Calnan, & Natareth, 2010, p. 91)

dissemination plan

how you plan to share your research findings


the way the scores are distributed across the levels of that variable.

document analysis

The analysis of documents (or other existing artifacts) as a source of data.


the units in your sampling frame, usually people or documents

emergent design

Emergent design is the idea that some decision in our research design will be dynamic and change as our understanding of the research question evolves as we go through the research process. This is (often) evident in qualitative research, but rare in quantitative research.


in mixed methods research, this refers to the order in which each method is used, either concurrently or sequentially

empirical articles

report the results of a quantitative or qualitative data analysis conducted by the author

empirical data

information about the social world gathered and analyzed through scientific observation or experimentation


Often the end result of a phenomological study, this is a description of the lived experience of the phenomenon being studied.


Ethnography is a qualitative research design that is used when we are attempting to learn about a culture by observing people in their natural environment.

evaluation research

research that evaluates the outcomes of a policy or program

evidence-based practice

a process composed of "four equally weighted parts: 1) current client needs and situation, (2) the best relevant research evidence, (3) client values and preferences, and (4) the clinician’s expertise" (Drisko & Grady, 2015, p. 275)

ex post facto

After the fact

exclusion criteria

characteristics that disqualify a person from being included in a sample

expedited review

Expedited review is the middle level of review. Studies considered under expedited review do not have to go before the full IRB board because they expose participants to minimal risk. However, the studies must be thoroughly reviewed by a member of the IRB committee.


an operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law.

experimental design

Refers to research that is designed specifically to answer the question of whether there is a causal relationship between two variables.

explanatory research

explains why particular phenomena work in the way that they do; answers “why” questions

exploratory research

conducted during the early stages of a project, usually when a researcher wants to test the feasibility of conducting a more extensive study or if the topic has not been studied in the past

extraneous variables

variables and characteristics that have an effect on your outcome, but aren't the primary variable whose influence you're interested in testing.

extreme (or deviant) case sampling

A purposive sampling strategy that selects a case(s) that represent extreme or underrepresented perspectives. It is a way of intentionally focusing on or representing voices that may not often be heard or given emphasis.

face validity

The extent to which a measurement method appears “on its face” to measure the construct of interest


whether you can practically and ethically complete the research project you propose

field notes

Notes that are taken by the researcher while we are in the field, gathering data.

focus groups

A form of data gathering where researchers ask a group of participants to respond to a series of (mostly open-ended) questions.


Deliberate actions taken to impact a research project. For example deliberately falsifying data, plagiarism, not being truthful about the methodology, etc.

frequency table

A table that lays out how many cases fall into each level of a varible.


the people or organizations who control access to the population you want to study

generalizable findings

Findings form a research study that apply to larger group of people (beyond the sample). Producing generalizable findings requires starting with a representative sample.


(as in generalization) to make claims about a large population based on a smaller sample of people or items

gray literature

research reports released by non-commercial publishers, such as government agencies, policy organizations, and think-tanks


The quality of or the amount of difference or variation in data or research participants.


a graphical display of a distribution.


The quality of or the amount of similarity or consistency in data or research participants.

human subject

The US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) defines a human subject as “a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information” (USDHHS, 1993, para. 1). [2]

hypothetico-deductive method

A cyclical process of theory development, starting with an observed phenomenon, then developing or using a theory to make a specific prediction of what should happen if that theory is correct, testing that prediction, refining the theory in light of the findings, and using that refined theory to develop new hypotheses, and so on.


Tthe long-term condition that occurs at the end of a defined time period after an intervention.

implementation science

The scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services.

inclusion criteria

Inclusion criteria are general requirements a person must possess to be a part of your sample.

indirect observables

In measurement, conditions that are subtle and complex that we must use existing knowledge and intuition to define.

individual matching

In nonequivalent comparison group designs, the process by which researchers match individual cases in the experimental group to similar cases in the comparison group.


inductive reasoning draws conclusions from individual observations

inter-rater reliability

The extent to which different observers are consistent in their assessment or rating of a particular characteristic or item.

internal validity

Ability to say that one variable "causes" something to happen to another variable. Very important to assess when thinking about studies that examine causation such as experimental or quasi-experimental designs.


A higher level of measurement. Denoted by having mutually exclusive categories, a hierarchy (order), and equal spacing between values. This last item means that values may be added, subtracted, divided, and multiplied.

interview guide

An interview guide is a document that outlines the flow of information during your interview, including a greeting and introduction to orient your participant to the topic, your questions and any probes, and any debriefing statement you might include. If you are part of a research team, your interview guide may also include instructions for the interviewer if certain things are brought up in the interview or as general guidance.

interview schedule

A detailed document that is used when a survey is read to a respondent that contains a list of questions and answer options that the researcher will read to respondents.


A form of data gathering where researchers ask individual participants to respond to a series of (mostly open-ended) questions.

intra-rater reliability

Type of reliability in which a rater rates something the same way on two different occasions.


a “gut feeling” about what to do based on previous experience


yer gut feelin'


An iterative approach means that after planning and once we begin collecting data, we begin analyzing as data as it is coming in.  This early analysis of our (incomplete) data, then impacts our planning, ongoing data gathering and future analysis as it progresses.

iterative process

a nonlinear process in which the original product is revised over and over again to improve it


One of the three ethical principles in the Belmont Report. States that benefits and burdens of research should be distributed fairly.


the words or phrases in your search query

level of measurement

The level that describes the type of operations can be conducted with your data. There are four nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.


The possible values of the variable - like a participant's age, income or gender.


A research process where you create a plan, you gather your data, you analyze your data and each step is completed before you proceed to the next.

linear regression

a statistical technique that can be used to predict how an independent variable affects a dependent variable in the context of other variables.


A science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration: the science of the formal principles of reasoning.

logic model

A graphic depiction (road map) that presents the shared relationships among the resources, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impact for your program


examining social structures and institutions

maximum variation sampling

A purposive sampling strategy where you choose cases because they represent a range of very different perspectives on a topic


Also called the average, the mean is calculated by adding all your cases and dividing the total by the number of cases.

measure of central tendency

One number that can give you an idea about the distribution of your data.


The process by which we describe and ascribe meaning to the key facts, concepts, or other phenomena that we are investigating.

measurement error

The differerence between that value that we get when we measure something and the true value

measurement validity

Refers to the ability of a tool to measure what it claims to measure.


The value in the middle when all our values are placed in numerical order. Also called the 50th percentile.


Member checking involves taking your results back to participants to see if we "got it right" in our analysis. While our findings bring together many different peoples' data into one set of findings, participants should still be able to recognize their input and feel like their ideas and experiences have been captured adequately.


Memoing is the act of recording your thoughts, reactions, quandaries as you are reviewing the data you are gathering.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

A written agreement between parties that want to participate in a collaborative project.


examining interaction between groups and within communities


a study that combines raw data from multiple quantitative studies and analyzes the pooled data using statistics


a study that combines primary data from multiple qualitative sources and analyzes the pooled data




examining the smallest levels of interaction, usually individuals


Usually unintentional. Very broad category that covers things such as not using the proper statistics for analysis, injecting bias into your study and in interpreting results, being careless with your research methodology

mixed methods research

when researchers use both quantitative and qualitative methods in a project


The most commonly occurring value of a variable.

multivariate analysis

A group of statistical techniques that examines the relationship between at least three variables

Mutually exclusive categories

Mutually exclusive categories are options for closed ended questions that do not overlap.


Those stories that we compose as human beings that allow us to make meaning of our experiences and the world around us

National Research Act

US legislation passed In 1974, which created the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects in Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which went on to produce The Belmont Report.

negative case analysis

Including data that contrasts, contradicts, or challenges the majority of evidence that we have found or expect to find


The idea that qualitative researchers attempt to limit or at the very least account for their own biases, motivations, interests and opinions during the research process.


A type of understanding that

non-probability sampling

sampling approaches for which a person’s likelihood of being selected for membership in the sample is unknown


Referring to data analysis that doesn't examine how variables relate to each other.

nonresponse Bias

The bias that occurs when those who respond to your request to participate in a study are different from those who do not respond to you request to participate in a study.

null hypothesis

the assumption that no relationship exists between the variables in question

Nuremberg Code

The Nuremberg Code is a 10-point set of research principles designed to guide doctors and scientists who conduct research on human subjects, crafted in response to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.

objective truth

a single truth, observed without bias, that is universally applicable


Observation is a tool for data gathering where researchers rely on their own senses (e.g. sight, sound) to gather information on a topic.

observational terms

In measurement, conditions that are easy to identify and verify through direct observation.


The rows in your data set. In social work, these are often your study participants (people), but can be anything from census tracts to black bears to trains.

observer triangulation

including more than one member of your research team to aid in analyzing the data

open access

journal articles that are made freely available by the publisher

operational definitions

The concrete and specific defintion of something in terms of the operations by which observations can be categorized.


The process of determining how to measure a construct that cannot be directly observed

oral histories

Oral histories are a type of qualitative research design that offers a detailed accounting of a person's life, some event, or experience. This story(ies) is aimed at answering a specific research question.


Level of measurement that follows nominal level. Has mutually exclusive categories and a hierarchy (order).


The final condition that occurs at the end of an intervention or program.


Extreme values in your data.


summarizes the incompatibility between a particular set of data and a proposed model for the data, usually the null hypothesis. The lower the p-value, the more inconsistent the data are with the null hypothesis, indicating that the relationship is statistically significant.


Those who are asked to contribute data in a research study; sometimes called respondents or subjects.


when a publisher prevents access to reading content unless the user pays money

peer review

a formal process in which other esteemed researchers and experts ensure your work meets the standards and expectations of the professional field


trade publications, magazines, and newspapers


the tendency for a pattern to occur at regular intervals


A qualitative research design that aims to capture and describe the lived experience of some event or "phenomenon" for a group of people.


Photovoice is a technique that merges pictures with narrative (word or voice data that helps that interpret the meaning or significance of the visual artifact. It is often used as a tool in CBPR.

pilot testing

Testing out your research materials in advance on people who are not included as participants in your study.

political case

A purposive sampling strategy that focuses on selecting cases that are important in representing a contemporary politicized issue.


the larger group of people you want to be able to make conclusions about based on the conclusions you draw from the people in your sample

Post-test only control group design

an experimental design in which participants are randomly assigned to control and treatment groups, one group receives an intervention, and both groups receive only a post-test assessment


the odds you will detect a significant relationship between variables when one is truly present in your sample

practical articles

describe “how things are done” or comment on pressing issues in practice (Wallace & Wray, 2016, p. 20)

practice wisdom

“learning by doing” that guides social work intervention and increases over time

predictive validity

A type of criterion validity that examines how well your tool predicts a future criterion.

pretest and post-test control group design

a type of experimental design in which participants are randomly assigned to control and experimental groups, one group receives an intervention, and both groups receive pre- and post-test assessments

primary source

in a literature review, a source that describes primary data collected and analyzed by the author, rather than only reviewing what other researchers have found

probability proportionate to size

in cluster sampling, giving clusters different chances of being selected based on their size so that each element within those clusters has an equal chance of being selected

probability sampling

sampling approaches for which a person’s likelihood of being selected from the sampling frame is known


Probes a brief prompts or follow up questions that are used in qualitative interviewing to help draw out additional information on a particular question or idea.

process evaluation

An analysis of how well your program ended up running, and sometimes how well it's going in real time.

professional development

the "uptake of formal and informal learning opportunities that deepen and extend...professional competence, including knowledge, beliefs, motivation, and self-regulatory skills" (Richter, Kunter, Klusmann, Lüdtke, & Baumert, 2014)

program evaluation

The systematic process by which we determine if social programs are meeting their goals, how well the program runs, whether the program had the desired effect, and whether the program has merit according to stakeholders (including in terms of the monetary costs and benefits)

prolonged engagement

As researchers, this means we are extensively spending time with participants or are in the community we are studying.


claims about the world that appear scientific but are incompatible with the values and practices of science


The science of measurement. Involves using theory to assess measurement procedures and tools.


In a purposive sample, participants are intentionally or hand-selected because of their specific expertise or experience.

qualitative data

data derived from analysis of texts. Usually, this is word data (like a conversation or journal entry) but can also include performances, pictures, and other means of expressing ideas.

qualitative research

Research that involves the use of data that represents human expression through words, pictures, movies, performance and other artifacts.

quantitative data

numerical data

quantitative methods

quantitative methods examine numerical data to precisely describe and predict elements of the social world

Quasi-experimental designs

a subtype of experimental design that is similar to a true experiment, but does not have randomly assigned control and treatment groups


search terms used in a database to find sources of information, like articles or webpages


The actual tool that collects data in survey research.


A quota sample involves the researcher identifying a subgroups within a population that they want to make sure to include in their sample, and then identifies a quota or target number to recruit that represent each of these subgroups.

random assignment

using a random process to decide which participants are tested in which conditions

random errors

Errors lack any perceptable pattern.


The difference between the highest and lowest scores in the distribution.


The highest level of measurement. Denoted by mutually exclusive categories, a hierarchy (order), values can be added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided, and the presence of an absolute zero.

recall bias

When respondents have difficult providing accurate answers to questions due to the passage of time.

reciprocal determinism

Concept advanced by Albert Bandura that human behavior both shapes and is shaped by their environment.


The act of putting the deconstructed qualitative back together during the analysis process in the search for meaning and ultimately the results of the study.


the process by which the researcher informs potential participants about the study and attempts to get them to participate

reflexive journal

A research journal that helps the researcher to reflect on and consider their thoughts and reactions to the research process and how it may be shaping the study


How we understand and account for our influence, as researchers, on the research process.


The ability of a measurement tool to measure a phenomenon the same way, time after time. Note: Reliability does not imply validity.

representative sample

"a sample that looks like the population from which it was selected in all respects that are potentially relevant to the study" (Engel & Schutt, 2011)


How closely your sample resembles the population from which it was drawn.

research data repository

These are sites where contributing researchers can house data that other researchers can view and request permission to use

research methods

the methods researchers use to examine empirical data

research proposal

a document produced by researchers that reviews the literature relevant to their topic and describes the methods they will use to conduct their study

research protocol

The details/steps outlining how a study will be carried out.

respect for persons

One of the three ethical principles espoused in the Belmont Report. Treating people as autonomous beings who have the right to make their own decisions. Acknowledging participants' personal dignity.


Rigor is the process through which we demonstrate, to the best of our ability, that our research is empirically sound and reflects a scientific approach to knowledge building.


the group of people you successfully recruit from your sampling frame to participate in your study

sample size

The number of cases found in your final sample.

sampling bias

Sampling bias is present when our sampling process results in a sample that does not represent our population in some way.

sampling distribution

the set of all possible samples you could possibly draw for your study

sampling frame

the list of people from which a researcher will draw her sample

scatter plot

A graphical representation of data where the y-axis (the vertical one along the side) is your variable's value and the x-axis (the horizontal one along the bottom) represents the individual instance in your data.


Visual representations of the relationship between two interval/ratio variables that usually use dots to represent data points


a way of knowing that attempts to systematically collect and categorize facts or truths

secondary data

Data someone else has collected that you have permission to use in your research.

secondary data analysis

study publicly available information or data that has been collected by another person

secondary sources

interpret, discuss, and summarize primary sources

self-administered questionnaires

Questionnaires that are distributed to participants (in person, by mail, virtually) and they are asked to complete them independently.

semi-structured interviews

An interview that has a general framework for the questions that will be asked, but there is more flexibility to pursue related topics that are brought up by participants than is found in a structured interview approach.

seminal article

a classic work of research literature that is more than 5 years old and is marked by its uniqueness and contribution to professional knowledge” (Houser, 2018, p. 112)


in mixed methods research, this refers to the order each method is used


the words used to identify the organization and structure of your literature review to your reader

simple random sampling

selecting elements from a list using randomly generated numbers

skewed distribution

A distribution where cases are clustered on one or the other side of the median.


For a snowball sample, a few initial participants are recruited and then we rely on those initial (and successive) participants to help identify additional people to recruit. We thus rely on participants connects and knowledge of the population to aid our recruitment.

social desirability bias

Social desirability bias occurs when we create questions that lead respondents to answer in ways that don't reflect their genuine thoughts or feelings to avoid being perceived negatively.

social science

the science of humanity, social interactions, and social structures

split-half reliability

A reliability evaluation that examines the internal consistency of a a measurement tool. This process involves comparing one half of a tool to the other half of the same tool and evaluating the results.


A relationship where it appears that two variables are related BUT they aren't. Another variable is actually influencing the relationship.

spurious relationship

when a relationship between two variables appears to be causal but can in fact be explained by influence of a third variable


The people and organizations that have some interest in or will be effected by our program.

statistical power

The ability to fail to accept the null hypotheses (i.e., actually find what you are seeking)

statistical significance

"Assuming that the null hypothesis is true and the study is repeated an infinite number times by drawing random samples from the same populations(s), less than 5% of these results will be more extreme than the current result" (Cassidy et al., 2019, p. 233).


the characteristic by which the sample is divided in stratified random sampling

stratified random sampling

dividing the study population into subgroups based on a characteristic (or strata) and then drawing a sample from each subgroup

structured interview

Interview that uses a very prescribed or structured approach, with a rigid set of questions that are asked very consistently each time, with little to no deviation

subjective truths

one truth among many, bound within a social and cultural context

symmetrical distribution

A distribution with a roughly equal number of cases on either side of the median.

systematic errors

Errors that are generally predictable.

systematic sampling

selecting every kth element from your sampling frame


a quick, condensed summary of the report’s key findings arranged by row and column

target population

the group of people whose needs your study addresses

tertiary sources

review primary and secondary sources

test-retest reliability

The extent to which scores obtained on a scale or other measure are consistent across time

the literature

published works that document a scholarly conversation on a specific topic within and between disciplines

theoretical articles

discuss a theory, conceptual model, or framework for understanding a problem

thick description

A thick description is a very complete, detailed, and illustrative of the subject that is being described.


To type out the text of recorded interview or focus group.


The process of research is record and described in such a way that the steps the researcher took throughout the research process are clear.


Triangulation of data refers to the use of multiple types, measures or sources of data in a research project to increase the confidence that we have in our findings.

typical case sampling

A purposive sampling strategy where you select cases that represent the most common/ a commonly held perspective.

unimodal distribution

A distribution with one distinct peak when represented on a histogram.

unit of analysis

entity that a researcher wants to say something about at the end of her study (individual, group, or organization)

unit of observation

the entities that a researcher actually observes, measures, or collects in the course of trying to learn something about her unit of analysis (individuals, groups, or organizations)

univariate data analysis

Univariate data analysis is a quantitative method in which a variable is examined individually to determine its distribution.

unstructured interviews

Interviews that contain very open-ended talking prompt that we want participants to respond to, with much flexibility to follow the conversation where it leads.


The extent to which the scores from a measure represent the variable they are intended to.


The extent to which the levels of a variable vary around their central tendency (the mean, median, or mode).

variable name

The name of your variable.


“a logical grouping of attributes that can be observed and measured and is expected to vary from person to person in a population” (Gillespie & Wagner, 2018, p. 9)

vulnerable populations

People who are at risk of undue influence or coercion. Examples are children, prisoners, parolees, and persons with impaired mental capabilities. Additional groups may be vulnerable if they are deemed to be unable to give consent.


thing that is a thing


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Graduate research methods in social work Copyright © 2020 by Matthew DeCarlo, Cory Cummings, Kate Agnelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book