## Glossary of Research Terms

**Quantitative research**: A quantitative study is one which is primarily concerned with numerical data. These numbers are often analysed using statistical tests.

**Qualitative research:**A qualitative study is one where the data which is collected is in the form of words. For example, opinions, attitudes, feelings. This type of research is considered ' richer' than just numerical data, adding a human element.

**Control group:**A group of subjects in an experiment, which is used for comparison with another group. A control group is often used in reflexology research as a means of controlling for the effects of placebo. For example, 10 people have reflexology and 10 people have foot massage, but if they all think they are having reflexology, then some of the effects of placebo can be controlled. (For more on placebo, click on the Placebo tab.

**Experiment:**A method of research which tests a hypothesis by manipulating independent variables and measuring dependent variables.

**Dependent variable**: the variable that is measured as an indicator of the outcome of an experiment. For example, the level of pain after a reflexology session could be a dependent variable.

**Independent variable:**The variable that a researcher might manipulate to cause an effect in an experiment. For example, the number of reflexology treatments might be an independent variable.

**Hypothesis:**A statement or question which is tested in an experiment. The outcomes of the experiment are said to ' support' the hypothesis or ' refute' the hypothesis. A hypothesis will often originate from a theory.Median:

**Mean**: A way of averaging data by adding up the values of a list of numerical data and dividing by the number of items.

**Median**: A way of averaging data where you take the value which is half way in a distribution of scores.

**Mode**: A way averaging data by identifying the most frequently occurring score within a distribution

**Normal distribution**: Plotting a list of data so that it forms a curve. e.g. height, weight of a population plotted on a graph would form a normal, bell shaped curve, illustrating the lowest to the highest number.

**Pilot study**: A small preparatory study conducted to try out data collection methods or a design of a study.

**Sample:**A group of people from a population who take part in a trial or study. Results obtained from testing on a sample may form the basis of inferences applied to the whole population.

**Random Sample**: The selection of a sample in a random way, e.g by pulling names out of a hat. The 'population' in this case would be all the names in the hat, and the random sample would be those who are selected. Everyone whose name is in the hat has an equal chance of being selected to be part of the sample.

**Statistical Significance**: A statement of how likely it is that the outcome of a study has occurred by chance alone. It is usually expressed as a measure of probability - caled a 'p' level. The level of significance considered to be acceptable is (p<0.05), this means that the probability that the result has occurred by chance in no more than 5 in a hundred. Statistical tests of different kinds are applied to different sets of data to discover whether the result is statistically significant.

**Survey:**A collection of data from indivduals in the form of opinions, attitudes or knowledge.

**Triangulation**: The use of a combination of methods to confirm particular findings.

**Please bear with us as we build this list...........**