# LIS 504 - Terms with definitions

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set of values of a test statistic
that imply acceptance of
the null hypothesis.
research aiming to contribute
both to people's immediate practical concerns
and to scientific knowledge
by collaboration.
(example)
hypothesis to be accepted
if the null hypothesis is
rejected.
(example)
an ethical requirement
of some research involving human subjects
that the participants remain anonymous throughout the study,
even to the researchers themselves.
(example)
between two variables,
relationship between variation in one and variation in the
other.
(example)
sampling
in which items are selected on the basis of convenience.
(example)
any of several measures of
central tendency,
most commonly the arithmetic
mean,
but sometimes the
median.
(example)

systematic **error**.
Types include
nonresponse bias
and selective
observation.
(example)
quantitative research
on documents and their relationships with one another
and with other entities such as authors.
(example)

collection and presentation of detailed information
about a particular individual or small group.
(example)
(also called **causality**)
a relationship that,
among other things, is
(1) close enough to be useful or interesting
(2) does not require too much qualification
(3) has been shown to be not obviously spurious
and (4) can be explained by a mechanism
deduced from theory.
To show a causal relationship,
one must satisfy the time order criterion,
covariation of cause and effect,
and the absence of other plausible explanations.
(example)
the center of a set of measurements.
Measures of central tendency include
the mean
the median,
and the mode.
a statistic used to test a
null hypothesis
that departures from the expected number of items
in a set of categories arose by chance.
(example)
(also called **structured question**)
a question in which a limited number of choices
are provided as allowable answers.
(example)
sampling
by dividing the population into
clusters,
typically based on geography,
and taking a sample of the clusters.
(example)
control group
that receives a different treatment
from the experimental group.
in participant
observation,
a researcher who does not participate in group activities
but is identified as a researcher.
mental image that summarizes a set of similar observations,
feelings, ideas, etc.
(example)
process of specifying what is meant by a term.
section of an
empirical research
report
that interprets the
results in broader terms
and may suggest implications.
a statistic consisting of a range and a
confidence level.
For example,
"the poll shows that 50% of the people,
plus or minus 5%,
will vote "yes" in the referendum;
this value is accurate 19 times out of 20."
(example)
a number used to indicate how sure a researcher is
that a statement about a
population
is correct given data about
a sample.
an ethical principle
of research involving human subjects
requiring that subjects be assured
of restrictions on the availability of identifying information.
(example)
a kind of validity,
extent to which a measure fits with other measures
into a framework of theory.
a method involving classification and counting
of elements in texts.
(example)
### content validity

*See* face validity.
### contingency question

*See* filter question.
a group that receives a standard treatment
or no treatment at all
and provides a base against which to measure
an experimental group.
(example)
### correlation

*See* association.
a researcher in field research
whose identity as a researcher is not revealed
to those studied.
a value of a test statistic
that separates the rejection
region
and the acceptance region
in a statistical test.
generalizability
from findings about one population
to another.
(example)
a study that takes place at a single point in time.

numbers, character strings, images, etc.,
which can be received, stored, processed, and transmitted
by humans or computers.
(also called **deduction**)
a method, using logic, of obtaining knowledge
that is implicit in other knowledge.
an expression of what a word or phrase means.
Types include by synonyms,
by naming properties (**ontological**, **nominal**,
or **constitutive** definition),
by denotation (with examples), and
operational definition.
(example)
a variable
whose change or different states the researcher
wants to understand, explain, or predict.
(example)
statistics which describe or summarize data,
such as measures of central
tendency
and dispersion.
(also called **variation**)
extent to which values for a measure are spread out.
a list of all the categories used
and the number of items in each category.
(example)
research design in which neither the researchers
nor the people being studied
know enough to create bias.

a fallacy involving making conclusions
about individuals
based only on analyses of group data.
(example)
research involving observations
and propositions derived primarily from sense experience
by means of inductive
reasoning.
(example)
a formal report of empirical
research,
usually including the following components:
introduction,
literature survey,
methodology,
results, and
conclusion.
measure that reflects wearing away or removal of material.
### error

*See also* bias;
noise.
distance between an estimate and the true value.
conforming to accepted standards of social or professional
behavior.
Ethical principles of research involving human
subjects
include
voluntary participation
and (usually)
informed consent
and confidentiality
or the stricter standard of anonymity.
long term, immersive investigation of a group.
(example)
research with the purpose of providing
useful feedback about some object.
a fallacy
in which the same data used to develop
a hypothesis
are used to test it.
(example)
a fallacy
involving reaching a conclusion about a group
on the basis of exceptional cases.
a desirable property of choices in a
closed question
requiring that the choices provided cover all possibilities.
research method in which the researcher intentionally
manipulates
one or more of
the independent variables
and then observes the changes in
the dependent variables
(example)
the scheme by which the variables
are related to one another,
typically so as to achieve the greatest efficiency.
(example)
a group which receives
a treatment
in an experiment.
(example)
judgments and estimates made by people
who have spent much of their time working with a particular
subject
and filtering and storing information on it.
a statement that makes one understand
an association.
(example)
generalizability
of results.
(example)

(also called **content validity**)
whether "on its face" a particular measure
seems to represent the intended concept.
(example)
a mistake in logic.
Types include
ex post facto
hypothesizing,
the exception fallacy,
the ecological fallacy,
the hidden factor fallacy
and the regression
fallacy.
(example)
respondents who choose a middle or neutral response.
research in which the researcher goes "into the field"
to observe the phenomenon in its natural state.
(also called a **contingency question**)
a question asked in order to determine
if the respondent is qualified to answer a subsequent question
or questions.
(example)
respondents who would choose a "don't know" response
to a closed question
if it were offered.
group interview
in which discussion is encouraged.
(example)

(also called **transferability**)
extent to which results of one research study
can be extended to other situations.
(example)
a graphic representation of data.
Types include
the histogram and
the pie chart.
research involving continuous interplay
between data collection and analysis.

a reactive effect
caused by awareness by the people being studied
that they are being studied,
similar to the **placebo effect**
and a possible source of bias.
(also called **spurious causal relationship**
or **third variable problem**)
a fallacy involving
erroneously concluding that `x` causes `y`
when in fact a third factor `z` causes
both `x` and `y`.
a bar graph,
in which the bars are contiguous.
(example)
research that records and explains past events
involving human beings.
(example)
statement that attempts to explain or predict a single
phenomenon.
(example)

referring to laws or rules that relate to specific individuals.
(example)
a variable
whose effect upon
the dependent variable
one is trying to understand.
(example)
operation that yields the value of a variable;
for example,
a question on a questionnaire.
(example)
a form of reasoning that moves from specific observations
to broader generalizations and theories.
(example)
an ethical principle
of research involving human subjects
stating that subjects must be fully informed
about the procedures and risks involved in research
before they can consent to participate.
(example)
relatively unstructured interview
method
seeking in-depth information.
(example)
a form of validity
having to do with whether an observed
association
is causal in nature.
(example)
a scale in which the intervals
between successive categories are significant,
normally being considered as equal.
data gathering method in which a researcher asks questions
of participants either in person
or via a medium that allows for interaction.
(example)
section of a document,
such as an
empirical research
report,
that states the questions or problems under investigation
and justifies their importance.

a empirically verified statement predicting an
association
given a set of conditions,
usually fairly general.
(example)
the size of an effect shown in a graph
divided by the actual size of the effect in the data
on which the graph is based.
a summary or evaluation of related research,
as in a **research proposal** or
an empirical research
report.
a study that takes place over time,
with at least two waves of measurement.
(example)

assigning subjects to groups so that they represent
the characteristics deemed relevant
to as nearly equal a degree as possible.
an average
computed by applying a formula to a set of numeric values,
usually by adding them and dividing by the number of values
(the **arithmetic** mean).
(example)
extent to which a measure measures
what it is supposed to measure.
(example)
an average,
equal to the numeric value in a set
that is bigger than half the remaining values
and smaller than the other half.
If there is no such single value,
the mean of the two values
that are bigger than half the remaining values
and smaller than the other half is used instead.
(example)
section of an
empirical research
report
that describes the procedures used.
a measure of central tendency
equal to the value that occurs most often in a set.
If there is a tie,
the distribution
is said to be **bimodal**
or **multimodal**.
(example)
combination of sampling methods
in which subunits are sampled within units.
(example)
a property of a set of classes
whereby no item belongs in more than one of the classes.
It is often a desirable property
of the set of choices in a
closed question.

unsystematic **error**.
a scale in which the order of the categories
is not significant.
(example)
referring to laws or rules that pertain to the general case.
bias arising because some portion
of a population is not available for
study.
(example)
(also called a **Gaussian distribution**)
a distribution,
bell-shaped and
symmetrical about its mean,
whose shape is determined by its
standard deviation
and the normal distribution formula*.
the hypothesis under test
in a statistical test.
(example)

a definition
that gives the steps one must go through
in order to observe the concept being defined.
(example)
a scale in which the order of categories
is significant,
but differences between successive categories are not.
(example)

a study in which the same people are observed or questioned
at several different times.
(also called **participant observer method**)
field research
in which the researcher establishes a sustained relationship
with people while they go about their normal activities.
The `p`th percentile of a set of values
is the value such that `p`%,
and no more, of the values are lower.
(also called a **circle chart**)
a type of chart or graph
in which values are represented as segments of a circle.
(example)
(also called **universe**)
the set of items of interest,
from which a sample may be drawn.
(example)
view that objective reality exists apart from human perceptions.
a measure taken after application of a
treatment.
a kind of validity,
extent to which a measure can predict some other characteristic.
(example)
a trial run of the methodology of a study
to find out whether it works
or what needs to be modified.
(example)
a measure taken before application of a
treatment.
(example)
a sequence effect
due to the fact that the first stimulus is often remembered
better
than the middle stimuli.
units sampled at the top level in
multi-stage sampling.
(example)
in historical research,
a document produced directly as a result of historical events,
such as a diary or birth certificate,
rather than indirectly from other documents.
non-random sampling
in which items are selected for a purpose.
(example)

empirical research
using non-quantitative data,
such as texts.
Research in which the usual methods
are qualitative includes
action research,
case study,
ethnography,
and grounded
theory research.
(example)
empirical research
involving calculations based on quantitative data.
(example)
The **lower quartile** is the 25th
percentile
and the **upper quartile** is the 75th.
research tool containing one or more questions
to be answered by respondents.
(example)
a type of nonrandom sampling
in which interviewers are instructed to obtain interviews
with fixed numbers of people in each of a number of categories,
more closely specified than in
stratified sampling.

(also called **randomization**)
a procedure that assigns each unit to a group
based on a random event.
(example)
*see* noise
(also called **simple random sample**)
a sample for which every **combination** of elements
of a given size
had an equal chance of being selected from
a population.
(example)
a measure of dispersion
equal to the difference between the largest and the smallest
value
in a set.
a scale in which the ratios
between the numbers represented by categories
are significant.
(example)
change in behavior of those being studied
due to their being studied.
Types include
the Hawthorne effect.
(example)
a sequence effect
due to the fact that the most recent stimulus
is often remembered better than the middle stimuli.
a subject expert to whom a manuscript submitted for publication
is sent for review.
a fallacy
involving selecting extreme cases at one point in time,
noting that the same or related cases at another point of time
have values closer to the mean,
and concluding incorrectly that the population as a whole
is "regressing toward the mean".
set of values of a test statistic
that indicate rejection of
the null hypothesis.
extent to which a measure is repeatable or stable
or free from noise.
Types include
**intra-observer reliability**,
**inter-rater** or **inter-observer reliability**,
**test-retest reliability**,
**parallel-forms reliability**,
and **internal consistency reliability**.
(example)
attempt to come up with similar results
under similar circumstances,
success of which may be an argument in favor of
generalizability.
(example)
extent to which a sample accurately
reflects proportions
in the population.
(example)
proportion of questionnaires actually completed and returned.
(example)
careful, systematic study and investigation in a field of
knowledge.
**Scholarly** or **scientific** research
also involves communication with,
and openness to criticism from,
a broad community of researchers.
section of an
empirical research
report
that summarizes the data or observations,
including any computation or analysis.

selection of a set of items from a population
as representative of the population as a whole.
Types include
availability sampling,
cluster sampling,
quota sampling,
random sampling,
sequential sampling,
snowball sampling,
stratified sampling,
systematic sampling
(example)
noise due to calculating statistics
from a sample rather than from the entire population.
empirical representation of
the population of interest.
(example)
units sampled directly within the
primary sampling units
in multi-stage sampling.
(example)
a type of bias
favoring observations
that confirm the researcher's pre-existing beliefs.
an effect arising because one observation affects a later
observation.
Types include
the primacy effect,
the recency effect, and
the serial effect.
(example)
sampling that stops
when enough data have been collected.
(example)
a sequence effect
in which questions lead responses
by establishing a certain tone.
sampling by asking individuals studied
to provide references to other potential subjects.
(example)
a measure of dispersion,
equal to the positive square root of the
variance.
(example)
probabilistic method of discounting noise
as an explanation for a sample result.
sampling
by dividing a population into groups
on the basis of some characteristic
and then sampling each group.
*See* closed question.
A data gathering method
that asks one or more standard questions of a group of
respondents
either by interview
or by questionnaire
or by a combination.
(example)
### systematic error

*See* bias.
sampling
by choosing every `n`th item from a list,
beginning at a random point.
(example)

(also called **Student's t test**)
a test of significance of the means
of small samples.
(example)
a value derived from the sample measurements
used as a decision-maker in a test of
a hypothesis.
(example)
non-random sampling
in which items are selected sequentially
on the basis of earlier observations.
organized system of accepted knowledge
that applies in a variety of circumstances
to explain a specific set of phenomena.
(example)
criterion for causation
that the cause must precede the effect.
### transferability

*See* generalizability.
manipulation of one or more
independent variables
in an experiment.
the use of multiple measures and methodologies
to increase the likely validity
of the results.
(example)
rejecting the null hypothesis
when it is true.
accepting the null hypothesis
when it is false.

the major entity type being studied,
about which data are gathered;
for example,
individual, household, group, book edition, copy of book
(example)
### universe

*see* population.
a measure that does not require the researcher
to intrude in the research context.

extent to which research actually studies
what the researcher wants it to.
Aspects and indicators of overall validity include
measurement validity,
predictive validity,
external validity,
internal validity,
face validity, and
construct validity.
a measure in which the researcher is interested
and that is expected to have different values
in the different parts of the research.
Main types are
the independent variable
and the dependent
variable.
a measure of dispersion
equal to the arithmetic mean
of the squares of the differences
between the values and their arithmetic mean.
It is also equal to the square of the
standard deviation.
### variation

*See* dispersion.
an ethical principle
of research involving human subjects
forbidding coercion.
(example)

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Last updated October 1, 2001.

This page maintained by
Prof. Tim Craven

E-mail (text/plain only): t.craven@uwo.ca

Faculty of Information and
Media Studies

University of Western
Ontario,

London, Ontario

Canada, N6A 5B7