This jargon buster or glossary of words contains the definitions of some of the terms commonly used in public involvement in research. It is not a complete list of all the words you might come across. The definitions were developed for INVOLVE by TwoCan Associates working in consultation with a panel of researchers and a panel of people who use services.
The jargon buster can be searched by clicking on one of the letters below or browsing all terms.
Qualitative research is used to explore and understand people’s beliefs, experiences, attitudes or behaviours. It asks questions about how and why. Qualitative research might ask questions about why people want to stop smoking. It won’t ask how many people have tried to stop smoking. It does not collect data in the form of numbers.
Qualitative researchers use methods like focus groups and interviews (telephone and face-to-face interviews).
In quantitative research, researchers collect data in the form of numbers. So they measure things or count things. Quantitative research might ask a question like how many people visit their GP each year, or what proportion of children have had an MMR vaccine, or whether a new drug lowers blood pressure more than the drugs that are usually used.
Quantitative researchers use methods like surveys and clinical trials.
A questionnaire is a prepared set of written questions used to obtain information from research participants. Questionnaires can be completed on paper, using a computer or with an interviewer.