Nursing Path

CARING is the essence of NURSING. -Jean Watson

Nursing Path

Knowing is not enough, we must APPLY. Willing is not enough, we must DO. -Bruce Lee

Nursing Path

Treat the patient as a whole, not just the hole in the patient.

Nursing Path

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. -Winston Churchill

Nursing Path

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. -Duke Ellington

Nursing Education in India

  • Nursing Council Act came to existence in 1948 to constitute a council of nurses to safeguard the quality of nursing education in the country.
  • The mandate was to establish and maintain uniform standards of nursing education.
  • Indian Nursing Council (INC) is a statutory body that regulates nursing education in the country through prescription, inspection, examination, certification and maintaining its stands for a uniform syllabus at each level of nursing education.
There are six levels of nursing education in India today. They are :
  1. Multy Purpose Health Worker Female training (ANM or MPHW-F)
  2. Female Health Supervisor training (HV or MPHS-F)
  3. General nursing and midwifery (GNM)
  4. BSc. Nursing
  5. MSc. nursing
  6. MPhil and PhD
The ANM, HV, and GNM are conducted in schools of nursing. The last 3 are university level courses and the respective universities conduct examinations. Beside there are several certificate and diploma courses in specialties.
Link to Nursing Programmes in India

  • The general nursing and midwifery course is conducted in 2178 centers in the country. (As on 12/12/2010)
  • Link to the INC list of recognized institutions
  • The syllabus has undergone many revisions according to the change in the health plans and policies of the Government and changing trends and advancements in general education, nursing health sciences and medical technology.
  • The latest revision of syllabus by INC in 2004 has increased the duration of the course from three year to three and half year.
  • The basic entrance has become intermediate or class 12 instead of earlier class 10.
  • Both science and arts students are eligible.
  • The focus of general nursing education is the care of sick in the hospital. Schools of nursing are generally attached to teaching hospitals.
  • Three Board examinations are conducted, one at the end of each year. On passing the candidates are registered as registered nurse and mid –wife by the respective state nursing councils.
  • The Indian Nursing Council believes that the basic course in nursing is a formal educational preparation which should be based on sound education principles. The council recognizes that the program as the foundation on which the practice of nursing is built and on which depends further professional education. It also recognizes its responsibility to the society for the continued development of student as individual nurse and citizens.
  • The purpose of general nursing programme is to prepare general nurse who will function as member of the health team beginning with competence for first level position in both hospital and community.
  • The programme is generated to the health needs of the society, the community and the individual and will assist nurses in their personal and professional development so that they may take their maximum contribution to the society as individual citizens and nurses.
  1. Demonstrate awareness of and skills required in the nursing process in the provision of health care and nursing of patients
  2. Apply relevant knowledge from the humanities biological and behavioral sciences in carrying out health care and nursing activities and functions.
  3. Show sensitivity and skill in human relationship and communication in his or her daily works
  4. Demonstrate skill in the problem solving methods in nursing.
  5. Gain knowledge of health resources in the community and the country
  6. Demonstrate skill in leadership
  7. Demonstrate awareness of necessity of belonging to professional organizations.
  8. Promotion of health, precaution against illness, restoration of health and rehabilitation.
Students admission
  1. Age for the entrance shall be 17 years to 35 years, provided they meet the minimum educational requirement ie 12 years of schooling.
  2. Minimum education all students should pass 12 classes or its equivalent, preferably with science subjects
  3. Admission of students shall be once a year.
  4. Students should be medically fit.
The selection committee should comprise tutors, nurse administrators, and educationalist/psychologist. The principal of the school shall be the chairperson.
Training programme
The course in general nursing shall be of three and half years duration as follows,--- two years practice in general nursing , one year  community health nursing and midwifery and six months internship which includes nursing administration and nursing research classes. There will be alternate course for male students in lieu of midwifery. The ANM who wishes to under take general nursing course will not be given any concessions. The maximum hours per week per students shall be 36 hours, which includes instructions and clinical field experiences.
Eligibility for admission
A candidate seeking admission should have:
  1. pass the 2 year of pre university exam or equivalent as recognized by concerned university with science subjects ie Physics, biology and chemistry.
  2. students of vocational courses
  3. obtained at least 45%of total marks in science subjects in the qualifying exam, if belongs to a scheduled caste or tribe , should have obtained not less than 40 % of total marks in science subjects.
  4. completed 17 years of age at the time of admission or will complete this age on or before 31st December of the year of admission
  5. is medically fit
Objectives of study
The programme is designed :
  1. to provide a balance of professional and general education
  2. to enable a student to become a professional nurse practitioner who has self direction and is a responsible citizen.
Through planned guided experiences students are provided with opportunities to develop
  • a broad concept of the fundamental principles of nursing care  based on sound knowledge and satisfactory levels of skill in providing care to people of all ages in community or institutional setting
  • understanding of the application of principles from the physical biological and social sciences for assessing the health status
  • ability to investigate health care problems systematically
  • ability to work collaboratively with members of allied disciplines towards attaining optimum health for all members of the society
  • understanding of fundamental principles of administration and organization of nursing service
  • understanding of human behaviour and appreciation of effective interpersonal relationship with individuals families and groups
  • ability to assume responsibility for continuing learning
  • appreciation of professional attitudes necessasary for leadership roles in nursing appreciation of social and ethical obligations to  society.
Course of study
The course of study leading to bachelor of nursing  degree comprises 4 academic years.
  • INC has recognized two modes of programmes at this level.
A. Regular B.Sc (Post Basic) course for those who have 10+2 + GNM (General Nursing & Midwifery) which has a duration of 2 years
B. Distance B.Sc (Post Basic) course for those who have 10+2 GNM + 2year Exp which has a duration of 3 years.
Philosophy and aims of the programme
  • Nursing is an integral part of the health care delivery system and shire responsibility in collaboration with other allied health professions for the attainment of optimal health for all members of the society.
  • Education as a life long  learning process. It seeks to render appropriate behavioral changes in students in order to facilitate their development, which assist them to live personally satisfied and socially useful lives.
  • The goal of post certificate degree programme leading to bachelor of science in nursing is the preparation of the trained nurse as a generalist who accept responsibility for enhancing the effectiveness of Nursing care
Eligibility for admission
The candidate seeking admission must:
  1. hold a certificate in General  nursing.
  2. be a registered nurse
  3. have minimum of two years of experience. Now it is relaxed that no experience after GNM is required for admission to this course.
  4. have passed pre university exam in the arts /science/commerce or its equivalent which is recognized the university
  5. be medically fit
  6. have a good personal and professional record
  7. have working knowledge of English
Programme of study
DURATION –the programme of the study is two academic years from the date of commencement of programme. Terms and vacations shall be as notified by the university from time to time.
OBJECTIVES—the goal of the post certificate programme leading to the bachelor of nursing is the preparation of the trained nurses as a generaralist who accept responsibility for enhancing the effectiveness of nursing care.
  • Administer high quality nursing care to all people of all ages in homes , hospitals and other community agencies in urban and rural areas
  • Apply knowledge from the physical, social and behavioral sciences in assessing the health status of  individuals and make critical judgment in assessing the health status of the individuals and make critical judgment in planning ,directing and evaluating primary, acute and long term care given by themselves and others working with them
  • Investigate health care problems systematically
  • Work collaboratively with members of other health disciplines
  • Teach and counsel individuals , families and other groups about health and illness
  • Understand human behavior and establish effective interpersonal relationships
  • Teach in clinical nursing situations
  • Identify underlying principles from the social and natural sciences and utilize them in adapting to , or initiating changes in relation to those factors
  • Acquire professional knowledge  and attitude in adapting for leadership rol
  1. The master of nursing programme is offered by institution of higher education and is built up on a recognized bachelor’s curriculum in nursing (in India-by Indian nursing council)
  2. The programme prepares nurses for leadership position in nursing and other health fields who can function as specialists nurse practitioners, consultants ,educators ,administrators and investigators in a wide variety of professional setting in meeting the national priorities and the changing needs of the society
  3. The programme prepares nursing graduates who are professionally equipped ,creative, self directed and socially motivated to effectively meet with the needs of the social change
  4. The programme encourages accountability and commitment to life long learning which fosters improvement of quality care
Graduates of master of nursing programme demonstrate:
  • increased cognitive ,affective and psychomotor competencies and the ability to utilise the potentials for effective nursing performance
  • expertise in the utilization of concepts and theories for the assessment ,planning and intervention in meeting the self care needs of an individual for the attainment of fullest potentials in the field of specialty.
  • ability to practice independently as a nurse specialist
  • ability to function effectively as nurse educators and administrators
  • ability to interpret the health related research
  • ability to plan and initiate change in the health care system
  • leadership qualities for the advancement of practice of professional nursing
  • interest in life long learning for personal and professional learning advancement
The candidate seeking admission must:
  1. have passed BSc. Nursing/post certificate BSc, or nursing degree of any university
  2. have a minimum of one year of experience after obtaining BSc, in hospitals or nursing educational institutions or community health setting
  3. for BSc, nursing post certificate, no such experience is needed after graduation the candidate shall be-a registered nurse or registered midwife for admission to medical surgical nursing, community health nursing, pediatric nursing obstetric and gynecological nursing.
  4. a registered nurse for admission to psychiatric nursing
  5.  the candidate shall be selected on merit judged on the basis of   academic performances in BSc nursing, post certificate BSc, or nursing and selection tests.
Candidate will be examined in any of the following branches—
  1. Medical Surgical Nursing -Cardio Vascular & Thoracic Nursing
  2. Medical Surgical Nursing–Critical Care Nursing
  3. Medical Surgical Nursing –Oncology Nursing
  4. Medical Surgical Nursing - Neurosciences Nursing
  5. Medical Surgical Nursing - Nephro- Urology Nursing
  6. Medical Surgical Nursing -Orthopedic Nursing
  7. Medical Surgical Nursing - Gastro Enterology Nursing
  8. Obstetric & Gynaecological Nursing
  9. Paediatric (Child Health) Nursing

  10. Psychiatric (Mental Health) Nursing

  11. Community Health Nursing
Four common papers are there included in the syllabus. They are:
    • advanced concepts of health and nursing
    • education and nursing education
    • bio-statistics, research methodology and nursing research
    • administration and nursing administration
In 1980 RAK college of nursing started an MPhil programme as  a regular and part time course. Since then several universities started taking students for the MPhil course in nursing.
Prominent among these are: MGR Medical University, Rajive Gandhi University of Health Sciences, SNDT University and Delhi University and Manipal Academy of Higher Education 
Nursing shares with the whole university a main focus of preparing its students for service and assisting them to achieve a meaningful philosophy of life. The student is encouraged to develop judgment and wisdom in handling knowledge and skills and achieve mastery of problem solving and creative skills.
Commitment to life long learning is the mark of truly professional person. In order to maintain clinical competencies and enhance professional practice  the student must stay abrupt  of the new developments and contribute to the advancement of nursing knowledge.
The objectives of M.Phil degree course in nursing are:
  • to strengthen the research foundations of nurses for encouraging research attitudes and problem solving capacities
  • to provide basic training required for research in undertaking doctoral work
Duration of the full term M.Phil course will be one year and part time course will be two year.
Course of study
At the time of admission each candidate will be required to indicate her priorities in regard to the optional courses .a candidate may offer one course from M Phil programme from the department of Anthropology, education, sociology and physiology or any suitable department. The M.Phil studies will be into two distinct parts, part1 and part 2.
Part1----it consist of 3 courses, ie research methods in nursing, major aspects of nursing, allied disciplines 
Part2----after passing the part1 examination, a student shall be required to write a dissertation. The topic and the nature of the dissertation  of each candidate will be determined by the advisory committee consist of 3 members. The dissertation may include results of original research, a fresh interpretation of existing facts, and date or a review article of critical nature of may take.

  • Erlier Indian nurses were  sent abroad for Ph. D programme.
  • PhD programmes in nursing was first started in India in 1992
  • Universities where PhD programmes are conducted in India include
    1. PhD Consortium by Indian Nursing Council, RUGHS and WHO
    2. RAK College of Nursing
    3. NIMHANS Banglore
    4. Manipal University
A candidate for admission to the course for the degree of  doctor of philosophy in the faculties of medical science must have obtained an M Phil degree of a university or have a good academic record with first or second class master’s degree of an Indian or a foreign university in the concerned subject.
The candidate shall apply to the university for the admission stating his qualifications and the subjects he proposes to investigate  enclosing a statement  on any work he may have done in the subject. every application  for the admission of the course must be analyzed by  the board of research studies. 

Board of research studies (medical sciences)- members-
  • dean and the head of the departments concerned
  • Principals/ head of institutions recognized for post graduate medical studies.
  • Two members nominated by the medical academic council
  • Three persons nominated by the medical faculty( for their special knowledge in the medical science
 Eligibility criteria
  • The candidate should be post graduate in nursing with more than 55% of aggregates of marks
  • Should have research background
  • May or may not published articles in journals
  •  The course duration is far  regular PhD course is 3 years and for part time is 4 years
  1. Neeraja KP. Text book of nursing education.2005.1st edn. Noida. Jaypee brothers medical publishers( p) Ltd.

How to Develop a Curriculum

The word curriculum generally refers to a series of courses that help learners achieve specific academic or occupational goals. A curriculum often consists of general learning objectives and a list of courses and resources. Some curricula are more like lesson plans, containing detailed information about how to teach a course, complete with discussion questions and specific activities for learners. Here are some strategies for developing a curriculum.

  1. Define the objective of the curriculum. The goal may be to help adults prepare for the General Education Development (GED) exam. In a university program, the main objective might be to provide specific skills or knowledge necessary for completion of a degree. Being specific about the curriculum objective will assist with its development.

  1. Choose an appropriate title. Depending on the learning objective, titling the curriculum may be a straightforward process or one that requires greater thought. A curriculum for GED students can be called "GED Preparation Curriculum." A program designed to assist adolescents with eating disorders might require a carefully thought-out title that is attractive to teenagers and sensitive to their needs.
  1. Create a scope and sequence. This is an outline of key skills and information that students need to achieve the main curriculum objective. For a bachelor's degree curriculum, the scope and sequence might be a list of courses that a student must complete. The outline for a software training curriculum might be a more detailed list of software operations, such as creating new records, saving information, deleting records and merging files.
  1. Determine the teaching approach. Depending on the topic and objective, information might best be conveyed in a lecture format. In other cases, providing written materials, holding discussion sessions and offering hands-on practice might be the most appropriate teaching methods. National or regional development limitations and available teaching staff and graduate fields of opportunities are considered.
    • Include discussion questions. In a curriculum that serves more as a script for teachers, detailed discussion questions provide greater direction. In a human rights curriculum, for example, students might be asked to share their understanding of what constitutes fundamental human rights.
    • Allow room for flexibility to meet learners' needs. Curriculum development must prioritize the needs of learners. Sometimes needs are indiscernible until a teacher has worked closely with a group of students across a period of time. In some cases, it is better to provide general directions and allow teachers to fill in the details and revise the curriculum as needed.
5  Build in an assessment component. Determining how to assess the knowledge of learners is dependent on the main curriculum objective. If students are preparing for a standardized exam, implementing practice tests is an effective way to simultaneously prepare students for the testing process and identify weaker skills and knowledge areas. If the learning objective is enrichment or life skills development, assessments may be more informal, consisting of class discussions, essays or one-on-one meetings.
  1. Establish a system of curriculum evaluation. When preparing learners for exams, gathering statistics of passing rates is helpful for gauging overall effectiveness. In more subjective subjects, such as the arts or personal development, observe patterns of student attendance and participation. Special attention to participant engagement and empowerment also can reveal curriculum efficacy.

Previous Nursing Exam Question Paper

Anatomy and Physiology Quiz Series

Anatomy and Physiology Quiz Series

Community Health Nursing Quiz Series

Child Health Nursing Quiz Series

Medical – Surgical Nursing Quiz Series

Maternity Nursing Quiz Series

Mental Health Nursing Quiz Series

Fundamental Health Nursing Quiz Series

Nutrition and Biochemistry Quiz Series

Psychology Quiz Series

Microbiology Quiz Series

Pharmacology Quiz Series

Nursing Education Quiz Series

Nursing Research & Statistics Quiz Series

Nursing Management Quiz Series

Guideline for Developing Conceptual Framework in Research

Guideline for Developing Conceptual Framework in Research


Quantitative methods emphasise on objective measurements and numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires or surveys. Quantitative research focuses on gathering numerical data and generalizing it across groups of people.

Importance of Theory

A theoretical framework consists of concepts, together with their definitions, and existing theory/theories that are used for your particular study. The theoretical framework must demonstrate an understanding of theories and concepts that are relevant to the topic of your  research paper and that will relate it to the broader fields of knowledge in the class you are taking.
The theoretical framework is not something that is found readily available in the literature. You must review course readings and pertinent research literature for theories and analytic models that are relevant to the research problem you are investigating. The selection of a theory should depend on its appropriateness, ease of application, and explanatory power.
The theoretical framework strengthens the study in the following ways.
  1. An explicit statement of  theoretical assumptions permits the reader to evaluate them critically.
  2. The theoretical framework connects the researcher to existing knowledge. Guided by a relevant theory, you are given a basis for your hypotheses and choice of research methods.
  3. Articulating the theoretical assumptions of a research study forces you to address questions of why and how. It permits you to move from simply describing a phenomenon observed to generalizing about various aspects of that phenomenon.
  4. Having a theory helps you to identify the limits to those generalizations. A theoretical framework specifies which key variables influence a phenomenon of interest. It alerts you to examine how those key variables might differ and under what circumstances.
By virtue of its application nature, good theory in the social sciences is of value precisely because it fulfills one primary purpose: to explain the meaning, nature, and challenges of a phenomenon, often experienced but unexplained in the world in which we live, so that we may use that knowledge and understanding to act in more informed and effective ways.

Strategies for Developing the Theoretical Framework

I.  Developing the Framework
Here are some strategies to develop of an effective theoretical framework:
  1. Examine your thesis title and research problem. The research problem anchors your entire study and forms the basis from which you construct your theoretical framework.
  2. Brainstorm on what you consider to be the key variables in your research. Answer the question, what factors contribute to the presumed effect?
  3. Review related literature to find answers to your research question.
  4. List  the constructs and variables that might be relevant to your study. Group these variables into independent and dependent categories.
  5. Review the key social science theories that are introduced to you in your course readings and choose the theory or theories that can best explain the relationships between the key variables in your study [note the Writing Tip on this page].
  6. Discuss the assumptions or propositions of this theory and point out their relevance to your research.
A theoretical framework is used to limit the scope of the relevant data by focusing on specific variables and defining the specific viewpoint (framework) that the researcher will take in analyzing and interpreting the data to be gathered, understanding concepts and variables according to the given definitions, and building knowledge by validating or challenging theoretical assumptions.

II.  Purpose
Think of theories as the conceptual basis for understanding, analyzing, and designing ways to investigate relationships within social systems. To the end, the following roles served by a theory can help guide the development of your framework.*
  • Means by which new research data can be interpreted and coded for future use,
  • Response to new problems that have no previously identified solutions strategy,
  • Means for identifying and defining research problems,
  • Means for prescribing or evaluating solutions to research problems,
  • Way of telling us that certain facts among the accumulated knowledge are important and which facts are not,
  • Means of giving old data new interpretations and new meaning,
  • Means by which to identify important new issues and prescribe the most critical research questions that need to be answered to maximize understanding of the issue,
  • Means of providing members of a professional discipline with a common language and a frame of reference for defining boundaries of their profession, and
  • Means to guide and inform research so that it can, in turn, guide research efforts and improve professional practice.
 Structure and Writing Style
The theoretical framework may be rooted in a specific theory, in which case, you are expected to test the validity of an existing theory in relation to specific events, issues, or phenomena. Many social science research papers fit into this rubric. For example, Peripheral Realism theory, which categorizes perceived differences between nation-states as those that give orders, those that obey, and those that rebel, could be used as a means for understanding conflicted relationships among countries in Africa. A test of this theory could be the following: Does Peripheral Realism theory help explain intra-state actions, such as, the growing split between southern and northern Sudan that may likely lead to the creation of two nations?
However, you may not always be asked by your professor to test a specific theory in your paper, but to develop your own framework from which your analysis of the research problem is derived. Given this, it is perhaps easiest to understand the nature and function of a theoretical framework if it is viewed as the answer to two basic questions:
  1. What is the research problem/question? [e.g., "How should the individual and the state relate during periods of conflict?"]
  2. Why is your approach a feasible solution? [I could choose to test Instrumentalist or Circumstantialists models developed among Ethnic Conflict Theorists that rely upon socio-economic-political factors to explain individual-state relations and to apply this theoretical model to periods of war between nations].
The answers to these questions come from a thorough review of the literature and your course readings [summarized and analyzed in the next section of your paper] and the gaps in the research that emerge from the review process. With this in mind, a complete theoretical framework will likely not emerge until after you have completed a thorough review of the literature.

In writing this part of your research paper, keep in mind the following:
  • Clearly describe the framework, concepts, models, or specific theories that underpin your study. This includes noting who the key theorists are in the field who have conducted research on the problem you are investigating and, when necessary, the historical context that supports the formulation of that theory. This latter element is particularly important if the theory is relatively unknown or it is borrowed from another discipline.
  • Position your theoretical framework within a broader context of related frameworks, concepts, models, or theories. There will likely be several concepts, theories, or models that can be used to help develop a framework for understanding the research problem. Therefore, note why the framework you've chosen is the appropriate one.
  • The present tense is used when writing about theory.
  • You should make your theoretical assumptions as explicit as possible. Later, your discussion of methodology should be linked back to this theoretical framework.
  • Don’t just take what the theory says as a given! Reality is never accurately represented in such a simplistic way; if you imply that it can be, you fundamentally distort a reader's ability to understand the findings that emerge. Given this, always note the limitiations of the theoretical framework you've chosen [i.e., what parts of the research problem require further investigation because the theory does not explain a certain phenomena].

Glossary of Research Terms

 Glossary of Research Terms
This glossary is intended to assist you in understanding commonly used terms and concepts when reading, interpreting, and evaluating scholarly research in the social sciences. Also included are general words and phrases defined within the context of how they apply to social sciences research.

  • Acculturation -- refers to the process of adapting to another culture, particularly in reference to blending in with the majority e.g., an immigrant adopting American customs]. However, acculturation also implies that both cultures add something to one another, but still remain distinct groups unto themselves.
  • Accuracy -- a term used in survey research to refer to the match between the target population and the sample.
  • Affective Measures -- procedures or devices used to obtain quantified descriptions of an individual's feelings, emotional states, or dispositions.
  • Aggregate -- a total created from smaller units. For instance, the population of a county is an aggregate of the populations of the cities, rural areas, etc. that comprise the county. To total data from smaller units into a large unit (verb). 
  • Anonymity -- a research condition in which no one, including the researcher, knows the identities of research participants.
  • Baseline -- a control measurement carried out before an experimental treatment.
  • Behaviorism -- school of psychological thought concerned with the observable, tangible, objective facts of behavior, rather than with subjective phenomena such as thoughts, emotions, or impulses. Contemporary behaviorism also emphasizes the study of mental states such as feelings and fantasies to the extent that they can be directly observed and measured.
  • Beliefs -- ideas, doctrines, tenets, etc. that are accepted as true on grounds which are not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.
  • Benchmarking -- systematically measuring and comparing the operations and outcomes of organizations, systems, processes, etc., against agreed upon "best-in-class" frames of reference. 
  • Bias -- a loss of balance and accuracy in the use of research methods. It can appear in research via the sampling frame, random sampling, or non-response. It can also occur at other stages in research, such as while interviewing, in the design of questions, or in the way data are analyzed and presented. Bias means that the research findings will not be representative of, or generalizable to, a wider population. 
  • Case Study -- the collection and presentation of detailed information about a particular participant or small group, frequently including data derived from the subjects themselves.  
  • Causal Hypothesis -- a statement hypothesizing that the independent variable affects the dependent variable in some way.  
  • Causal Relationship -- the relationship established that shows that an independent variable, and nothing else, causes a change in a dependent variable. It also establishes how much of a change is shown in the dependent variable. 
  • Causality -- the relation between cause and effect.
  • Central Tendency -- any way of describing or characterizing typical, average, or common values in some distribution.
  • Chi-square Analysis -- a common non-parametric statistical test which compares an expected proportion or ratio to an actual proportion or ratio. 
  • Claim -- a statement, similar to a hypothesis, which is made in response to the research question and that is affirmed with evidence based on research.
  • Classification -- ordering of related phenomena into categories, groups, or systems according to characteristics or attributes.
  • Cluster Analysis -- a method of statistical analysis where data that share a common trait are grouped together. The data is collected in a way that that allows the data collector to group data according to certain characteristics.
  • Cohort Analysis -- group by group analytic treatment of individuals having a statistical factor in common to each group. Group members share a particular characteristic [e.g., born in a given year] or a common experience [e.g., entering a college at a given time]. 
  • Confidentiality -- a research condition in which no one except the researcher(s) knows the identities of the participants in a study. It refers to the treatment of information that a participant has disclosed to the researcher in a relationship of trust and with the expectation that it will not be revealed to others in ways that violate the original agreement, unless permission is granted by the participant.  
  • Confirmability Objectivity -- the findings of the study could be confirmed by another person conducting the same study.
  • Construct -- refers to any of the following: something that exists theoretically but is not directly observable; a concept developed [constructed] for describing relations among phenomena or for other research purposes; or, a theoretical definition in which concepts are defined in terms of other concepts. For example, intelligence cannot be directly observed or measured; it is a construct. 
  • Construct Validity -- seeks an agreement between a theoretical concept and a specific measuring device, such as observation.
  • Constructivism -- the idea that reality is socially constructed. It is the view that reality cannot be understood outside of the way humans interact and that the idea that knowledge is constructed, not discovered. Constructivists believe that learning is more active and self-directed than either behaviorism or cognitive theory would postulate.
  • Content Analysis -- the systematic, objective, and quantitative description of the manifest or latent content of print or nonprint communications.  
  • Context Sensitivity -- awareness by a qualitative researcher of factors such as values and beliefs that influence cultural behaviors 
  • Control Group -- the group in an experimental design that receives either no treatment or a different treatment from the experimental group. This group can thus be compared to the experimental group. 
  • Controlled Experiment -- an experimental design with two or more randomly selected groups [an experimental group and control group] in which the researcher controls or introduces the independent variable and measures the dependent variable at least two times [pre- and post-test measurements]. 
  • Correlation -- a common statistical analysis, usually abbreviated as r, that measures the degree of relationship between pairs of interval variables in a sample. The range of correlation is from -1.00 to zero to +1.00. Also, a non-cause and effect relationship between two variables. 
  • Covariate -- a product of the correlation of two related variables times their standard deviations. Used in true experiments to measure the difference of treatment between them. 
  • Credibility -- a researcher's ability to demonstrate that the object of a study is accurately identified and described based on the way in which the study was conducted.
  • Critical Theory -- an evaluative approach to social science research, associated with Germany's neo-Marxist “Frankfurt School,”that aims to criticize as well as analyze society, opposing the political orthodoxy of modern communism. Its goal is to promote human emancipatory forces and to expose ideas and systems that impede them.
  • Data -- factual information [as measurements or statistics] used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.
  • Data Mining -- the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information, often to discover patterns and/or systematic relationships among variables.
  • Data Quality -- this is the degree to which the collected data [results of measurement or observation] meet the standards of quality to be considered valid [trustworthy] and  reliable [dependable]. 
  • Deductive -- a form of reasoning in which conclusions are formulated about particulars from general or universal premises. 
  • Dependability -- being able to account for changes in the design of the study and the changing conditions surrounding what was studied. 
  • Dependent Variable -- a variable that varies due, at least in part, to the impact of the independent variable. In other words, its value “depends” on the value of the independent variable. For example, in the variables “gender” and “academic major,” academic major is the dependent variable, meaning that your major cannot determine whether you are male or female, but your gender might indirectly lead you to favor one major over another. 
  • Deviation -- the distance between the mean and a particular data point in a given distribution. 
  • Discourse Community -- a community of scholars and researchers in a given field who respond to and communicate to each other through published articles in the community's journals and presentations at conventions. All members of the discourse community adhere to certain conventions for the presentation of their theories and research. 
  • Discrete Variable -- a variable that is measured solely in whole units, such as, gender and number of siblings. 
  • Distribution -- the range of values of a particular variable.
  • Effect Size -- the amount of change in a dependent variable that can be attributed to manipulations of the independent variable. A large effect size exists when the value of the dependent variable is strongly influenced by the independent variable. It is the mean difference on a variable between experimental and control groups divided by the standard deviation on that variable of the pooled groups or of the control group alone.
  • Emancipatory Research -- research is conducted on and with people from marginalized groups/communities. It is led by a researcher or research team who is either an indigenous or external insider; is interpreted within intellectual frameworks of that group; and is conducted largely for the purpose of empowering members of that community and improving services for them. It also engages members of the community as co-constructors or validators of knowledge. 
  • Empirical Research -- the process of developing systematized knowledge gained from observations that are formulated to support insights and generalizations about the phenomena being researched. 
  • Epistemology -- concerns knowledge construction; asks what constitutes knowledge and how knowledge is validated. 
  • Ethnography -- method to study groups and/or cultures over a period of time. The goal of this type of research is to comprehend the particular group/culture through immersion into the culture or group. Research is completed through various methods but, since the researcher is immersed within the group for an extended period of time, more detailed information is usually collected during the research.
  • Expectancy Effect -- any unconscious or conscious cues that convey to the participant in a study how the researcher wants them to respond. Expecting someone to behave in a particular way has been shown to promote the expected behavior. Expectancy effects can be minimized by using standardized interactions with subjects, automated data-gathering methods, and double blind protocols.  
  • External Validity -- the extent to which the results of a study are generalizable or transferable. 
  • Factor Analysis -- a statistical test that explores relationships among data. The test explores which variables in a data set are most related to each other. In a carefully constructed survey, for example, factor analysis can yield information on patterns of responses, not simply data on a single response. Larger tendencies may then be interpreted, indicating behavior trends rather than simply responses to specific questions.
  • Field Studies -- academic or other investigative studies undertaken in a natural setting, rather than in laboratories, classrooms, or other structured environments.
  • Focus Groups -- small, roundtable discussion groups charged with examining specific topics or problems, including possible options or solutions. Focus groups usually consist of 4-12 participants, guided by moderators to keep the discussion flowing and to collect and report the results.
  • Framework -- the structure and support that may be used as both the launching point and the on-going guidelines for investigating a research problem. 
  • Generalizability -- the extent to which research findings and conclusions conducted on a specific study to groups or situations can be applied to the population at large. 
  • Grounded Theory -- practice of developing other theories that emerge from observing a group. Theories are grounded in the group's observable experiences, but researchers add their own insight into why those experiences exist.
  • Group Behavior -- behaviors of a group as a whole, as well as the behavior of an individual as influenced by his or her membership in a group.  
  • Hypothesis -- a tentative explanation based on theory to predict a causal relationship between variables. 
  • Independent Variable -- the conditions of an experiment that are systematically manipulated by the researcher. A variable that is not impacted by the dependent variable, and that itself impacts the dependent variable. In the earlier example of "gender" and "academic major," (see Dependent Variable) gender is the independent variable.
  • Individualism -- a theory or policy having primary regard for the liberty, rights, or independent actions of individuals.  
  • Inductive -- a form of reasoning in which a generalized conclusion is formulated from particular instances. 
  • Inductive Analysis -- a form of analysis based on inductive reasoning; a researcher using inductive analysis starts with answers, but formulates questions throughout the research process.  
  • Internal Consistency -- the extent to which all questions or items assess the same characteristic, skill, or quality. 
  • Internal Validity -- the rigor with which the study was conducted [e.g., the study's design, the care taken to conduct measurements, and decisions concerning what was and was not measured]. It is also the extent to which the designers of a study have taken into account alternative explanations for any causal relationships they explore. In studies that do not explore causal relationships, only the first of these definitions should be considered when assessing internal validity.
  • Life History -- a record of an event/events in a respondent's life told [written down, but increasingly audio or video recorded] by the respondent from his/her own perspective in his/her own words. A life history is different from a "research story" in that it covers a longer time span, perhaps a complete life, or a significant period in a life.
  • Margin of Error -- the permittable or acceptable deviation from the target or a specific value. The allowance for slight error or miscalculation or changing circumstances in a study.
  • Measurement -- process of obtaining a numerical description of the extent to which persons, organizations, or things possess specified characteristics. 
  • Meta-Analysis -- an analysis combining the results of several studies that address a set of related hypotheses. 
  • Methodology -- a theory or analysis of how research does and should proceed.
  • Methods -- systematic approaches to the conduct of an operation or process. It includes steps of procedure, application of techniques, systems of reasoning or analysis, and the modes of inquiry employed by a science or discipline.
  • Mixed-Methods -- a research approach that uses two or more methods from both the quantitative and qualitative research categories are used. It is also referred to as blended methods, combined methods, or methodological triangulation.
  • Modeling -- the creation of a physical or computer analogy to some phenomenon. Modeling helps in estimating the relative magnitude of various factors involved in a phenomenon. A successful model can be shown to account for unexpected behavior that has been observed, to predict certain behaviors, which can then be tested experimentally, and to demonstrate that a given theory cannot account for certain phenomenon.
  • Models -- representations of objects, principles, processes, or ideas often used for imitation or emulation.
  • Naturalistic Observation -- observation of behaviors and events in natural settings without experimental manipulation or other interference.
  • Norm -- the norm in statistics is the average or usual performance. For example, students usually complete their high school graduation requirements when they are 18 years old. Even though some students graduate when they are younger or older, the norm is that any given student will graduate when he or she is 18 years old.  
  • Null Hypothesis -- the proposition, to be tested statistically, that the experimental intervention has "no effect," meaning that the treatment and control groups will not differ as a result of the intervention. Investigators usually hope that the data will demonstrate some effect from the intervention, thus allowing the investigator to reject the null hypothesis.
  • Ontology -- a discipline of philosophy that explores the science of what is, the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes, and relations in every area of reality.
  • Panel Study -- a longitudinal study in which a group of individuals is interviewed at intervals over a period of time. 
  • Participant -- individuals whose physiological and/or behavioral characteristics and responses are the object of study in a research project.
  • Peer-Review -- the process in which the author of a book, article, or other type of publication submits his or her work to experts in the field for critical evaluation, usually prior to publication, This is standard procedure in scholarly publishing. 
  • Phenomenology -- a qualitative research approach concerned with understanding certain group behaviors from that group's point of view.
  • Philosophy -- critical examination of the grounds for fundamental beliefs and analysis of the basic concepts, doctrines, or practices that express such beliefs.
  • Phonology -- the study of the ways in which speech sounds form systems and patterns in language.
  • Policy -- governing principles that serve as guidelines or rules for decision making and action in a given area.
  • Policy Analysis -- systematic study of the nature, rationale, cost, impact, effectiveness, implications, etc., of existing or alternative policies, using the theories and methodologies of relevant social science disciplines.
  • Population -- the target group under investigation. The population is the entire set under consideration. Samples are drawn from populations.
  • Position Papers -- statements of official or organizational viewpoints, often recommending a particular course of action.
  • Positivism -- a doctrine in the philosophy of science, positivism argues that science can only deal with observable entities known directly to experience. The positivist aims to construct general laws, or theories, which express relationships between phenomena. Observation and experiment is used to show whether the phenomena fit the theory.
  • Predictive Measurement -- use of tests, inventories, or other measures to determine or estimate future events, conditions, outcomes, or trends. 
  • Principal Investigator -- the scientist or scholar with primary responsibility for the design and conduct of a research project. 
  • Probability -- the chance that a phenomenon will occur randomly. As a statistical measure, it is shown as p [the "p" factor].
  • Questionnaire -- structured sets of questions on specified subjects that are used to gather information, attitudes, or opinions. 
  • Random Sampling -- a process used in research to draw a sample of a population strictly by chance, yielding no discernible pattern beyond chance. Random sampling can be accomplished by first numbering the population, then selecting the sample according to a table of random numbers or using a random-number computer generator. The sample is said to be random because there is no regular or discernible pattern or order. Random sample selection is used under the assumption that sufficiently large samples assigned randomly will exhibit a distribution comparable to that of the population from which the sample is drawn. The random assignment of participants increases the probability that differences observed between participant groups are the result of the experimental intervention. 
  • Reliability -- the degree to which a measure yields consistent results. If the measuring instrument [e.g., survey] is reliable, then administering it to similar groups would yield similar results. Reliability is a prerequisite for validity. An unreliable indicator cannot produce trustworthy results. 
  • Representative Sample -- sample in which the participants closely match the characteristics of the population, and thus, all segments of the population are represented in the sample. A representative sample allows results to be generalized from the sample to the population. 
  • Rigor -- degree to which research methods are scrupulously and meticulously carried out in order to recognize important influences occurring in an experimental study. 
  • Sample -- the population researched in a particular study. Usually, attempts are made to select a "sample population" that is considered representative of groups of people to whom results will be generalized or transferred. In studies that use inferential statistics to analyze results or which are designed to be generalizable, sample size is critical, generally the larger the number in the sample, the higher the likelihood of a representative distribution of the population. 
  • Sampling Error -- the degree to which the results from the sample deviate from those that would be obtained from the entire population, because of random error in the selection of respondent and the corresponding reduction in reliability. 
  • Saturation -- a situation in which data analysis begins to reveal repitition and redundancy and when new data tend to confirm existing findings rather than expand upon them.
  • Semantics -- the relationship between symbols and meaning in a linguistic system. Also, the cuing system that connects what is written in the text to what is stored in the reader's prior knowledge.
  • Social Theories -- theories about the structure, organization, and functioning of human societies.
  • Sociolinguistics -- the study of language in society and, more specifically, the study of language varieties, their functions, and their speakers.  
  • Standard Deviation -- a measure of variation that indicates the typical distance between the scores of a distribution and the mean; it is determined by taking the square root of the average of the squared deviations in a given distribution. It can be used to indicate the proportion of data within certain ranges of scale values when the distribution conforms closely to the normal curve.
  • Statistical Analysis -- application of statistical processes and theory to the compilation, presentation, discussion, and interpretation of numerical data.
  • Statistical Bias -- characteristics of an experimental or sampling design, or the mathematical treatment of data, that systematically affects the results of a study so as to produce incorrect, unjustified, or inappropriate inferences or conclusions.  
  • Statistical Significance -- the probability that the difference between the outcomes of the control and experimental group are great enough that it is unlikely due solely to chance. The probability that the null hypothesis can be rejected at a predetermined significance level [0.05 or 0.01]. 
  • Statistical Tests -- researchers use statistical tests to make quantitative decisions about whether a study's data indicate a significant effect from the intervention and allow the researcher to reject the null hypothesis. That is, statistical tests show whether the differences between the outcomes of the control and experimental groups are great enough to be statistically significant. If differences are found to be statistically significant, it means that the probability [likelihood] that these differences occurred solely due to chance is relatively low. Most researchers agree that a significance value of .05 or less [i.e., there is a 95% probability that the differences are real] sufficiently determines significance.
  • Subcultures -- ethnic, regional, economic, or social groups exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish them from the larger society to which they belong.
  • Testing -- the act of gathering and processing information about individuals' ability, skill, understanding, or knowledge under controlled conditions.  
  • Theory -- a general explanation about a specific behavior or set of events that is based on known principles and serves to organize related events in a meaningful way. A theory is not as specific as a hypothesis. 
  • Treatment -- the stimulus given to a dependent variable.
  • Trend Samples -- method of sampling different groups of people at different points in time from the same population.  
  • Triangulation -- a multi-method or pluralistic approach, using different methods in order to focus on the research topic from different viewpoints and to produce a multi-faceted set of data. Also used to check the validity of findings from any one method.
  • Unit of Analysis -- the basic observable entity or phenomenon being analyzed by a study and for which data are collected in the form of variables. 
  • Validity -- the degree to which a study accurately reflects or assesses the specific concept that the researcher is attempting to measure. A method can be reliable, consistently measuring the same thing, but not valid. 
  • Variable -- any characteristic or trait that can vary from one person to another [race, gender, academic major] or for one person over time [age, political beliefs].
  • Weighted Scores -- scores in which the components are modified by different multipliers to reflect their relative importance.
  • White Paper -- an authoritative report that often states the position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a general explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology written by a group of researchers. A white paper seeks to contain unbiased information and analysis regarding a business or policy problem that the researchers may be facing.