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University of Newcastle Library Guides

EBP for undergrads: Terminology used in studies

Guide to evidence-based practice resources for students

Terminology used in studies

The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine [CEBM] maintains a number of EB resources on their site, including a useful glossary for EBP terminology used in studies.

The National Cancer Institute (U.S.) [NCI] also hosts a comprehensive dictionary of terms useful to EBP.

The definitions below have been taken from these sites.



In a scientific research study or clinical trial, a flaw in the study design or the method of collecting or interpreting information. Biases can lead to incorrect conclusions about what the study or clinical trial showed. [NCI]

More information on types of bias in studies can be found in Pannucci & Wilkins 2010.

Blinding A technique used in research to eliminate bias by hiding the intervention from the patient, clinician, and/or other researchers who are interpreting results. [CEBM]
Confounding variable A variable which is not the one you are interested in but which may affect the results of trial. [CEBM]
Randomisation When referring to an experiment or clinical trial, the process by which animal or human subjects are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments or other interventions. Randomi[s]ation gives each participant an equal chance of being assigned to any of the groups. [NCI]
Validity The extent to which a variable or intervention measures what it is supposed to measure or accomplishes what it is supposed to accomplish. The internal validity of a study refers to the integrity of the experimental design. The external validity of a study refers to the appropriateness by which its results can be applied to non-study patients or populations. [CEBM]

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