beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

To find a doctor, call 800-667-5356 or click below:

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

left banner
right banner
Smaller Larger

Research Glossary

Posted 6/29/2013

Posted in

  A few days ago, I shared a breast cancer glossary from the UK that was an excellent resource, I thought, for all of us. It was gratifying that several of you thought so, too, and even wrote to tell me so. In the same spirit, this is a glossary of research terms from ASCO's Cancer Net.

  Sometimes I write about studies and share a link to read the whole article, so you may have come across these terms that way. Realize that many of you have some (or a lot) of scientific expertise and knowledge and don't need any help at all interpreting the language, but some of us do seem some education. If you follow the link and go to CancerNet, spend a little time and read some of the associated materials about reading and understanding research.

  Here is the start of the glossary, as an example, and the link:

Research Statistics

Absolute risk: The difference between two risks, usually smaller than a relative risk
Average/mean: The middle value of a set of numbers, calculated by adding all of the values and dividing by the number of values in
the set
Clinical significance: An assessment that a research finding will have practical effects on patient care
Cohort: A group of individuals who share a common experience, exposure, or trait and who are under observation in a research study
Confidence interval: A measure of the number of times out of 100 (similar to a percentage) that test results will be within a specified
range. It is a measurement used to indicate the reliability of an estimate.


Add your comment