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Jargon Description

This is a brief summary of a research study and its results. It should tell you why the research was done, how the researchers went about it and what they found.


Harm that is caused by anyone who has power over another person, which may include family members, friends, unpaid carers and health or social care workers. It can take various forms, including physical harm or neglect, and verbal, emotional or sexual abuse. Adults at risk can also be the victim of financial abuse from people they trust. Abuse may be carried out by individuals or by the organisation that employs them.

Action Research

Action research is used to bring about improvement or practical change. A group of people who know about a problem work together to develop an idea about how it might be resolved. They then go and test this idea. The people who take part in the testing provide feedback on their experiences. They may also identify further actions that need to be researched and tested. This cycle of developing solutions and testing them is repeated until the problem has been solved.

Active Partnership

An active partnership between patients and the public and researchers in the research process, rather than the use of people as ‘subjects’ of research.

Acute Care

A branch of secondary health care where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery. In medical terms, care for acute health conditions is the opposite from chronic care, or longer-term care.

Acute Services

Medical and surgical treatment provided mainly in hospitals, including A& E services, inpatient and outpatient services and in some cases, very specialist medical care


In pharmacology, an adjuvant is a drug or other substance, or a combination of substances, that is used to increase the efficacy or potency of certain drugs

Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee

The committee that advises the Health Departments on written applications from practitioners for certificates which will enable them to use specific radioactive medicinal products in diagnosis, therapy or research. An ARSAC research certificate is obtained for all trials which result in radiation exposure to subjects additional to that involved in their routine diagnostic or therapeutic management.

Adverse Event

An unfavourable outcome that occurs during or after the use of a drug or other intervention, but is not necessarily caused by it.

Adverse Reaction

Any untoward and unintended response to an investigational medicinal product related to any dose administered. All adverse events judged by either the reporting investigator or the sponsor as having a reasonable causal relationship to a medicinal product would qualify as adverse reactions

Advisory Group

Many research projects have an advisory group (or steering group). The group helps to develop, support, advise and monitor the project. The group often includes people who use services, carers, researchers and other health and social carer professionals, who can provide relevant advice.

Allocation Concealment

A technique used to prevent selection bias by concealing the allocation sequence from those assigning participants to intervention groups, until the moment of assignment. Allocation concealment prevents researchers from (unconsciously or otherwise) influencing which participants are assigned to a given intervention group.

Ambulatory Care

Health services provided on an outpatient basis to those who visit a hospital or other healthcare facility and depart after treatment on the same day.

Annual Safety Report

For studies involving the use of an Investigational Medicinal Product, this is the annual report which must be submitted to the MHRA detailing all Suspected Unexpected Serious Adverse Reactions and SARs that have occurred in subjects on that study in the past year.

Anti-Natal Care (Maternity)

The care patient receives from healthcare professionals during pregnancy. The purpose of antenatal care is to monitor the patient health, the baby’s health and support the patients to make plans which are right for them.

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry uses questions to build a vision for the future, focusing on past and potential future successes. These questions are then taken to the wider community. The focus is usually on what people enjoy about an area, their hopes for the future, and their feelings about their communities

Area Forum

Area Forums are meetings held locally, often hosted by the local council. Forums are typically comprosed of local residents, councillors, senior representatives from the local authorities, the Police, Primary Care Trusts and other key local organisations, to debate key topics and answer residents' questions face-to-face.


Refers to a group of participants allocated to a particular treatment. In a randomised controlled trial, allocation to different arms is determined by the randomisation procedure. Many controlled trials have two arms, a group of participants assigned to an experimental intervention (sometimes called the treatment arm) and a group of participants assigned to a control (the control arm). Trials may have more than two arms.


An audit of health or social care involves carrying out a systematic assessment of how well that care is being delivered. Current policy and practices are compared with an agreed standard, so that any problem areas can be identified and improved. Later, the audit can be carried out again to check that the changes made have actually made a difference.