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Jargon Description
Basic Research

Basic Research aims to improve knowledge and understanding, rather than finding a solution to a practical problem. It usually involves work in a laboratory – for example to find a gene linked to a disease or to understand how cancer cells grow. This kind of research can sometimes provide clues as to which avenues to explore to develop new treatments.


A systematic error or deviation in results or inferences from the truth. In studies of the effects of health care, the main types of bias arise from systematic differences in the groups that are compared (selection bias), the care that is provided, exposure to other factors apart from the intervention of interest (performance bias), withdrawals or exclusions of people entered into a study (attrition bias) or how outcomes are assessed (detection bias). Reviews of studies may also be affected by reporting bias, where a biased subset of all the relevant data is available.


The process of preventing those involved in a trial from knowing which comparison group a participant belongs to. The risk of bias is minimised when fewer people know who is receiving the experimental intervention or the control intervention. Participants, caregivers, outcome assessors, and analysts are all candidates for being blinded. Blinding of certain groups is not always possible, for example, surgeons in surgical trials.