Glossary of Terms

C3 Policing:

A model that is currently being implemented by the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Special Projects in order to help address gang crime in the North End of Springfield. It aims to build rapport with the community and underscore unity of effort among the community, local police, and state police.

Card sorting:

A method used to understand how a user would organize and structure content that matters to them.

Case control:

A type of study design that is used to identify factors that may contribute to a medical condition by comparing a group of patients who already have the condition with those who do not and looking back to see if the two groups differ in terms of characteristics or behaviors.

Case Study:

A systematic description and analysis of a single project, program, or activity.


A person or organization that causes a change.

Causal pathways:

The processes or mechanisms through which an outcome is brought into being.


The relationship between one event (the cause) and another event (the effect) which is the direct consequence (result) of the first.


Key organizational actors who define the direction and decide what themes an innovation team should implement.


A test that measures how expectations compare to actual observed data (or model results).

Chronic homelessness:

People who have experienced homelessness for at least a year — or repeatedly — while struggling with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability.

Civic service design:

The practice of creating, better understanding, and improving upon programs at any stage by applying the tools and methods of service design to government-run or funded programs.

Client interviews:

Related term: participant interview.

Client satisfaction:

The client’s perception that the service provider’s performance meets or exceeds his or her expectations.

Closed group beta development:

Limited tests specifically designed to gather feedback from a carefully selected group of users that match the product’s target market. 


A group of people who share a defining characteristic, typically those who experienced a common event in a selected period.

Community (HUD definition):

Persons of low or moderate income, particularly residents of predominantly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Community based design research:

A partnership approach to research that equitably involves community members, organizational representatives, researchers, and others in all aspects of the research process, with all partners in the process contributing expertise and sharing in the decision-making and ownership.

Community innovation teams:

A team of innovators and advocates who work to articulate problems in their communities and to kickstart local innovations.

Community settings:

A home or a community organization located in the neighborhood in which a participant in the program resides.

Comprehensive strategic communications operations:

The alignment of multiple lines of operation (e.g., policy implementation, public affairs, force movement, information operations etc) that together generate effects to support national objectives.

Concept workshop:

A fast and effective way to understand the problem, explore the parameters that exist, and generate ideas to take into development.


A judgment based on a synthesis of empirical findings and factual statements.

Confounding variable (also confounding factor or confounder):

An extraneous variable in a statistical model that correlates (positively or negatively) with both the dependent and independent variable and can therefore lead to faulty conclusions.


A practice in the delivery of public services in which citizens are involved in the creation of public policies and services.

Complex patients:

Individuals who have either multiple complex medical conditions, multiple detrimental social determinants of health, or a combination of both that contribute to preventable service utilization and poorer overall healthcare management that ultimately negatively impacts the individual’s overall health status.


To give new assurance of the validity of; remove doubt about by authoritative act or indisputable fact.

Consolidated framework for implementation research (LFIR):

A framework to tailor implementation strategies to mitigate barriers and leverage facilitators. It assesses whether the constructs will influence (positively or negatively) the success of the implementation.

Construct Validity:

The degree of agreement between a theoretical concept and the specific measures used as indicators of the phenomenon; that is the extent to which some measure adequately reflects the theoretical construct to which it is tied.

Consultation observation:

A tool designed to be used by trainers as an evidence-collecting instrument to support the more holistic judgements made about primary care placements.

Content Validity:

The degree to which a measure or set of measures adequately represents all facets of the phenomena it is meant to describe.

Contextual observation:

An interview method to obtain information about the context of use, where users are first asked a set of standard questions and then observed and questioned while they work in their own environments

Control Group:

A randomly selected group that does not receive the services, products or activities of the program being evaluated.

Comparison Group:

A non-randomly selected group that does not receive the services, products or activities of the program being evaluated.


A dialectical process of enquiry by drawing on the complementary perspectives, interests, skills, and knowledge bases of academics and practitioners. 

Counter Criminal Continuum:

A modification of counter-insurgency (COIN) methods used by U.S. Army Special Forces and adapted for use by civilian law enforcement agencies to build and maintain legitimacy within the community, emphasizing intelligence-driven operations, and focusing on unity of effort among all service providers. 


A hypothetical statement of what would have happened (or not) had the program not been implemented.

Counter gang strategy:

A specific strategy with the linking and leveraging of strong agency and community relationships to identify, target, and remove the criminals who cause them harm.

Counterinsurgency (COIN):

The blend of comprehensive civilian and military efforts designed to simultaneously contain insurgency and address its root causes.

Cost Benefit Analysis:

An evaluation of the relationship between program costs and outcomes. Can be used to compare different interventions with the same outcomes to determine efficiency.

Cluster sampling:

A sampling method conducted in two or more stages in which each unit is selected as part of some natural group rather than individually (such as all persons living in a state, city block, or a family).

Composite organization:

A blend of the functional, matrix, and projectized types of organizations. 

CQI pathway:

To identify issues, processes, and methods of quality management.

Creative activities:

Activities that a user can interact with.

Cross-sectional study:

A type of observational study that analyzes data from a population, or a representative subset, at a specific point in time.

Customer experience:

Related term: user experience.