Glossary of Terms

“Ecological Model”:

A framework to account for the reciprocal interaction of behavior and environment. This model describes five levels of influence on behavior: individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy.


Intended or unintended change due directly or indirectly to an intervention. Related terms: results, outcome.


The extent to which an intervention has attains its major relevant objectives. Related term: efficacy.

Efficacy trial:

Explanatory trials that determine whether an intervention produces the expected result under ideal circumstances.


A measure of how economically resources/inputs (funds, expertise, time etc.) are used to achieve results.


The ability to see the world through other people’s eyes, to see what they see, feel what they feel, and experience things as they do.

Empathy map:

A collaborative visualization used to articulate learnings about a particular type of user. It externalizes knowledge about users in order to create a shared understanding of user needs, and aid in decision making.

End state:

The final product or outcome of a situation.

End users:

The people that receive and ultimately use the product, service, or technology.


The discovery and exchange of shared values and interests.

Entry point:

A point of physical or attentional entry into a design.


Revolves around systemic outcomes and exist when outcomes are no longer predicted by any aspect of an individual’s identity.

Equity by Design Framework:

The design thinking process re-imagined to promote equity and create the conditions and relationships for inclusive innovation.

Ethnographic research:

A qualitative method where researchers observe and/or interact with users in their real-life environment through the use of methods such as participant observation and face-to-face interviewing. Related terms: fieldwork.


Extent to which an intervention or project can be evaluated in a reliable and credible fashion.

Evaluability Assessment:

A study conducted to determine a) whether the program is at a stage at which progress towards objectives is likely to be observable; b) whether and how an evaluation would be useful to program managers and/or policy makers; and, c) the feasibility of conducting an evaluation.

Elevate community voice and ownership:

Allowing everyone to have a voice in the creating the vision, participate with a sense of empathy for one another and feel a sense of ownership in the path forward.


A systematic and objective assessment of an on-going or completed project, program or policy. Evaluations are undertaken to (a) improve the performance of existing interventions or policies, (b) asses their effects and impacts, and (c) inform decisions about future programming. Evaluations are formal analytical endeavors involving systematic collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative information.

Evaluation Design:

The methodology selected for collecting and analyzing data in order to reach defendable conclusions about program or project efficiency and effectiveness.

Evaluation framework:

A tool used to organize and link evaluation questions, outcomes or outputs, indicators, data sources, and data collection methods

Evidence-based approach:

A process in which the practitioner combines well-researched interventions with clinical experience and ethics, and client preferences and culture to guide and inform the delivery of treatments and services.

Evidence-based design:

The process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. 

Evidence-informed policy:

A strategy that focuses on an ambitious, long-term goal that governments systematically use evidence to improve social and economic policies over time.

Exit interviews:

Refers to structured group and individual sessions conducted with study participants at the end of each case study. It confirms research findings and provides immediate dissemination of findings about the organization’s performance and capacity for improvement. 

Experiential prototyping:

Representation, in any medium, that is designed to understand, explore or communicate what it might be like to engage with the product, space or system we are designing.


A procedure for testing different assumptions (hypotheses) by trial and error under conditions constructed and controlled by the researcher.

Experimental Design:

A methodology in which research subjects are randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group, data is collected both before and after the intervention, and results for the treatment group are benchmarked against a counterfactual established by results from the control group.

External Evaluation:

The evaluation of an intervention or program conducted by entities and/or individuals which is not directly related to the implementing organization.

External Validity:

The degree to which findings, conclusions, and recommendations produced by an evaluation are applicable to other settings and contexts.