Glossary of Terms

Random Assignment:

The process of assigning research subjects in such a way that each individual is assigned to either the treatment group or the control group entirely by chance. Thus, each research subject has a fair and equal chance of receiving either the intervention being studied (by being placed in the treatment group), or not (by being placed in the “control” group). Related term: randomization.

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT):

Research studies that use an experimental design. Related terms: experimental design.

Rapid Appraisal Methods:

Data collection methods, which fall within the continuum of formal and informal methods of data collection, that can be used to provide decision-related information in development settings relatively quickly. These include key informant interviews, focus group discussions, group interviews, structured observation and informal surveys.

Rapid feedback loop:

A system structure that causes output from one node to eventually influence input to that same node.

Rapid Prototyping:

A process that helps turn ideas into realistic proofs of concepts, advance these concepts into high-fidelity prototypes that look and work like final products, and guide products through a series of validation stages toward mass production.

Rapid cycle testing:

A strategy which identifies, implements and measures changes made to improve a process over a brief period of time.


Seek to establish communication with someone, with the aim of offering or obtaining assistance or cooperation.

Reactive problem:

Aims to find and eliminate the root cause of known incidents

RE-AIM Framework (reach, efficiency, adoption, implementation, maintenance):

The goal is to encourage program planners, evaluators, readers of journal articles, funders, and policy-makers to pay more attention to essential program elements including external validity that can improve the sustainable adoption and implementation of effective, generalizable, evidence-based interventions.

Real time data:

Refers to data that is presented as it is acquired.


Proposals based on findings and conclusions that are aimed at enhancing the effectiveness, quality, or efficiency of an intervention.

Re-contextualize (reframe):

To turn the problem around and reconsider it from different angles.


The action of finding new people to join an organization or support a cause.


To stimulate designers to improve their own process and learn from their experiences. It can be a step towards the improvement of the process, its results, and the proficiency of the individuals as well as the team performing the process; current as well as future design processes.

Reflective practice:

Devise differences in strategic capacity and develop a whole stream of effective tactics.

Regression analysis:

A statistical approach to forecasting change in a dependent variable on the basis of change in one or more independent variables.

Relational Design:

Preoccupied with design’s effects, extending beyond the form of the design object and its attendant meanings and cultural symbolism. It is concerned with performance or use, not as the natural result of some intended functionality but rather in the realm of behavior and uncontrollable consequences.


Consistency or dependability of data with reference to the quality of the instruments, procedures and used. Data are reliable when the repeated use of the same instrument generates the same results.


A term referring to the repetition of a research study, generally with different situations and different subjects, to determine if the basic findings of the original study can be applied to other participants and circumstances.


The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.


The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.


The output, outcome or impact intended (or unintended).

Results Framework:

A management tool, that presents the logic of a project or program in a diagrammatic form. It links higher-level objectives to its intermediate and lower-level objectives. The diagram (and related description) may also indicate main activities, indicators, and strategies used to achieve the objectives. The results framework is used by managers to ensure that its overall program is logically sound and considers all the inputs, activities and processes needed to achieve the higher-level results.

Revenue diversification:

A diversified revenue stream that results in greater stability in the organization and mitigates the risk of over-over-dependency on a single funding source.


Enables community leaders and civilians to spend a shift in the passenger seat of an emergency vehicle, observing the workday of a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic.

Risk-assessment tool:

A process which identifies how objectives may be affected and analyzes the risk in term of consequences and their probabilities before deciding on whether further treatment is required.

Risk Analysis:

An analysis or an assessment of factors (called assumptions in the log frame) that affect, or are likely to affect, the successful achievement of an intervention’s objectives. It is a systematic process to provide information regarding undesirable consequences based on quantification of the probabilities and/or expert judgment.


Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. 


An informal term for the introduction of a new product or service to the market. 

Run chart (from improvement science):

Graphs of data over time and are one of the most important tools for assessing the effectiveness of change.