Glossary of Terms

Safety net hospital

A type of medical center that by legal obligation or mission provides healthcare for individuals regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Salient knowledge (on the ground):

Have diverse points of view, and the skills and information about the settings in which those skills are applied. It offers multiple routines from which to choose and contributes to the “mindfulness” that multiple solutions are possible.


A subset of a population that is used to represent the entire group as a whole.

Scale up process:

The capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to be enlarged to accommodate that growth.

Scope of Work:

A written description of the objectives, tasks, methods, deliverables and schedules for an evaluation.


A strategy performance management tool that can be used by managers to keep track of the execution of activities by the staff within their control and to monitor the consequences arising from these actions.

Secondary data:

Refers to data which is collected by someone who is someone other than the user. 


An area of the economy in which businesses share the same or a related product or service

Sector Program Evaluation:

An evaluation of a cluster of interventions in a sector within one country or across countries, all of which contribute to the achievement of a specific goal.


Able to supply one’s own or its own needs without external assistance.


An evaluation by those who are entrusted with the design and implementation of a project or program.

Semi-structured interviews:

A qualitative data collection strategy used to gather focused, qualitative textual data. This method offers a balance between the flexibility of an open-ended interview and the focus of a structured ethnographic survey.

Service blueprint:

An extension of a customer journey map and operational tool that describes the nature and the characteristics of the service interaction in enough detail to verify, implement and maintain it.

Service design:

A process in which the designer focuses on creating optimal service experiences. This requires taking a holistic view of all the related actors, their interactions, and supporting materials and infrastructures.

Service design process:

An iterative process that takes a service and makes it meet the user’s and customer’s needs for that service. It means considering users and their needs first, planning holistically, thinking through experiences in time, and working in an iterative way between steps and tools.

Service journey:

An oriented graph that describes the journey of a user by representing the different touchpoints that characterize a user’s interaction with the service.

Social design:

Design that seeks to solve humanitarian issues such as improving living conditions for its beneficiaries. It is defined as a design process that is mindful of the designer’s role and responsibility in society, and of the use of the design process to bring about social change.

Social network analysis:

The process of investigating social structures through the use of networks and graph theory. It characterizes networked structures in terms of nodes (individual actors, people, or things within the network) and the ties, edges, or links (relationships or interactions) that connect them.

Socio-ecological framework:

A theory-based framework for understanding the multifaceted and interactive effects of personal and environmental factors that determine behaviors, and for identifying behavioral and organizational leverage points and intermediaries for health promotion within organizations.

Socio-behavioral research (SBR):

A type of research that refers to human motivations, activities, psychological processes and interactions (small groups, families, communities, and whole societies). 

SNAP benefits:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues electronic benefits that can be used like cash to purchase food. SNAP helps low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled and others feed their families.

Spatial analysis:

A type of geographical analysis which seeks to explain patterns of human behavior and its spatial expression in terms of mathematics and geometry, that is, locational analysis.


A time-constrained process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with users.

Stage-based messaging:

Marketing messages that are spaced according to consumer preferences, with different content at each stage of the research process.


Entities (governments, agencies, companies, organizations, communities, individuals, etc.) that have a direct or indirect interest in a project, program, or policy and any related evaluation.

Sting operations:

Covert means in which the authorities create or facilitate the very offense of which the defendant is convicted.


A tool to communicate a story and its main events; it is the representation of use cases through a series of drawings or pictures, put together in a narrative sequence.

Strategic capacity:

The ability to devise good strategy. It focuses on the question of why and how some people and organizations happen to adapt to new circumstances. 


How we turn what we have into what we need to get what we want (compare to Robert Fritz’s definition. Making certain decisions that make subsequent decisions easier.)

Street leaders:

An individual known and trusted by the community leaders and suggested to law enforcement for cooperation.

Strengthening public health capacity:

The potential ability of a health organization to develop an empowering and democratic partnership with a community, through which the community’s capacity to identify and address its priority health concerns is enhanced.

Study design:

A specific plan or protocol for conducting the study, which allows the investigator to translate the conceptual hypothesis into an operational one.

Summative Evaluation:

Evaluation of an intervention or program in its later stages or after it has been completed to (a) assess its impact (b) identify the factors that affected its performance (c) assess the sustainability of its results, and (d) draw lessons that may inform other interventions.

Supply and demand barriers:

The disequilibrium between price and how much of a good or service is supplied to the market.


Systematic collection of information from a defined population through interviews or questionnaires.


The degree to which services or processes continue once inputs (funding, materials, training, etc.) provided by the original source(s) decreases or discontinues.


A process of sense making to rationalize research into a clear story and actions for the client or design team.

Synthesis of findings:

Involves combining ideas and allowing an evolving understanding of research data.

Systems change:

An intentional process designed to alter the status quo by shifting and realigning the form and function of a targeted system.

Systems Problem:

Complicated and multi-factorial problems. They include multiple organizations/people with diverse interests. They are interconnected, meaning that dependencies between individuals, organizations, regions, etc. exist and are important.

Systems thinking:

A holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system’s constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems.