This research glossary accompanies POST's research evidence content and provides definitions for terms used there.

What is validity, reliability, generalisability and applicability of research evidence? This section will focus on the way in which quality is assessed in quantitative and qualitative research.

After data are collected, research studies can use various forms of analysis to draw conclusions from the information. This section goes over the different strategies for analysing data.

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    A research study can collect quantitative data and/or qualitative data. This section goes over the different types of data researchers are able to collect, and the methods they employ to conduct their research.

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    Secondary research refers to the analysis and synthesis of primary research. Secondary research can review primary research evidence- if you collect it together and explain what it says about an area.

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    This section defines some of the study designs most commonly cited in POST’s work. Primary research refers to individual studies where researchers generate and analyse their own data. Secondary research refers to the synthesis and/or reanalysis of primary research data. We will start with primary research.

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    There's a huge range of research evidence out there. Why is it different than other types of information? How is it collected and analysed? Here we have collected resources to help you understand and use research evidence more effectively.

  • Rapid response

    Disadvantaged pupils tend to have lower educational attainment compared with their peers; this is often called the disadvantage gap. School closures, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, are likely to have widened the disadvantage gap. This is because disadvantaged pupils tend to have less access to technology, spend less time learning and have reduced support from parents/carers compared with their peers.

  • Horizon scanning

    Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report includes data or information experts would like to see the Government release in order to understand the decisions that underpin its approach to the COVID-19 outbreak. Generally, experts have highlighted five key areas of concern in the way the UK Government has released information. These include: transparency of decision making mechanisms, the quality, quantity and range of types of evidence used, the justification of the Government's decisions, the need for accessible and understandable information, and the need to publish data as soon as its available. Experts have also called for additional information to be released by the Government including: academic studies, models and Government data sets used to make decisions, all data being collected during the COVID-19 outbreak, Government guidance to departments, public bodies and public services, and Government and other public recovery strategies.

  • Horizon scanning

    Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines infrastructure concerns. Experts are concerned about public transport. They worry about the reduction of services and want clearer guidance on how to stay safe while traveling. They also note that after the outbreak people might not return to using public transport, which could have a range of negative impacts on infrastructure. Digital infrastructure is also an area of concern. Experts worry it will struggle to continue to cope with increased demand. In terms of energy, experts worry about volatility in the energy market and that this could affect how much energy the UK is able to import. Finally there are general concerns about the UK's ability to monitor and maintain infrastructure. Such services might have halted or reduced. On top of that, returning workers might be less familiar with the new processes and put their health and safety at risk.

  • Horizon scanning

    This report outlines environment concerns. Greenhouse gas emissions seem to be falling during the outbreak. While experts note an opportunity to continue this reduction through policy-making, experts are concerned that the need to reinvigorate the economy will override environmental considerations. Access to green space has been important in supporting people’s well-being. Experts note that access to green space is limited in some urban areas. They have similar concerns for the equality of access to active travel such as cycling.

  • Horizon scanning

    Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines crime, justice and policing concerns. On policing, experts are concerned about how the police are monitoring and enforcing adherence to Government restrictions. This includes the inadvertent criminalisation of certain communities and the risk for civil disorder. Experts are also concerned about the potential increase of certain types of crime during the outbreak, such as organised crime, corruption, domestic abuse and cybercrime. On the criminal justice system experts worry about a backlog of cases in courts which were put on hold due to the pandemic. They are also worried about a surge of news cases as a result of the pandemic. Finally there are concerns about the health of prisoners at this time and want to know about plans for early releases.

  • Horizon scanning

    Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines education concerns. Experts are concerned about home learning. They worry about the added burden on parents, the quality of home education, and the feasibility of assessment. Access to different online tools, and varying levels of digital literacy may widen achievement gaps. Experts also want to know how the Government is contributing to making education accessible from home, and how it is providing support to those who need it. Experts are also concerned about how decisions to close and open schools/nurseries are being made. Social distancing can be challenging and stressful in these setting which could negatively impact teaching staff. Finally there are several concerns on universities. Experts worry that universities may struggle to provide high-quality education. There may also be a reduction in university staff, and a drop in research projects. There might also be a drop in admissions which would have a knock-on effect on universities' main source of income.

  • Horizon scanning

    Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines social and community concerns. Experts are concerned about social inequalities beyond health. They note that in the long term groups may have different access to opportunities. This could be particularly true for those with protected characteristics such as women, members of the BAME community, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Experts are also concerned about how changes in Government measures may lead to negative responses from the UK public. These could range from the public becoming less motivated to follow guidance, to public resistance of contact tracing for fears of increased surveillance. Experts also note risks to social cohesion; From an increase in racist or xenophobic behaviour, to an erosion of trust in democracy and democratic institutions. However they point out that COVID-19 could also present an opportunity for positive cultural change.

  • Horizon scanning

    Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines media and communications concerns. Experts worry that Government messages are unclear. They note that there have been inconsistencies in information shared by different parts of Government. It's also unclear what the UK public is legally required to do, and how these requirements vary across the UK. Beyond that, there are concerns about the overarching Government communications strategy, the scientific evidence behind it and the number of people it has reached. Experts are also concerned about the role of mass media during the outbreak. They are concerned about inaccurate reporting and how it could damage the public's trust in mainstream media. They're also concerned about the economic impact of the outbreak on independent media outlets. A financial downturn could lead to closures, limiting access to news for a segment of the UK population. Finally experts are concerned about misinformation. They worry that the UK Government is not doing enough to call out misinformation and stop its spread.

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