Glossary Blinding (masking): in an experimental study, refers to whether patients, clinicians providing an intervention, people assessing outcomes, and/or data analysts were aware or unaware of the group to which patients were assigned. In the design section of Evidence-Based Nursing abstracts of treatment studies, the study is identified as blinded, with specification of who was blinded; unblinded, if all parties were aware of patients' group assignments; or blinded (unclear) if the authors
... not report or provide us with an indication of who was aware or unaware of patients' group assignments. Concealment of randomisation: concealment of randomisation is specified in the design section of Evidence-Based Nursing abstracts of treatment studies as follows: allocation concealed (deemed to have taken adequate measures to conceal allocation to study group assignments from those responsible for assessing patients for entry in the trial [ie, central randomisation; sequentially numbered, opaque, sealed envelopes; sealed envelopes from a closed bag; numbered or coded bottles or containers; drugs prepared by the pharmacy; or other descriptions that contain elements convincing of concealment]); allocation not concealed (deemed to have not taken adequate measures to conceal allocation to study group assignments from those responsible for assessing patients for entry in the trial [ie, no concealment procedure was undertaken, sealed envelopes that were not opaque or were not sequentially numbered, or other descriptions that contained elements not convincing of concealment]); unclear allocation concealment (the authors did not report or provide a description of an allocation concealment approach that allowed for the classification as concealed or not concealed). Confidence interval (CI): quantifies the uncertainty in measurement; usually reported as 95% CI, which is the range of values within which we can be 95% sure that the true value for the whole population lies. Data saturation (saturation, redundancy) 1 : process of collecting data in a qualitative research study to the point where no new themes are generated. Diagnostic (gold or criterion) standard: the current best available measure of an outcome; used for assessing properties of a new diagnostic or screening test. The results from a new test are compared with the results from the diagnostic standard to assess the usefulness of the new test (ie, its sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios). Ethnography (ethnographic study) 1 : an approach to inquiry that focuses on the culture or subculture of a group of people, with an effort to understand the world view of those under study. Grounded theory 1 : an approach to collecting and analysing qualitative data with the aim of developing theories grounded in real world observations. Heterogeneity 2 : the degree to which the effect estimates of individual studies in a meta-analysis differ significantly. Inductive analysis: often used in qualitative research, this type of analysis begins with specific observations from which generalisations are developed; opposite to deductive analysis, often used in quantitative research, which begins with the abstract (eg, general laws or hypotheses) from which logical deductions about specific things are made. Intention to treat analysis (ITT): all patients are analysed in the groups to which they were randomised, even if they failed to complete the intervention or received the wrong intervention.