Audience Dialogue

Other relevant glossaries

If you didn't find what you wanted in our own set of glossaries try one of these glossaries in Audience Dialogue's areas of interest. These glossaries are the most comprehensive and most clearly written that we could find on these subjects.

On this page are links to glossaries on...
Media | Computing | Systems | Innovation and creativity | Market research | Qualitative research | Statistics | Futures studies | Evaluation | More sources of glossaries

Glossaries on media

An interesting specialized glossary is Mick Underwood's one on the effects of mass media, with clear explanations of terms that are not described elsewhere.

Terms and definitions used in analysing TV audience data from Oztam in Australia - complete with formulas. 5-page PDF file.

Glossaries on computing

One of the largest is the Free Online Dictionary of Computing (FOLDOC).

An excellent Internet glossary is at the South African Working Webs site:

Glossaries on systems concepts

Informatics terms - about 50 of them, related to systems theory and ecology.

The Shalizi notebooks - some of the clearest explanations we've found for topics related to cognitive and systems science.

Glossaries on innovation and creativity

A comprehensive and clear glossary of techniques used for creativity and innovation, from the Open University in Britain [not working June 2006]. Another good source of terms on idea generation is Ncyclo: the encyclopaedia [not working, June 2006]. Yet another (with ambitions for comprehensiveness) is at This seems to have re-used some material from the Open University glossary..

Glossaries on market research

Another good glossary from South Africa is the Southern African Marketing Research Association's one, with hundreds of clear definitions, at [Not working, June 2006].

One of the biggest glossaries on marketing research is from the European Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Association, with brief definitions of 1000-odd terms on market research, statistics, advertising, and economics - with a few terms specific to medical marketing [not working June 2006]. However the definitions are often so short that they are more reminders than explanations - and qualitative research terms are not covered well.

Quirk's glossary of 650-odd marketing terms.

A Dictionary of Advertising Terminology from the University of Texas.

Glossaries on qualitative research

Words of Art - including quite a few words of qualitative research and critical theory.

Flowers of rhetoric: terms used to describe arguments and figures of speech - from Abcisio to Zeugma.

Encyclopaedia of Informal Education. This is either a small encyclopedia or a large glossary, depending on how you view it. Good entries on research and development methods used in education, such as action research and capacity building - a web page on each entry.

Glossaries on statistics

Statistical terms - in both alphabetical order and suggested learning order.

Glossaries on futures studies

A glossary of 100-odd terms used in futures studies, by the renowned futurist Richard Slaughter.

Dictionary of Forecasting Terms from Scott Armstrong. If you need a reminder of the difference between Box-Jenkins and ARIMA methods, this is the glossary for you. Though this 550-term glossary will be too esoteric for most people, it's nice to know it's there when you need it.

Glossaries on evaluation

The US Bureau of Justice Assistance has a comprehensive glossary of terms related to evaluation.

The Missouri Institute of Mental Health has a very clear glossary of Dressed Down Research Terms (subtitled: a glossary for non-researchers). It's a 30-page PDF file, with hundreds of short entries. Not surprisingly, it has a bias towards terms used in mental health studies, but many general evaluation terms are defined too.

A glossary on strategic management, from Hudson Associates Consulting, with clear explanations of terms that are often fuzzy [not working March 2007]

60 methodological potholes: fallacies, biases, and unwanted effects.

More sources of glossaries has a huge range of interesting glossaries, on topics that you wouldn't have thought glossable.
Xrefer - lots of definitions, from many sources, but sometimes not very helpful. See its explanation of demand character, for example. (On reflection: don't bother).

Not recommended

There are plenty of other glossaries that we could have included above, but we didn't, because their explanations are not clear enough. Our special award for the most unintelligible explanation goes to Principa Cybernetica Web's definition of autopoietic machine: a 68-word sentence of gibberish, when 6 words would do it clearly. If you need to know what an autopoietic machine is, don't look at that page. (You're going to go and look at it right now, aren't you? Sucked in! Don't say you weren't warned!)

Possible additions to our glossaries

We've lined up several hundred new terms to add to our glossaries - if and when we get time to write the definitions. (Writing a good definition is not as easy as you might expect, if you haven't tried it. It needs to be short, clear, and unambiguous - and when others don't agree on the definition, you need to find out what the consensus is.) If you'd like to see our list of possibilities, it's here. Autopoietic machine is not included, but if you're still puzzled, it's a system that can reproduce itself (like you, for example).

Using search engines as glossaries

In the meantime, you can probably find definitions of those terms elsewhere on the web. If the glossaries listed above don't help, try a Google phrase search with "is" or "means" after the term, e.g. "bandwagon effect is". Unfortunately, this often doesn't work well. Though Google is a relatively smart search engine, the pages it shows first are often irrelevant. Directories, such as the Open Directory, should be better, but they are too incomplete. Also, more and more terms are being listed in the Wikipedia. If you don't like a definition, you can sign up to change it.

A thought: wouldn't it be nice to have a search engine that could search all those glossaries at once. You'd key in the term you were interested in, it would consult all those pages and directories, and return with all the entries for that term. Maybe it could be done with RSS. We'll investigate (some day) whether such software exists - and if not, whether we can persuade somebody to write it. That shouldn't be very difficult, if it could detect how all the component glossaries were formatted.

An observation: Wouldn''t you think that when an organization had gone to the trouble of writing a glossary and putting it online, that it would just leave it there? Yet glossaries come and go like flies. This is one of the least stable pages on this website, as shown by the number of links that have disappeared. Weird.