Find definitions of key terms in this A-Z Guide to Applied Research fot Vocational Education and Trainning
- Academic education
An intellectual, non-practical, style of education. It is mostly concerned with “know-what” and “know-why”. See “knowledge”.
- Action Research
Action research is conducted to solve problems, inform policy, or improve the way that issues are addressed and problems solved. There are two broad types of action research: participatory action research and practical action research. - Source: Research Glossary | Research Connections
- Applied research
An original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective. -Source: OECD (2015), Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development, The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264239012-en
A document sharing the results of research (an original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge) or reviewing the research carried out by others.
- Basic research
Experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view. - Source: OECD (2015), Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development, The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264239012-en
A written text which provides information about a field, a topic or a theme. They can be written by a single author or made up of contributions by several authors.
- Case Study
An intensive investigation of the current and past behaviours and experiences of a single person, family, group, activity, project, organisation etc. - Source: Qualitative Research MethodsTusla - Child and Family Agency
A part of a book.
Groups of firms related to economic actors, and institutions located near one another that have reached a sufficient scale to develop specialised expertise, services, resources, suppliers and skills. - Source: Cluster policy (europa.eu)
Depending on the country, it can refer to different types of institutions. In most cases they are different from universities and more related to what we could label as “higher VET” or VET at EQF level 5 or above. - Source: TVETipedia Glossary (unesco.org)
- Continuing Vocational Education and Training
Education or training after initial education and training - or after entry into working life, aimed at helping individuals to: improve or update their knowledge and/or skills; acquire new competences for a career move or retraining; continue their personal or professional development. - Source: Cedefop: Terminology of European education and training policy. Terminology of European education and training policy | Introduction | CEDEFOP (europa.eu)
Cedefop defines CoVEs as follows: In education and training, ecosystem of local partners, such as VET providers, employers, research centres, development agencies, and employment services who cooperate to develop high quality curricula and qualifications focused on sectoral skill needs, and contribute to regional, economic and social development, innovation, and smart specialisation strategies. As we can see, Cedefop sees CoVEs as ecosystems aimed at: Developing high quality curricula and qualifications focused on sectoral skill needs, and Contributing to regional, economic and social development, innovation, and smart specialisation strategies. Based on the following typology, the ETF has a definition which includes a variety of options: - One single institution. A VET provider providing high quality VET and setting the example in the country/region. - One institution (not necessarily a VET provider) coordinating VET providers, companies and other stakeholders and promoting VET excellence in the country/region. - A cluster of organisations collaborating at the local/regional/national level. This has often a sectoral dimension. - An international approach. A platform, a big array of actors that engage with stakeholders. We will understand a CoVE as a multifunctional vocational education and training centre which, in addition to training, has an impact on the interaction with other actors and on the competitiveness of the region (considering competitiveness in the sense of beyond GDP) within its regional (and especially local) system. - Sources: TVETipedia Glossary (unesco.org) - Glossary | CEDEFOP (europa.eu)
Data are the raw unorganised facts gathered about the topic being researched, that need to be processed to let it make sense by a process of data analysis. Information about the topic being researched collected through various techniques (surveys, observation, questionnaires, etc.) and that can be made useful through a process of data analysis. - Source: Data vs Information - Difference and Comparison | Diffen
- Data analysis
Is the process of analysing data to make sense of it for a specific field.
- Data Mining
Data mining is an automatic or semi-automatic technical process that analyses large amounts of scattered information to make sense of it and turn it into knowledge. It looks for anomalies, patterns or correlations among millions of records to predict results. - Source: Data mining, definition, examples and applications - Iberdrola
A description of a collection of data from a data owner. This can be, for example, a single table of data or a collection of tables with related data, for example, all tables by year over the period 2005-2016. - Source: Begrippenkader | Data overheid
- Demonstration model
A complete model, but not build in the normal production process. Similar to a prototype.
The ecosystem concept is built on the natural ecosystem analogy, defined as a biotic community, its physical environment, and all the interactions possible in the complex of living and non-living components. The concept of (business, entrepreneurial, innovation, skills) ecosystem is focused on the co-evolution in social and economic systems, in particular networks of organisations that together constitute a system of mutual support and co-evolving contributions with specific goals (business goals; entrepreneurial activity; innovation purposes; skilling activities). The concept challenges the idea that the market principle is the only principle structuring relationships in the economy As a new form of economic coordination, the ecosystem concept allows us to make understandable how practices are structured in another way that would be expected from market exchanges. Trust, relationships, co-creation, alignment and collective learning are needed to create and sustain new value in specific contexts. - Source: BEYOND 4.0 research project (Warhurst et al 2019)
It can refer to: - A person who has studied engineering and has a certificate that proves it. - A person who is employed as an engineer (they normally have studied engineering as well).
An enterprise is considered to be any entity engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form. This includes, in particular, self-employed persons and family businesses engaged in craft or other activities, and partnerships or associations regularly engaged in an economic activity. - Source: European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003, concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
A procedure typically used to confirm the validity of a hypothesis by comparing the outcomes of one or more groups to a control group on a given measure. - Source: experiment definition | Open Education Sociology Dictionary
- Experimental development
Systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes. - Source: OECD (2015), Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development, The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264239012-en
- Feasibility study
Evaluation and analysis of the potential of a project, which aims at supporting the process of decision-making by objectively and rationally uncovering its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as identifying the resources required to carry it through and ultimately its prospects for success. - Source: EUR-Lex - E2022C0230 - EN - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)
- Field Research
Research conducted where research subjects live or where the activities of interest take place. - Source: Qualitative Research MethodsTusla - Child and Family Agency
- Focus group
A meeting or interview in which a group of individuals with relevant opinions, information, knowledge, or experience for the research project are interviewed in an open way.
- Higher Education Institution:
A higher education institution is an institution providing education at level 5 of the European Qualifications Framework or above. There are different types of higher education institutions, such as universities, Universities of Applied Sciences, Polytechnics, engineering schools, VET schools, etc.
- Higher Vocational Education and Training
As a subtype of higher education, higher vocational education and training refers to vocational education and training studies at level 5 of the European Qualifications Framework or above. According to the definitions of vocational education and training provided by Cedefop and UNESCO, higher VET is included under VET.
- Hybrid teacher
A teacher who has more functions apart from teaching, formally included in his job description. If it is not formally included, we will have an amateur. In the Netherlands a hybrid teacher can do the different functions under a different contract, for example: he is an engineer at a architects office and a teacher in a VET centre on drawing or making calculations.
The statement of the expected result of a research project.
An industry consists of a group of local kind-of-activity units engaged in the same, or similar, kinds of activity. - Source: 13719.pdf (europa.eu)
- Initial Vocational Education and Training
Cedefop defines Initial and continuing VET as “general or vocational education and training carried out in the initial education system, usually before entering working life”. This type of initial education can be followed at any EQF level and in different modalities: school-based training, apprenticeships, etc. - Source: Glossary | CEDEFOP (europa.eu)
According to the OECD: An innovation is a new or improved product or process (or combination thereof) that differs significantly from the unit’s previous products or processes and that has been made available to potential users (product) or brought into use by the unit (process). / Cedfop defines innovation, in the context of education and training: In education and training, introduction of pioneering approaches and practices in policies, systems, programmes and curricula, teaching and training methods and tools, to equip teachers, trainers and learners with the knowledge, attitudes, skills and qualifications needed to cope with technological, cultural, economic and demographic change. / We will consider that Innovation in VET can refer to: - Introducing improved products or processes (or combination thereof) that differ significantly from the VET centre’s previous products or processes and that have been made available to potential users (product) or brought into use by the VET centre (process); - The contribution of a VET centre to the local, regional or national innovation system, especially when it goes further than skilling; - The sum of both. If both happen at the same time and if this is added to a high-quality training provision, then we are talking about a centre of vocational excellence. - Sources: Oslo Manual 2018: Guidelines for Collecting, Reporting and Using Data on Innovation, 4th Edition | en | OECD Glossary | CEDEFOP (europa.eu)
- Innovation clusters
Structures or organised groups of independent parties (such as innovative start-ups, small, medium and large enterprises, as well as research and knowledge dissemination organisations, non-for-profit organisations and other related economic actors) designed to stimulate innovative activity by promoting sharing of facilities and exchange of knowledge and expertise and by contributing effectively to knowledge transfer, networking, information dissemination and collaboration among the undertakings and other organisations in the cluster. - Source: EUR-Lex - 52022XC1028(03) - EN - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)
- International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED)
The International Standard Classification of Education provides a comprehensive framework for organising education programmes and qualifications by applying uniform and internationally agreed definitions to facilitate comparisons of education systems across countries. ISCED is a widely used global reference classification for education systems that is maintained and periodically revised by the Unesco Institute of Statistics in consultation with Member States and other international and regional organizations. - Source: International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) | UNESCO UIS
Activity that has an effect in the environment or situation that is subject of the research to see of this results in a change in the object of the research (the status quo). This can be in a controlled environment (laboratorium experiment) of in real life (field experiment)
A research method in which a researcher asks an individual questions and records the responses. - Source: I Words | Open Education Sociology Dictionary
An invention is a new solution to a technical problem which satisfies the criteria of: - novelty: the solution must be novel (new); - inventiveness: it must involve a (non-obvious) inventive step; - industrial applicability: it must be capable of industrial use. -Source: Glossary: Invention - Statistics Explained (europa.eu)
We will follow Lundvall in his classification of four types of economically relevant knowledge (Lundvall 2016: 112-115): - Know-what: knowledge about facts that can be regarded as “information”. Although, in general, the relevance of knowledge-what has diminished due to the easy access (in terms of effort and money) we all have too large amounts of information through the internet, it is also true that knowledge-what can still be important for some professionals as doctors or lawyers. Examples of know-what can be the name of the first king of France, the temperature at which water boils, the number of inhabitants of a city, and many others; - Know-why: scientific knowledge about principles and causes of natural, social or human phenomena. We have organisations, such as universities, specialised in the reproduction of this type of knowledge. Although it is true that, as we have indicated when discussing the science push model of innovation, this type of knowledge is not as important as they thought in the last century, it is also true that it has been, and still is, very important in some industries (chemical industry, electrical industry, electronic industry, and others; - Know-how: skills to do things, practical knowledge. Although this type of knowledge has traditionally been related to production works and manufacturing, it is also true that all endeavours involve a large extent of know-how: management, research, and even consumption; - Know-who (where and when): to know key persons and to be connected with networks. This is one of the key elements for innovation when it is regarded as a systemic thing, understood as a social system where different elements interact around knowledge.
- Large company
See “large enterprise”.
- Large enterprise
Udertakings which do not fall within the definition of small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Literature review
A type of secondary research that consist of analysing the literature about the topic being researched. It relates to desk research.
- Living lab
Living Labs (LLs) are open innovation ecosystems in real-life environments using iterative feedback processes throughout a lifecycle approach of an innovation to create sustainable impact. They focus on co-creation, rapid prototyping & testing and scaling-up innovations & businesses, providing (different types of) joint-value to the involved stakeholders. In this context, living labs operate as intermediaries/orchestrators among citizens, research organisations, companies and government agencies/levels. Within a wide variety of living labs, they all have common characteristics, but multiple different implementations. - Source: What are Living Labs - European Network of Living LabsEuropean Network of Living Labs (enoll.org)
See “Research Method”.
See “Research methodology”.
- Mixed methods research
Research using both qualitative and quantitative data. It is supposed to give a broad understanding of a topic.
Model can refer to: - representations, normally simplified representations, of the part (or parts) of the world under study. This type of model is important in the natural and in social sciences. Scientists devote a lot of effort to designing, developing, testing, interpreting, discussing, supporting, or arguing against models (Frigg and Stephan 2020). We can find models in physics, chemistry, biology, economy, or sociology to name just a few disciplines; o a way of doing something, like business models, management models, marketing models, etc. These models go further than describing how a part of the world under study works by trying to say how something will work, and they define objectives, activities, vision, mission, revenue streams, and similar elements. It is in this second sense of the word model that we should understand the open innovation community model.
The creation of a physical or computer analogy to understand a particular phenomenon. Modelling helps in estimating the relative magnitude of various factors involved in a phenomenon. A successful model can be shown to account for unexpected behaviour that has been observed, to predict certain behaviours, which can then be tested experimentally, and to demonstrate that a given theory cannot account for a certain phenomenon. - Source: Glossary of Research Terms - Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper - Research Guides at University of Southern California (usc.edu)
- Open access
Research available for free (online).
An original model was constructed to include all the technical characteristics and performances of the new product. Patent is about protecting knowledge and the rights on it, from unforeseen use by others. - Source: Glossary:Patent - Statistics Explained (europa.eu)
- Peer review
Peer review is the process of research papers evaluated by other (anonymous) experts on the topic before publication of the document in which the research is presented.
The highest level (EQF8) a person can achieve in the European Qualification Framework or the International Standard Classification of Education.
- Practor (VET professor, knowledge broker)
A practor is a figurehead, inspirer and/or motor of a practorate. A practor is responsible for the development, application and dissemination of knowledge, both within de VET -institution as in the ecosysteem of an VET-instution. Practice-oriented research and the professionalization of teachers are also important tasks. Practorates form the place (the innovative in-between space) where practice-oriented research takes place, where education and the business community share, connect and develop knowledge and experience aimed at making the curriculum both inside and outside the VET-institution more state of the art and therefore more sustainable. - Source: https://www.practoraten.nl/organisatie/
- Primary research
Research that generates its own data.
A preliminary, test version, of a product that includes the technical features of the new product.
- Public-private partnership (PPP)
Arrangements whereby the private sector provides infrastructure assets and services that traditionally have been provided by the government, such as hospitals, schools, prisons, roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, and water and sanitation plants. - Source: Inventory-1-Private-Sector-Engagement-Terminology-and-Typology.pdf (oecd.org)
- Qualitative data
Data describing non-quantified properties of the research objects.
- Qualitative research
A field of social research that is carried out in naturalistic settings and generates data largely through observations and interviews. Compared to quantitative research, which is principally concerned with making inferences from randomly selected samples to a larger population, qualitative research is primarily focused on describing small samples in non-statistical ways. - Source: Qualitative Research MethodsTusla - Child and Family Agency
- Quantitative data
Data describing quantified properties of the research objects.
- Quantitative research
Research that generates numerical data or data that can be converted into numbers.
A set of questions that are designed to extract certain types of answers from people who have important information, knowledge, experience, or opinions for the research. Also: survey
A scientific report is a document that describes the process, progress, and or results of technical or scientific research or the state of a technical or scientific research problem. It might also include recommendations and the conclusion of the research. Write Scientific Reports - The Library: University of Waikato
- Research and knowledge dissemination organisation’ or ‘research organisation’
An entity (such as universities or research institutes, technology transfer agencies, innovation intermediaries, research-oriented physical or virtual collaborative entities), irrespective of its legal status (organised under public or private law) or way of financing, whose primary goal is to independently conduct fundamental research, industrial research or experimental development or to widely disseminate the results of such activities by way of teaching, publication or knowledge transfer. Where such an entity also pursues economic activities, the financing, the costs and the revenues of those economic activities must be accounted for separately. - Source: EUR-Lex - 02014R0651-20210801 - EN - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)
- Research centre:
See “Research organisation”.
- Research ethics
The ethical principles to which researchers should stick when conducting research.
- Research Method
The approaches, tools, and techniques that researchers use to study a problem. These methods include laboratory experiments, field experiments, surveys, case studies, focus groups, ethnographic research, action research, and so forth.
- Research methodology
An analysis, reflection, and argumentation of why certain research methods are chosen for conducting research.
Professional engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge. They conduct research and improve or develop concepts, theories, models, techniques instrumentation, software or operational methods.
- Scientific paper
- Secondary research
The analysis and synthesis of primary research.
Segment of the economy in which enterprises have the same activity (economic function, products or services, technology). - Source: What Is an Economic Sector and How Do the 4 Main Types Work? (investopedia.com)
- Semi-Structured Interview
A research method in which the researcher uses a pre-defined list of questions but in which the respondent is allowed to digress.
- SMEs, Small, Medium and MicroSMEs
The European Commission Recommendation of 6 May, 2003, concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises: The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million. Next, they distinguish three subtypes of SMEs, within the category of SME (European Commission 2003): - a small enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 10 million; - a microenterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million. - The definition above is not the only existing definition. Different organisations and countries can understand what an SME is in different terms. We consider it worth sticking to the definition of the European Commission. - Source: Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the defin... - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)
A startup is an independent, organisation, which is younger than five years and is aimed at creating, improving and expanding a scalable, innovative, technology-enabled product with high and rapid growth. - Source: VISION – European Startup Network
- Structured Interview
A research method in which the researcher uses a pre-defined list of questions but in which the respondent is allowed to deviate.
- Structured Observation
An observation carried out following a pre-defined schedule and paying attention to certain variables.
A person who enrols as a learner in a course.
- Survey Research
A research method in which data is collected through questionnaires or interviews.
- Systematic observation
See “structured observation”.
A person whose function is to impart knowledge, know-how or skills to learners in an education or training institution. Comment A teacher may fulfil various tasks such as organising and carrying out training programmes/courses and transmitting knowledge, whether generic or specific, theoretical or practical; a teacher in a vocationally oriented institution may be referred to as a ‘trainer’. - Source: Glossary | CEDEFOP (europa.eu)
A skilled employee with know-how style knowledge.
- Technological centre
See “research organisation”.
- Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are a type of measurement system used to assess the maturity level of a particular technology. There are nine technology readiness levels. TRL 1 is the lowest and TRL 9 is the highest. When a technology is at TRL 1, scientific research is beginning and those results are being translated into future research and development. TRL 2 occurs once the basic principles have been studied and practical applications can be applied to those initial findings. TRL 2 technology is very speculative, as there is little to no experimental proof of concept for the technology. When active research and design begin, a technology is elevated to TRL 3. Generally both analytical and laboratory studies are required at this level to see if a technology is viable and ready to proceed further through the development process. Often during TRL 3, a proof-of-concept model is constructed. Once the proof-of-concept technology is ready, the technology advances to TRL 4. During TRL 4, multiple component pieces are tested with one another. TRL 5 is a continuation of TRL 4, however, a technology that is at 5 is identified as a breadboard technology and must undergo more rigorous testing than technology that is only at TRL 4. Simulations should be run in environments that are as close to realistic as possible. Once the testing of TRL 5 is complete, a technology may advance to TRL 6. A TRL 6 technology has a fully functional prototype or representational model. TRL 7 technology requires that the working model or prototype be demonstrated in a space environment. TRL 8 technology has been tested and "flight qualified" and it's ready for implementation into an already existing technology or technology system. Once a technology has been "flight proven" during a successful mission, it can be called TRL 9. - Source: NASA Technology Readiness Level | NASA
A person receiving training in a vocational area or undertaking a traineeship.
A person providing training in a vocational area.
Academic style, tertiary education institution. EQF levels 6 to 8.
- University of applied sciences:
A university of applied sciences does not only focus on theoretical teaching but on the application of academic knowledge. It focuses on the application of science by including practical elements into the students’ education. These practical elements include - for example - mandatory internships and professors who all have experience working outside academia. Students find a combination of scientific academic training and practical elements. - Source: University of Applied Sciences in Germany ?️ 2020/2021 guide (mygermanuniversity.com)
- Unstructured interviews
A data collection method where there are no set questions.
- Vocational education and training
In Europe “vocational education and training” refers to: - Different levels of education according to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). We can find VET studies from very low EQF levels to EQF level 8 and there is no homogeneity across Member States; - Different duration of the study paths. There is no such thing as a definite duration of a VET degree; - Different training modalities. VET could be studied in a variety of ways: different models of apprenticeships including dual education, blended learning, online, part-time, night offer, etc; - VET systems are differently managed in Europe: public systems, public-private partnerships, private management, national government management, regional government, etc. And the same goes for VET centres and studies: there are very different management and leadership models with profound implications; - Different functions of VET providers, ranging from countries where their only mission is to provide initial training, to countries where VET centres provide a wide array of services apart from initial training; - Different types of institutions provide it; - Varying levels of popularity of VET studies. How VET is perceived in a specific society; - Different names. / UNESCO defines TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) as: All forms and levels of the education process involving, in addition to general knowledge, the study of technologies and related sciences, the acquisition of practical skills, know-how, attitudes and understanding relating to occupations in the various sectors of economic and social life. UNESCO-UNEVOC. TVETipedia Glossary. According to Cedefop, VET is Education and training which aims to equip people with knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences required in specific occupations or more broadly in the labour market. Cedefop. Terminology of European Education and Training Policy. Glossary. There are some features in both definitions that deserve some attention (Hazelkorn and Edwards, 2019: 9-10): - They identify VET with a specific educational approach rather than with a specific type of institution; - They do not pay any attention to the qualification levels. They are dealing more with the approach, than with the level; - They do not specifically refer to any age cohort as the recipient of VET; - They encompass initial VET and continuing VET. / The Council Recommendation on vocational education and training for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience follows Cedefop’s definition but adds a specific mention to the tertiary level: Vocational education and training is to be understood as the education and training which aims to equip young people and adults with knowledge, skills and competences required in particular occupations or more broadly on the labour market. It may be provided in formal and in non-formal settings, at all levels of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), including tertiary level, if applicable. / This definition implies that for the LCAMP Alliance VET: - Involves young students and adults. In other words, all age groups, and all European citizens, are potential VET students; - Aims to equip any person with knowledge, skills and competences related to the labour market. At the same time, VET can have other functions, such as entrepreneurship or research; - Studies do not need to be connected to a particular occupation. They can be, but they can have a broader focus, although always in connection with the world of work; - Take place in formal and informal settings; - Covers VET at the tertiary level. We consider Higher VET a part of VET, not a part of Academic Education. / From an international perspective, this definition is convenient because it allows us to be inclusive by acknowledging that different contexts exist.
We have developed this A to Z guide glossary to help us define commonly used terms in the field of applied research for vocational education and training. This Glossary is a work in progress and updated and expanded on an ongoing basis.
Note: The glossary provides explanations for different words we use in the project. These are not legal definitions.