Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

a form of deductive reasoning where a conclusion is necessarily drawn from two premises or propositions. For example All men are mortal Socrates is a man therefore Socrates is mortal.

symbolic interactionism

a complex theory in social psychology that stresses the symbolic nature of human interaction and the role of language in the formation of mind self and society. Social reality and human behaviour  are understood as symbolic communicated and subjective. It was developed by G.H.Mead (1863-1931).


dealing with (study or analysis of) a phenomenon as it exists at one point in time (seediachronic).


a term used for smaller groups organised within a tutorial or seminar group.


a term used rather loosely but properly referring to the regular occurrence of a group of symptoms such that a condition can be identified. The term is also sometimes used to describe characteristic behaviour or attitudes such as 'Monday morning' syndrome to refer to typical feelings associated with the start of the working week.


combined or co-operative action such that the joint result is more than the sum of what individuals could have achieved separately.


the process of combining elements in a unified whole. It is also a term from the philosophy of Georg Hegel (1770-1831) in his theory of the dialectical development of human understanding whereby 'thesis' and its opposite 'antithesis' become resolved in the higher rational state of 'synthesis'.


see analytic/synthetic.

synthetic phonics

a method of teaching reading through blending sounds from individual letters building these together to form complete words (see analytic phonics).

systematic review

a form of research which attempts to analyse existing research evidence within a given field with a view to establishing some form of generalisation. It is common in medicine and the sciences but more controversial in education because of the difficulty of finding research which has been conducted in matching or similar contexts.


relating to a whole system as opposed to one sector or aspect. Systemic racism for example would refer to problems in the education system as a whole rather than simply isolated or distinct instances.

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