James Madison University Wordmark

Our Definition of Research


The IIHHS Research Community finds inherent value in a broad and encompassing conceptualization of scholarship to include the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching (Boyer, 1990).

The IIHHS Research Community recognizes that such a definition is responsive and respectful of various activities that encompass scholarship at a diverse multidisciplinary institution such as James Madison University.

We believe that research in the health and human services fields represents a portion of this broad definition of scholarship and within this domain there are common characteristics that we utilize to distinguish “research” (basic or applied) from other scholarly activities.


Our definition of research in the health and human services fields is that it is programmatic and uses the scientific method to investigate the relationships among variables and test empirically based hypotheses.

Definition of Terms

Scientific Method involves the collection of quantitative and/or qualitative data for studies that incorporate logical design and are replicable. The measures, procedures and analyses are informed by best practices in the field and the findings are interpreted within the context of the extant research literature.

Programmatic Research is a series of planned, purposeful and theoretically linked studies designed to have an impact on the understanding of a substantial question, often involving external funding secured on the basis of a track record of institutional support and pertinent publications in peer-reviewed professional journals