Abbreviations and Terms

Abbreviations and Terms

Generally, an abbreviation refers to a truncated word. An acronym is parts of the phrase it stands for and is pronounced as a word, for example ELISA and AIDS, while an initialism is an acronym that is pronounced as individual letters, for example DNA. Here we use abbreviation to refer to all of these.

CD BioSciences has summarized a list of abbreviations and terms commonly used in statistics and research for you.

Abbreviations and terms in statistics

  • Data sampling & sorting
ni (absolute) frequency (frequency count)
fi relative frequency
Ni cumulative (absolute) frequency
Fi cumulative relative frequency
n number of observations or sample size
max maximum value in the data set
min minimum value in the data set
h width of class (interval)
m number of classes (intervals)
  • Descriptive statistics
sample mean (read as „x bar“)
x-tilde median
x-caret mode
μ population mean (read as „mju“)
IQR interquartile range
R range
Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 first, second, third and fourth quartile
σ2 population variance (read as „sigma squared“)
S12 or s2 sample variance
σ population standard deviation (read as „sigma“)
s1 or s sample standard deviation
CV coefficient of variation
r1 coefficient of skewness (read as „gamma“)
r2 coefficient of skewness (read as „gamma“)
xi coefficient of skewness (read as „gamma“)
  • Theory of probability
P (A) probability of an event A
X random variable
CDF cumulative distribution function
pdf probability density function
  • Point and interval estimate
CL confidence level
CI confidence interval
est estimate
Δ sampling error (read as „delta“)
1-α confidence level
α level of significance, significance level (read as „alfa“)
Χ2 Chi-square (read as „kai“)
  • Hypothesis testing
H0 null hypothesis
Ha or H1 alternate hypothesis
CV critical value
TS test statistic
μ0 a specific numerical value (constant) considered in the null and alternative hypotheses
μd difference in the values of the population means
p-value probablility value
σ02 a specific numerical value (constant) considered in the null and alternative hypotheses
s112 sample variance of the first sample (group)
s122 sample variance of the second sample (group)
σ12 sample variance of the second sample (group)
σ22 population variance of the second sample (group)
F distribution Fisher distribution
  • Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
SS sum of squares
df degrees of freedom
MS mean squares
F test statistic
F crit critical value
  • Chi-square test for independence
E or (aibj )0 expected (theoretical) frequencies
O or (aibj ) observed (empirical) frequencies
ΣΣ sum of sum
ai sum of values (observed frequencies) in each row in the contingency table
bj sum of values (observed frequencies) in each column in the contingency table
  • Regression and correlation analysis
y dependent variable
x independent variable
LBF line of best fit (least squares line)
r correlation coefficient (multiple r)
r2 coefficient of determination (r-squared)
yi actual values of dependent variable
y-caret predicted values of dependent variable (read as „y hat“)
ei residuals
sei standardized (standard) residuals

Clinical trials and generic research

ADR Adverse Drug Reaction
AAHRPP Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs
ACRP Association of Clinical Research Professionals
ADE Adverse Drug Experience
ADR Adverse Drug Reaction
AE Adverse Event
AUC Area Under the Curve
BAA Business Associates Agreement
BIMO Bioresearcher Monitoring Program (FDA)
BLA Biologic Licensing Application
BUN Blood Urea Nitrogen
CAP College of American Pathologists
CBER Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (FDA)
CCRA Certified Clinical Research Associate
CCRC Certified Clinical Research Coordinator
CCRP Certified Clinical Research Professional
CDER Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (FDA)
CDRH Center for Devices and Radiological Health (FDA)
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CI Confidence Interval
CIOMS Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (post-approval international monitoring of ADRs)
CITI Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative
CLIA Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments
Cmax Maximum Plasma Concentration
Cmin Minimum Plasma Concentration
CNT Consented but Not Treated
COI Conflict of Interest
CPI Certified Principal Investigator
Cr Serum Creatinine
CRA Clinical Research Associate
CRC Clinical Research Coordinator
CRF Case Report Form
CRO Clinical Research Organization
CT Computed Tomography
CT Clinical Trial
CTA Clinical Trials Agreement
CTC Circulating Tumor Cell Count
CTCAE Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events
CTM Clinical Trail Material
CV Curriculum Vitae
CYP Cytochrome P450
DAR Drug or Device Accountability Records
DB Double Blind
DCF Data Correction Form/Data Clarification Form
DHEA Dihydroepiandrosterone
DHHS Department of Health & Human Services
DLT Dose Limiting Toxicity
DMC Data Monitoring Committee
DNA Deoxyribonucleic Acid
DSMB Data Safety Monitoring Board
DSMP Data Safety Monitoring Plan
DUA Data Use Agreement
EC Ethics Committee; European Commission
ECG Electrocardiogram
ECI Event of Clinical Interest
ECOG Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (Used to determine Performance Status)
eCRF Electronic Case Report Form
EDC Electronic Data Capture
EIR Establishment Inspection Report
EMEA European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products
FDA Food and Drug Administration
FWA Federal Wide Assurance
FWA number Federal Wide Assurance number (number assigned to IRB)
GCP Good Clinical Practices
GLP Good Laboratory Practices
GMP Good Manufacturing Practices
HAQ Health Assessment Questionnaire
HDE Humanitarian Device Exemption (must be in place to use a HUD)
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability & Accountability
HRPP Human Research Protection Program
HUD Humanitarian Use Device (for less than 4, 000 subjects)
IB Investigator’s Brochure
IC50 Inhibitory Concentration 50%
ICF Informed Consent Form
ICH International Conference on Harmonization
IDE Investigational Device Exemption
IEC Independent Ethics Committee
IND Investigational New Drug (Application)
INDSR Investigational New Drug Safety Report
IO Institutional Official
IP Investigational Product (i.e., drug, biologic and/or device)
IRB Institutional Review Board
ISR Injection Site Reaction
ITT Intent-to-Treat
IVRS Interactive Voice Response System
IWRS Interactive Web Response System
Ki Inhibition Constant
LDH Lactate Dehydrogenase
LDS Limited Data Set
MDR Medical Device Reporting
MedDRA Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities
mmHg Millimeters of Mercury
MOS Medical Outcomes Study
MTA Material Transfer Agreement
MTD Maximum Tolerated Dose
NAF Notice of Adverse Findings
NAI No Action Indicated
NDA New Drug Application
NSR Non-Significant Risk (usually refers to device research)
NTF Note to File
OAI Official Action Indicated
OCR Office of Civil Rights
OHRP Office for Human Research Protections
OIG Office of the Inspector General
PD Pharmacodynamics
PFS Progression-Free Survival
PHI Protected Health Information
PHS Public Health Service
PI Principal Investigator
PK Pharmacokinetic
PM Project Manager
PMA Premarket Approval (Application)
PMS Post Marketing Surveillance
PRIM&R Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research
prn As Needed
QA Quality Assurance
QC Quality Control
QI Quality Improvement
QOL Quality of Life
QTcF QT Interval Corrected by the Fridericia Correction Formula
RCT Randomized Controlled Trial
RDE Remote Data Entry
REB Research Ethics Board
RECIST Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (Oncology)
ROPI Report of Prior Investigations
RSA Research Subject Advocate
SADE Serious Adverse Drug Experience
SAE Serious Adverse Event
SC Study Coordinator; Safety Cohort; Subcutaneous
SD Standard Deviation
SDV Source Document Verification
SEM Standard Error for the Mean
SEV Site Evaluation Visit
SIV Site Initiation Visit
SMO Site Management Organization
SR Significant Risk (usually refers to device research)
t1/2 Half-Life
Tbili Total Bilirubin
TK Toxicokinetics
TTP Time to Progression
UPIRTSO Unanticipated Problem Involving Risk to Subjects or Others
VAI Voluntary Action Indicated
WBC White Blood Cell Count
WHO World Health Organization
WMA World Medical Association

Abbreviations and acronyms used in ecotoxicology

AchE acetylcholinesterase
ACR acute-to-chronic toxicity ratio
AEC adenylate energy charge
ADI acceptable daily intake
AF accumulation factor, application factor
AHH aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase
ALAD aminolaevulinic acid dehydrase [porphobilinogen synthase, 5-aminolevulinate dehydrase]
ALARA as low as reasonably achievable
APTI air pollution tolerance index
ATCN asymptotic threshold concentration
AVS acid-volatile sulfide
B biomagnification factor
BAF bioaccumulation factor
BAP biodiversity action plan
BCC bioaccumulative chemicals of concern
BCF bioconcentration factor
BF bioaccumulation factor
BI bioavailability index
BLM biotic ligand model
BOD biochemical (biological) oxygen demand
BSAF biota-sediment accumulation factor
BSF biota-sediment factor
CBA cost–benefit analysis
CBR critical body residue
CF concentration factor
CFC chlorofluorocarbon
ChE cholinesterase
CMPP 2-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy) propionic acid
COD chemical oxygen demand
COPC contaminants of potential concern
CSM conceptual site model
2,4-D 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid
2,4-DB 2,4-dichlorophenoxybutyric acid [4-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy) butyric acid]
p,p'-DDT p,p '-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane [4,4'-(2,2,2-trichloroethane-1,1-diyl)bis(chlorobenzene)]
DEB dynamic energy budget
DNOC dinitro-orthocresol [3,5-dinitrobenzene-1,2-diol]
DO dissolved oxygen
DOC dissolved oxygen content, dissolved organic carbon
DOM dissolved organic matter
DT depuration time
DU Dobson unit
EA environmental assessment
EBI ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitor (fungicide)
EC effective concentration
ED effective dose
EEC estimated (expected) environmental concentration
EFcrust enrichment factor (for the Earth’s crust)
EIA environmental impact assessment
EIS environmental impact statement
ELS early life stage
EQO environmental quality objective
EqP equilibrium partitioning
EQS environmental quality standard
EROD ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase [7-ethoxyphenoxazin-3-one O-deethylase]
ET effective time
FATS fish acute toxicity syndrome
FAV final acute value
FCV final chronic value
FIAM free ion activity model
FONSI finding of no significant impact
FS feasibility study
GABA gamma-aminobutyric acid [4-aminobutyric acid]
GAS general adaptation syndrome
GIS geographic information system
GEM genetically engineered microorganism
GLP good laboratory practice
GMO genetically modified organism
HCB hexachlorobenzene
HCp, HCS hazardous concentration
HEDSET harmonized electronic data set
HI hazard index
HMO hepatic microsomal monooxygenase
HPVC high production volume chemical
HQ hazard quotient
HSP heat shock protein
IC inhibitory concentration
ID inhibitory dose
IED individual effective dose
IRIS integrated risk information system
IT50 median inhibitory time
KOA octanol-air partition coefficient
KOW octanol-water partition coefficient
LBB lethal body burden
LC lethal concentration
LD lethal dose
LED lowest effective dose
LFER linear free energy relationship
LLE loss of life expectancy
LOAEL lowest-observed-adverse-effect level
LOEC lowest-observed-effect concentration
LOEL lowest-observed-effect level
LSER linear solvation energy relationship
LT lethal time
LTRE life-table response experiment
LV limit value
MAC maximum allowable concentration
MAT mean absorption time
MATC maximum acceptable toxicant concentration
MCPA (2-methyl 4-chloro-phenoxyacetic) acid [2-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy) propionic acid]
MF modifying factor
MIC minimum inhibitory concentration
MIT median inhibitory time
MLE maximum likelihood estimation
MO monooxygenase
MRT mean residence time
MSD minimum significant difference
MTTD median time to death
MVP minimum viable population
NED normal equivalent deviation
NOAEL no-observed-adverse-effect level
NOEC(D) no-observed-effect concentration (dose)
NOEL no-observed-effect level
NRL no-response level
NTE neuropathy target esterase (acetylcholinesterase)
OC organic carbon, organochlorine compound
OP organophosphorus compound
POA octanol-air partition coefficient
POW octanol-water partition coefficient
PAH polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
PBT persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic
PCB polychlorinated biphenyl
PCDD polychlorinated dibenzodioxin
PCDF polychlorinated dibenzofuran
PD population density
PEC predicted environmental concentration
PFOA perfluorooctanoic acid
PFOS perfluorooctane-1-sulfonate
PICT pollution-induced community tolerance
PIN preferred IUPAC name
PIP persistent inorganic pollutant
PMN pre-manufacture notification
PNEC predicted no-effect concentration
POM particulate organic matter
POP persistent organic pollutant
PSD prevention of significant deterioration
PTI pollution tolerance index
QSAR quantitative structure–activity relationship
QSMR quantitative structure–metabolism relationship
RfD reference dose
RfDdt developmental reference dose
RI/FS remedial investigation and feasibility study
RME reasonable maximum exposure
RR rate ratio, relative risk
SAM standardized aquatic microcosm
SAR structure–activity relationship
SB spiked bioassay
SCAS semi-continuous activated sludge
SCE sister chromatid exchange
SMR structure–metabolism relationship
SSD species sensitivity distribution
STI salt tolerance index
STP sewage treatment plant
2,4,5-T 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid
Tx toxicity value
TBT tributyl tin
TC threshold concentration, teratogenic concentration
TCDD tetrachlorodibenzodioxin
TDI tolgerable daily intake
TEC threshold-effect concentration
TEF toxicity equivalency factor
TEQ toxicity equivalent
TI teratogenic index, time independent
TIE toxicity identification and evaluation
TLm (TL50) median tolerance limit
TL threshold level, tolerance limit
TOC total organic carbon
TU toxicity unit
UF uncertainty factor
WET whole-effluent toxicity
WHAM Windermere humic aqueous model
WWTP waste-water treatment plant

Epidemiology glossary

For more information about epidemiology glossary, please visit CDC Epidemiology Glossary.

1. Nordberg, M., Templeton, D. M., Andersen, O., & Duffus, J. H. (2009) ‘Glossary of terms used in Ecotoxicology (IUPAC Recommendations 2009)’, Pure and Applied Chemistry, 81(5), 829-970.

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