Things We ❤️: The MRCT Center’s Clinical Research Glossary

A doodle holds up a sign with the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials logo.

Here at We ❤️ Health Literacy Headquarters, we find ourselves writing about clinical research on the reg. That means we spend a lot (like, a lot) of time thinking about the best way to explain various clinical trial jargon terms in plain language. And frankly, sometimes we could use a little help!

Luckily, when we need an assist, we can turn to the Clinical Research Glossary from the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials (MRCT) Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard. It provides clear, simple definitions for a bunch of research-related jargon terms. And while we may adapt the definitions — say, to better fit the tone of a material — they can go a long way toward helping us clearly explain tricky terms.

So whether you’re writing materials for study participants, explaining vaccine trial phases to boost public confidence in the process, or reporting on the results of a specific study, give MRCT’s Clinical Research Glossary a look!

(One quick aside: While glossaries can be super helpful for health communicators like us, we generally still recommend against including them in consumer-facing materials — or at least relying on them alone to help consumers navigate jargon-y materials. Glossaries require cross-referencing, which can be hard for folks with limited literacy skills. Instead, stick with tried-and-true plain language best practices!)

The bottom line: Communicating clearly about clinical research is tricky. The MRCT Center’s Clinical Research Glossary makes it easier by providing plain language definitions for a long list of jargon terms!

Tweet about it: Looking for a #HealthComm resource to help you write #PlainLanguage content about clinical research? Check out @MRCTCenter’s Clinical Research Glossary, says @CommunicateHlth: #HealthLiteracy


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