Database Terminology


Want to know how we classify items in the research database? Then you've come to the right place! If you need an explanation or definition for any of the terms used to categorize the research items in our database, please refer to the index below. The index includes most of the terms that you will find on the record detail page for each item in the database. Users should always feel free to contact us with questions.

Last Revision: August 23, 2007


The "Spot Check" number shown on each research database record page is a unique identifier assigned to each database record. For quick reference, you may use this number to retrieve specific items from the database.


On each record detail page, immediately following the title of each research citation, is the Primary Animal Issue. All research database citations are labeled with one or more of these broad issues, which together encompass the range of animal advocacy issues, including:

Advocacy Strategies:
References discussing or presenting theories or techniques related to persuasive communications.
Animal Experimentation:
Research citations concerning animals used for the principal purpose of experimentation, including medical, household, cosmetic, toxins, poisons, agricultural, or behavioral research.
Companion Animals:
References related to animals whose primary relationship to humans is companionship.
Diet and Nutrition:
Includes broader food industry items related to dietary trends, industry information, or consumer behavior that may affect the demand for or public perception of animal-based foods.
Farmed Animals:
Research content concerning animals raised in a human-controlled environment for their flesh (meat), fur (fiber), etc.
General Animal Protection:
A broad category encompassing the people, organizations, and general social movement involved in furthering the efforts of animal advocacy.
Research Tools and Methods:
Materials relating to social science research, in particular procedures, methodologies, and analytical techniques.
Vegetarianism and Veganism:
Publications related to the practice, culture, or people who abstain from consuming animal products to some degree.
Wildlife and Exotics:
Database entries related to animals who are hunted, trapped, used for entertainment purposes (i.e. zoos, circus, etc), and animals in the wild who do not directly interact with people but may be affected by human activity.


Next, we tag our research citations with even more specific category labels, designed to bring you the references most relevant to your research needs. These include:

Animal Advocacy:
Items dealing with the motivations or behavioral aspects of people or specific organizations involved in the animal advocacy movement.
Animal Fighting, Races:
Materials related to animals used for human amusement by fighting or racing.
Animal Welfare or Living Conditions:
A broad category of citations related to the overall concern for the health, well-being, or living conditions of animals.
Research addressing public knowledge, awareness, and attitudes toward animal products that have been genetically modified to provide different properties, or toward using animals for biotechnological research.
Campaign and Program Evaluation:
Published materials that specifically discuss a particular campaign or program by an organization.
Charitable Contributions, Volunteering:
Research dealing primarily with the monetary contributions or volunteering efforts of individuals for animal-related causes.
Research specifically relating to animals used in the circus industry.
Data and Statistics:
Reference materials which include quantitative information related to demographics, animals, or various related markets.
Peripheral information relating to a person's view of the environment, including preservation or the interrelationship between animals, environment, and habitat.
Factory Farming:
Deals with the issues associated with the mass raising of animals as a food source.
Farming Practices:
Agricultural farming practices that may directly or indirectly affect animal welfare (not including factory farming).
Food Safety, Additives, or Diseases:
Materials and research that discuss the attitudes of people toward food as it relates to additives or diseases. Includes the use of growth hormones, antibiotics, and diseases in animals.
Food Trends:
Information that does not directly relate to animal issues, but to related food trends pertaining to health, diet, or nutrition, which may indirectly affect animal issues.
Food Product Selection or Purchase Criteria:
Items that deal with an individual's or group's rationale for making particular dietary or product choices.
Fur or Fur Trim:
Materials related to the use of animals for fur or fur trim, including the attitudes and habits of people with respect to fur clothing.
Health, Personal Health:
Documentation related specifically to the health concerns of individuals and how these concerns impact their dietary preferences.
Humane Education:
Relates to the education of adults or youths pertaining to animal care or animal advocacy issues.
Hunting, Trapping:
The hunting or trapping of animals for sport, food, or fur.
International Research:
Database items that are specifically international in scope, with findings directly related to a region or nationality of people outside of the U.S.
Legislation, Voting, Political Candidates:
Materials related to proposed legislation, bans, voter preferences, or political candidates.
Meat, Dairy, Egg Consumption:
Citations that relate to the meat, dairy, and/or egg consumption habits or trends of humans.
Personal Care Products:
Research material that is primarily related to the use of animals for testing purposes in the development of personal care products.
Pet Adoption, Shelters, Rescue:
References related to the various manners of acquiring companion animals.
Pet Overpopulation:
Database citations related to population control of, and the spaying or neutering of companion animals or homeless animals.
Pet Ownership:
Research regarding responsible companion animal ownership and related issues.
Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biomedical Research:
Research items that relate to the use of animal experimentation for medical or pharmaceutical research.
Preservation, Restoration:
Research dealing with human preservation/restoration efforts for a particular wild animal (or species).
Product Labeling, Certification or Regulation:
Database entries relating to the labeling or certification of food and household products with respect to various issues, including animal welfare standards or nutritional information.
Psychology, Social Development, Social Motivations:
Materials that relate to the development of certain personality or behavioral traits.
Research for Academic Learning:
Material related to the use of animals in the classroom for learning purposes, including dissection.
Research Methodologies:
Database citations discussing particular types of social science research techniques.
Social Marketing:
Database items that are not necessarily related to animals, but discuss how to effectively market to, or convey advocacy messages to a target audience.
Vegetarian Food Products or Substitutes:
Market estimates, surveys, or research related to food products consumed by individuals in lieu of animal-based products.
Vegetarian Motivations, Barriers:
Research materials that pertain to people's motivations and barriers to becoming vegetarian or vegan.
Vegetarian/Vegan Population:
Research items that provide population estimates for vegetarians, vegans, and other dietary groups of interest.
Vegetarian Social, Psychological, or Moral Development:
Research or studies that address the transition or development from non-vegetarian to vegetarian. Includes pieces related to social, psychological and/or moral development.
Items that relate to perceptions and behaviors regarding wildlife species, conservation issues, etc.
Research items that concern animals on exhibit in zoo settings.


Each database record also summarizes the type of information or data that each record represents. The "data type" classifications may include one or more of the following designations:

Content relating to the opinions or attitudes of survey respondents about a specific subject area.
Information that describes a group's or individual's behavior.
Data that provide some level of quantitative demographic information (e.g., age, gender, education, etc.).
Information that reflects a survey respondent's knowledge or awareness of particular issues, facts, or subject areas.
Market, Industry, or Economic:
Financial or economic data related either directly or indirectly to animal-related market segments.
Data that presents a relationship or correlation between multiple variables.
Content that proposes conjecture or theory about a particular animal-related subject.
Observations or data from multiple time periods that identify meaningful changes over time.


Designed to give the reader a sense of the original written record, each record detail page also denotes the type of document from which each record was derived.

Academic Paper:
Research conducted by students, professors, or other academics, whose primary purpose is for education or discourse.
Data and Statistics:
Reference items which primarily presents a quantitative summary of a consumer or animal segment, market, or other particular area.
Expert Opinion:
A written piece presenting the view point(s) of people who are leaders or well recognized in their particular field of study or work.
Journal Article:
Literary piece written for publication in a periodical (may overlap with Academic Papers).
News Article:
A media-created item, featured in a regularly published periodical such as a print or online newspaper.
Online Reference:
A broader and/or more extensive reference or compilation residing on an external website.
Organizational Publications or Materials:
Literature originating from a specific company or organization, which may include marketing or product literature.
A general reference to a regularly published source, including magazines, journals, series, and subscriptions.
Research Study:
A complete report or analysis fully describing a study, experiment, or theory, including a description of research methodology, findings, and conclusions.
Survey Summary:
A brief excerpt from or summary of a broader research study.


Where applicable, our citations reference the type of research methodology used in the core study of the database citation. One or more of the following methods may appear in this field:

Generally associated with documents where applied theory is used to present an argument.
Focus Group:
In person, group interviews involving 6-15 people.
In Person Interview/Survey:
Verbal, single person interview conducted in person.
Literature Review:
Research compiled from a review of secondary sources.
Online Survey:
Questionnaire administered to respondents via the Internet.
Panel Survey:
Survey administered to a specific group of preselected or pre-qualified candidates.
Print Survey:
A written questionnaire mailed or given to respondents in person.
Telephone Survey:
Verbal, single person interview conducted by telephone.
Unknown or Not Applicable:
Method of data acquisition is either unknown or not applicable to the research citation.


In addition, where known, the sponsor of the research citation is characterized with respect to their position on animal issues. The following terms are used for this purpose:

Universities, professors, or other educational institutions.
Animal Advocacy:
Organizations geared toward the advancement of animal causes.
A branch or agency affiliated with a state or national government.
Organizations related to print or electronic broadcasting outlets or publishers.
Organizations or groups whose goals are contrary to animal protection due to the nature of the business in which they are engaged.
Public Opinion Research:
Organizations whose primary business is to conduct public opinion surveys.
An organization or group that does not fall into any of the above categories.

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