Defining the terms of an inquiry

Where possible, we try to avoid specialist terminology.

Acronyms, abbreviations, jargon - these can be very exclusive, so we don't use them.

But there are some words and phrases that, during an inquiry, we simply cannot avoid. And if we use those terms without defining them, we're basically saying to most people: 'Sorry. You're not invited to this conversation.'

In some cases, the problem can be the opposite: lots of people might know the term, but it's widely misused, or has extra meanings. Here's how two committees dealt with this issue.

Defining the terms

You would assume that 'homelessness' needs no introduction. But, for the Communities and Local Government Committee, clarifying this term was at the heart of their inquiry.

A similar challenge faced the Women and Equalities Committee: what is the gender pay gap, and how is it different to unequal pay?

This distinction was integral to their inquiry, and so this definition image was used multiple times throughout.


Being a resource

A central part of our digital strategy is to offer a resource of information to everyone who is interested in the topic a Committee covers. Defining terms forms a central part of that resource, as well as managing expectations of what an inquiry's scope will be.


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