The usual meaning of this word (when it has one at all) is “more than the norm.” As in: “the curriculum consists of four weeks of intensive training”-presumably a welcome reassurance to students that, in those four weeks, they will not be getting the school’s customary casual and nonchalant training.

When papers describe intensive services, collaboration, staffing, follow-up, and the like, they seem to be referring to something superhuman and remarkable. But they could very well be talking about merely making a better-than-average effort. The word provides no way of knowing. Because it means nothing in particular but carries a self-flattering aura, a careful reader will view the word more with suspicion than admiration. (The same, by the way, goes for IN-DEPTH, whose meaning is pretty much the same as INTENSIVE, though the hyphen makes it jauntier.)

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