CHAPTER 5, CONCEPTUALIZATION, OPERATIONALIZATION, AND MEASUREMENT

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CHAPTER 5, CONCEPTUALIZATION, OPERATIONALIZATION, AND MEASUREMENT Powered By Docstoc
					CHAPTER 5,
CONCEPTUALIZATION,
OPERATIONALIZATION,
AND MEASUREMENT
Chapter Outline
   Measuring Anything That Exists
   Conceptualization
   Definitions in Descriptive and
    Explanatory Studies
   Operationalization Choices
   Criteria of Measurement Quality
   The Ethics of Measurement
   Quick Quiz
Measuring Anything that Exists

   Measurement – Careful, deliberate
    observations of the real world for the
    purpose of describing objects and events
    in terms of the attributes composing the
    variable.
   How would you measure…
     political   party affiliation?
     age?

     grade  point average?
     satisfaction with college?

     religious affiliation?
   Conceptions, Concepts, and Reality
     How   would you conceptualize…
      prejudice?
      compassionate?



                      – The mental process
     Conceptualization
     whereby fuzzy and imprecise notions
     (concepts) are made more specific and
     precise.
   Concepts as Constructs
     Concepts are constructs derived by mutual
      agreement from mental images.
     Conceptions summarize collections of
      seemingly related observations and
      experiences.
Conceptualization
   Conceptualization – The process through
    which we specify what we mean when we
    use particular terms in research.

   We cannot meaningfully answer a question
    without a working agreement about the
    meaning of the outcome.

   Conceptualization processes a specific
    agreed-on meaning for a concept for the
    purposes of research.
   Indicators and Dimensions
     Indicator– An observation that we choose
     to consider as a reflection of a variable we
     wish to study.

     Dimension   – A specifiable aspect of a
     concept.
   Identify appropriate indicators and
    dimensions for…
     religious  affiliation
     college success

     political activity

     poverty

     binge drinking

     fear of crime
   The Interchangeability of Indicators
     If several different indicators all represent
      the same concept, all of them will behave
      the same way the concept would behave if
      it were real and could be observed.
   Real, Nominal, and Operational Definitions
       Specification – The process through which
        concepts are made more specific.

       A nominal definition is one that is simply
        assigned to a term without any claim that the
        definition represents a “real” entity.

       An operational definition specifies precisely
        how a concept will be measured – that is, the
        operations we will perform.
   Creating Conceptual Order
     Conceptualization

     Nominal Definition
     Operational Definition

     Real World Measurement
   Conceptualization – Practice
     Anomie
Definitions in Descriptive and
Explanatory Studies
   Definitions are more problematic for
    descriptive research than for explanatory
    research.
Operationalization Choices
   Conceptualization is the refinement and
    specification of abstract concepts.
   Operationalization is the development of
    specific research procedures that will
    result in empirical observations
    representing those concepts in the real
    world.
   Range of Variation
     Towhat extent is the research willing to
     combine attributes in fairly gross
     categories?

   Variation between the Extremes
     Towhat degree is the operationalization of
     variables precise?

   Dimensions
   Defining Variables and Attributes
     An attribute is a characteristic or quality of
      something (ex: female, old, student).
     A variable is a logical set of attributes (ex:
      gender, age).

     Every variable must have two important
     qualities.
     1.   The attributes composing it should be
          exhaustive.
     2.   Attributes must be mutually exclusive.
   Levels of Measurement
     Nominal

     Ordinal

     Interval

     Ratio
   Levels of Measurement – Nominal
     Variableswho attributes have only the
     characteristics of exhaustiveness and
     mutually exclusiveness.

     Examples:  gender, religious affiliation,
     college major, hair color, birthplace,
     nationality
   Levels of Measurement – Ordinal
              with attributes we can logically
     Variables
     rank order.

     Examples:  socioeconomic status, level of
     conflict, prejudice, conservativeness,
     hardness
   Levels of Measurement – Interval
             for which the actual distance
     Variables
     between attributes has meaning.

     Examples:   temperature, (Fehrenheit) IQ
     score
   Levels of Measurement – Ratio
     Variableswhose attributes meet the
     requirements of a interval measure, and
     has a true zero point.

     Examples:  temperature (Kelvin), age,
     length of time, number of organizations,
     number of groups, number of As received
     in college
Figure 5.1
   Implications of Levels of Measurement
     Analyses  require minimum levels of
      measurement
     Some variables can be treated as multiple
      levels of measurement
   Single or Multiple Indicators
Criteria of Measurement
Quality
   Precision and Accuracy
   Reliability
   Validity
   Precision and Accuracy
     Precise   measures are superior to imprecise
     ones.

     Precision   is not the same as accuracy.
   Reliability – That quality of
    measurement method that suggests that
    the same data would have been
    collected each time in repeated
    observations of the same phenomenon.

   Reliability is not the same as accuracy.
 Test-Retest    Method
     make the same measurement more than
   To
   once.

 Split-Half    Method
           sets of randomly assigned variables
   Multiple
   should produce the same classifications

 Established    Measures

 Reliability   of Research Workers
   Validity – a term describing a measure that
    accurately reflects the concept it is intended to
    measure.
       Face Validity – That quality of an indicator that
        makes it seem a reasonable measure of some
        variable.
       Criterion-Related Validity – The degree to which a
        measure related to some external criterion.
       Construct Validity – The degree to which a measure
        relates to other variables as expected within a
        system of theoretical relationships.
       Content Validity – The degree to which a measure
        coves the range of meanings included within a
        concept.
Figure 5.2
QUICK QUIZ
1. It is truly possible to measure the stuff
    of life.
A.  True
B.  False
Answer: A.
It is truly possible to measure the stuff of
life.
2. _____ refer to mental images.
A. Perspectives
B. Theories
C. Conceptions
D. Methods
Answer: C.
Conceptions refer to mental images.
3. The mental processes whereby fuzzy
and imprecise notions are made more
specific and precise is called:
A. construction

B. reification

C. conceptualization

D. operationalization
Answer: C.
The mental processes whereby fuzzy and
   imprecise notions are made more
   specific and precise is called
   conceptualization.
4. Which of the following are examples of
nominal measures?
A. gender

B. religious affiliation

C. political party affiliation

D. birthplace

E. all of the above
Answer: E.
Gender, religious affiliation, political
  affiliation, and birthplace are examples
  of nominal measures.
5. _____ is the degree to which a
measure covers the range of meanings
included within a concept.
A. Construct validity

B. Criterion-related validity

C. Face validity

D. Content validity
Answer: D.
Content validity is the degree to which a
measure covers the range of meanings
included within a concept.
6. In social research, the process of
coming to an agreement about what terms
mean is:
A. hypothesizing

B. conceptualization

C. variable determination

D. operationalization
Answer: B.
In social research, the process of coming
to an agreement about what terms mean
is conceptualization.
7. The _____ of concepts in scientific
inquiry    depends     on nominal and
operational definitions.
A. specification

B. interchangeability

C. functioning

D. network
Answer: A.
The specification of concepts in scientific
inquiry depends on nominal and
operational definitions.
8. A level of measurement describing a
variable whose attributes are rank-ordered
and have equal distances between
adjacent attributes are _____ measures.
A. ratio

B. interval

C. nominal

D. ordinal
Answer: B.
A level of measurement describing a
variable whose attributes are rank-ordered
and have equal distances between
adjacent attributes are interval measures.

				
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