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					BHV 390

Surveys
     Operationalization of
           Concepts
    Operationalize means to make
             measurable

You operationalize concepts by turning them into
  measurable variables.

Variables are, by definition, measurable.

Surveys are made up of items collecting data on
  concepts the researcher is studying.

Each item was chosen to operationalize a concept
  into a particular type of variable.
 Operationalization
     in Surveys
• Validity
• Level of Data (Nominal, Ordinal,
  Ratio)
• Exploratory, descriptive or
  explanatory goal
• Amount of detail (number of options
  in categorical items)
• Exhaustiveness of items
• Clarity
• Question, item format
• Participant competence
                 Kinds of Variables
General      Specific   Definition                  Examples
Type         Type
Discrete     Nominal    Numbered for labeling       African American
                        in a category based on      •Asian American
                        equality to or difference   •Latino
                        from other members          •Euro-American
                        of the category
Continuous   Ordinal    Items are ranked with       1)First Place
                        no                          2)Second Place
                        standard interval           3)Third Place
                        implied                     (the distance between first and
                        by their ranking            second place, and second and
                                                    third place may be very
                                                    different from one another)
Continuous   Interval   Items are ranked with a     32 degrees Fahrenheit
                        standard interval, but      64 degrees Fahrenheit
                        without a standardized      (32 does not imply twice as
                        zero point.                 cold as 64, and the Fahrenheit
                                                    and Centigrade have different,
                                                    non-standard zeros.
Continuous   Ratio      Items are ranked with a     Age in years
                        standard interval based
                        on a standardized zero
                        point, and a ranking of
                        4implies exactly twice
                        that of 2.
Exploratory, Descriptive or
    Explanatory Goals
 • Exploratory and Descriptive Goals
   Demographic variables as descriptive
   tools
   Open ended questions, items to elicit the
   point of view of participants
   Survey vs. interview methodologies
 • Explanatory Goals
   Demographic variables as independent
   variables
    Closed- ended questions to collect
   identical information from all
   participants
        General Kinds of
           Measures
• Closed Ended        • Open Ended
• Multiple Choice     • Fill in the Blank
• Matrix              • Short Answer




• Contingency items   • Single Item
                      • Composite Measures
Ways to Operationalize
Single Item Measures
• Yes or no (nominal) c
• Mutually exclusive categories (nominal) c
• Fill in the blank with a category name
   (nominal) o
• One item with Likert scale (ordinal) c
• Fill in the blank with a numerical answer
   (ratio) o
Composite Measures
• Multiple equally weighted items added
   together, called an index (ratio) c
• Multiple differently weighted items added
   together, called a scale (ratio) c
        C = closed-ended, O = open-ended
   Nominal Data: Gender

Gender is a good example of a
 nominal variable.

Sample item:

1. Gender (Please check the option
  below that applies to you.)
    _____Male        _____Female
Ordinal Data:
  Socioeconomic Status
 The categories below imply a
  hierarchy of status moving from a
  low of poverty level to a high of upper
  class.

Sample Item:

2. Socioeconomic status. (Please check
  the option below that applies to
  you.).
  ___Poverty level   ___Working class
  ___Middle class     ___Upper class
       Ratio Data: Age
Years represent a series of
 measurement units that are
 equally distant from one
 another, and have a true zero
 point.

Sample item:

4. Age _____ (Please fill in your
  age in years.)
    Multiple Item Continuous Data:
    The State Trait Anger Inventory
                 (STAXI).
Each item is individually scored by the participants,
  and then the individual scores are added together to
  produce a total score.

Sample items:
For each of the ten items below, please circle the number that corresponds to how you
   feel right now.
                                 Not at all Somewhat Moderately so Very much so
5. I am furious.                     0         1          2             3
6. I feel irritated.                 0         1          2             3
7. I feel angry.                     0          1         2             3
8. I feel like banging on the table. 0          1         2             3
9. I feel like hitting someone.       0         1          2             3
10. I feel like breaking things.      0         1          2             3
11. I feel like yelling at someone. 0           1         2             3
12. I am mad.                        0          1          2             3
13. I am burned up.                  0          1          2             3
14. I feel like swearing.            0           1         2            3
Amount of Detail in the Data
 Four ways to measure age with varying
           amounts of detail.

15. _____Age in months (Please fill in the child’s age in
    months)

16. _____Age in years (Please fill in your age in years )

17. Age (Please check the category that applies to you.)
       _____ 20-29   _____ 30-39    _____ 40-49
      _____ 50-59   _____ 60-69    _____ 70-79

18. Life Stage (Please check the category that applies to
    you.)
  ___Adolescent ___Young Adult ___Adult       ___Senior
    Citizen
   Single Item Two Option
           Measure
          (Closed Format)
Sample item:

Please check the option that best fits
 your experience.

19. I have been involved in a
 physically abusive relationship.
    _____ Yes  _____ No
   Single-Item Multiple Option
             Measure
           (Closed Format)
Sample item:

Please check the option that best reflects your
ethnic background.

20. Ethnicity.
   ___African American ___Asian American
   ___Latino              ___Euro American
    ___Native American
   ___Other: Please specify________________________
Single-Item Multiple Ordinal
             (Closed Format)

Sample item:
Please check the option that best fits your
   experience.
21.How many times have you been
   involved in a
    physically abusive romantic
   relationship?
         ____ Never ____ 1 time ____ 2-5 times
         ____6-9 times ____10 or more times
       Single Item Likert Scale
                Measure
           (Closed Format)
Sample item:

Please circle the option that best fits your
  experience.

22. I usually eat when I am sad or
 depressed.
Never True                             Always True
   1         2          3          4           5
  Single Item Fill in the Blank
             Measure
                (Open Format)
Sample items:

23.What is your age in years? _______

24.What is your ethnicity?
   ___________________

       Age in years is continuous
    Ethnicity is nominal and discrete
               Multiple Item Scale Score
  Sample items from the Sexual Permissiveness Scale (Bauman
                     and Wilson 1976):

Please check the option that best reflects your opinion.

24. Sexual intercourse is acceptable for the male before marriage when he is in love.
                              _____ Agree          _____ Disagree

25. Sexual intercourse is acceptable for the male before marriage when he feels strong affection.
                             _____ Agree          _____ Disagree

26. Sexual intercourse is acceptable for the male before marriage even if he does not feel strong
     affection.
                              _____ Agree          _____ Disagree

27. Sexual intercourse is acceptable for the female before marriage when she is in love.
                              _____ Agree         _____ Disagree

28. Sexual intercourse is acceptable for the female before marriage when she feels strong affection.
                               _____ Agree         _____ Disagree

29. Sexual intercourse is acceptable for the female before marriage even if she does not feel strong
     affection.                _____ Agree         _____ Disagree
      Scoring the Sexual
     Permissiveness Scale
• A yes on questions 1 and 4 count 1 point each
• A yes on questions 2 and 5 count 2 point each
• A yes on questions 3 and 6 count 3 points each

Here having sex before marriage when you are
 in love is less permissive than having sex
 before marriage when you really like some
 one; the most permissive scenario is to have
 sex before marriage with someone for whom
 you do not have strong feelings. These items
 are differently weighted according to the
 relative permissiveness of the item.
    Bias in Questions
Example:
1. Don’t you think that women
  should be stay-at-home moms?
  ___ Yes   ___ No

 Be careful that the questions
 in your items do not contain
 the answer you hope to get.
      Double Barreled
        Questions
Example:
2. Did you pay your state and
   federal taxes last year?
    ___ Yes   ___ No

   There are two questions
  contained in this item. It is
  possible that a participant paid
  federal but not state taxes or vice
  versa. Be sure that you separate
  out your questions so that there is
  only one per item.
 Contingency Questions
1. Are your parents currently married
   to one another? _____ yes   _____ no
     IF NO, GO TO # 4

2. How many years have they been
   married? _____

3. Do you think they have a happy
   marriage?
   _____ yes _____ no  GO TO # 5

4. When did your parent’s marriage
   end?        _____
                   Matrix Items
      A matrix format sometimes makes it
     easier for participants to respond to a
     set of items that all have the same
     options. The section of the State-Trait
     Anger inventory below is arranged in
     a matrix format.
                               Not at all Somewhat Moderately so Very much so
5. I am furious.                      0       1       2             3
6. I feel irritated.                  0       1       2             3
7. I feel angry.                      0       1        2             3
8. I feel like banging on the table. 0        1       2              3
9. I feel like hitting someone.        0      1       2              3
10. I feel like breaking things.       0      1       2              3
11. I feel like yelling at someone. 0         1        2             3
12. I am mad.                          0      1       2              3
13. I am burned up.                    0      1        2             3
14. I feel like swearing.               0      1       2             3
Steps in Constructing A Survey
• List all variables that you will measure
• Determine which of the formats above you will use for
  each variable.
• Determine what level of data you will collect for each
  variable.
• Organize the items for presentation on a survey
  according to:
       format
       matrix or other clustering of items
       contingency series
       influence on each other
       visual flow
• Pretest the survey on several individuals who will not be
  participating in the survey for
       comprehension
       logical consistency
       time
• Revise according to suggestion that enhance the
  survey’s effectiveness
                      Study Guide
•   Survey                    Open-ended
•   Operationalization        Closed-ended
•   Variable                  Fill in the blank
•   Validity                  Multiple choice
•   Level of Data             Contingency items
•   Research goal             Matrix format
•   Amount of detail          Short answer
•   Exhaustiveness of items   Composite/multiple item measures
•   Clarity                   Index
•   Question/item format      Scale
•   Participant competence    Biased questions/items
•   Nominal data              Double-barreled questions/items
•   Ordinal data              Pretesting the survey
•   Ratio data
•   Discrete data
•   Continuous data

				
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