Conceptualization and Operationalization Conceptualization and Concepts



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Conceptualization and Operationalization

Conceptualization and Concepts

  • Conceptualization is a process of defining the agreed meaning of the terms used in a study.
  • Indicators are identified to mark the presence or absence of a concept.
  • Some concepts have more than one aspect or facet, called dimensions.
  • The interchangeability of indicators means that if several indicators represent the same concept, they should behave in the same way as the concept.

From Conceptualization to Operationalization

  • From conceptualization the researcher creates a nominal definition to identify the focus of the study.
  • An operational definition is created to defined the procedures or steps used in measuring a concept.
  • An operational definition must be specific and unambiguous.

Operationalization Choices

  • Operational decisions are made based on the purposes of the study.
  • What is the necessary range in variation in measuring your concept?
  • How fine must the measure indicate variation between the attributes of a variable?
  • Which dimensions are important to your study?

Levels of Measurement

  • At all the levels, the attributes must be:
    • Exhaustive
    • Mutually exclusive
  • Levels of Measurement
    • Nominal Measures
    • Ordinal Measures
    • Interval Measures
    • Ratio Measures

Nominal Levels of Measurement

  • Variables only have attributes that are mutually exclusive and exhaustive.
  • Names or labels are offered for the attributes characteristics
  • Is measured by counting the frequencies of each attribute.
  • Example: What is your primary source of news?
  • Television Newspapers
  • Radio Magazines
  • Internet Other

Ordinal Levels of Measurement

  • Measure variables that can be logically rank-ordered.
  • The attributes of a variable indicate relatively more or less of that variable.
  • The actual distance between the attributes of a variable is imprecise.
  • Example: How important are newspapers as your news source?
  • Not Very Important
  • Fairly Important
  • Very Important
  • Most important source

Interval Level of Measurement

  • Measures variables in which the distance between the attributes is important.
  • The measure assumes the logical distance between the attributes of the variables through standard intervals.
  • Example:
  • Newspapers are an important source of news information for me.
  • Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree
  • The Internet is an important source of news information for me.
  • Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree

Ratio Level of Measurement

  • Measures are based on a true zero point.
  • Example:
  • What is your age?

Measurement Reliability

  • An instrument consistently measures the variable of interest
  • In order for an instrument to be valid, it must also be reliable - A reliable instrument, however, is not necessarily valid
  • 125 pounds
  • 140 pounds

Creating Reliable Measures

  • Test-Retest Method
  • Alternative-Form Method
  • Internal Consistency Method
    • Split-half reliability
    • Item-total reliability
  • Use Established Measures
  • Assessing Reliability of Research Workers
    • Inter-observer or inter-coder agreement
  • Reliability coefficients should be at least equal to .70 to demonstrate a reliable measure.

Measurement Validity

  • Does the empirical measure observe what it purports to observe?
  • Does the measure appropriately (adequately and accurately) reflect the meaning of the concept?

Creating Valid Measures

  • Content Validity
    • Face Validity
    • Expert Panel Validity
  • Criterion Validity
    • Predictive Validity
    • Concurrent Validity
  • Construct Validity
    • Convergent Validity
    • Discriminant Validity
  • Representational Validity


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