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Conceptualization

1.Definition 2.Dimensions 3.Indicators 4.ComparisonofConcept,Dimension,and Indicator 5.Example

Definition
Conceptualizationistheprocessofdevelopment andclarificationofconcepts. Inotherwords,clarifyingone'sconceptswith wordsandexamplesandarrivingatprecise verbaldefinitions. e.g.,whatismeantbyeducation? Amountofknowledgeandtrainingacquiredin school."

AnotherExample
Whatdowemeanby"socialstatus?
Wealth(millionaire) Prestige(Harvardprofessor) Power(militarygeneral)

Thesearecalleddimensions ofsocialstatus.

Dimensions
Weclassifydifferentmeaningsintodifferent groups.Suchgroupsarecalled"dimensions." Aconceptmayhavemorethanone dimension(e.g.,asincaseofsocialstatus). Atapracticallevel,weareusuallymore interestedindimensionsthaninconcepts (whicharemoreabstract,vague).

Indicators
Whenadimensionisnotdirectlyobservable,we useindicators. Forexample,tomeasurepower,wemayuse
(1)numberofpeopleunderyoursupervision (2)extentofyoursupervision(workrelatedonly, orsleepandfood?) (3)yourannualbudget (4)amountofequipmentunderyourcontrol

ComparisonofConcept,Dimension, andIndicator
Inpractice,thethreetermsareoften interchangeable(e.g.,gender,race). Onedifferenceisthelevelofabstraction:
ConceptDimensionIndicator HighlyabstractAbstract Concrete

Oneconceptmayhavemultipledimensions; andonedimensionmayhavemultiple indicators

ARelatedterm:Variables
Avariableisastatisticalterm,meaninga quantitythatcantakeondifferentpossible values. Bothdimensionandindicatorcanbe variables. Whenaconcepthasonlyonedimensionwith oneindicator,aconceptispractically equivalenttoavariable.

Summary
Concept

D2

D1

D3

...

I12

I11

I13

...

Example:SES
SES

Wealth

Prestige

Power

I31

I32

I33

...

Measurement
Whenitcomestomeasurement,weare talkingaboutvariablesandindicators. Definitionofmeasurement:"theassignment ofnumbersorlabelstounitsofanalysisto representvariablecategories." Numbersmeandifferentthingsunder differentcircumstances.

TypesofMeasurement
Nominal measurement Ordinal measurement Interval measurement Ratio measurement

Nominal Measurement
Nominalmeasurementisasysteminwhich casesareclassifiedintotwoormore categories onsomevariable. Arbitrarynumericalassignments.e.g.,
Race=1forwhite,2forblack,and3forAsian.

Twocriteriaforclassifications:
Exhaustiveness Mutualexclusiveness

Ordinal Measurement
Inordinalmeasurement,numbersindicatethe rankingorderonadimension. e.g.,foratypicalattitudequestiononsurveys,
Strongly Agree 5 Somewhat Agree 4 Neutral 3 Somewhat Disagree 2 Strongly Disagree 1

There is no intrinsic scale you only know relative rankings. Should not do arithmetic (such as averaging).

Interval Measurement
Intervalmeasurementassumesequal distancesorintervalsbetween"numbers." Numbersrepresentnotonlyrankingsbutalso values. e.g.,(70,90,80)is thesameas(80,80,80) for thetest component ofyourSoc.357finalgrade.

Ratio Measurement
Ifanintervalvariablehasanabsolutezero,it becomesaratiovariable. E.g.,weight,numberofsiblings,birthrate, etc. Comparethreetemperatures:C,F,andK.

AComparisonoftheFour
Information Provided Classification Rank order Equal intervals Relative value Nominal X Ordinal X X Interval X X X Ratio X X X X

More general

More specific

Qualityofmeasurement
1.Precision Precision istheextenttowhichnumerically detailedmeasurementremainsmeaningful (e.g.,measuringannualincome). 2.Accuracy Accuracy istheextenttowhichthe measuringinstrumentmeasureswhatitis intendedtomeasure.(Commonlygaugedby reliability andvalidity).

Consequenceofmeasurementerror: descriptiveversusexplanatorystudies
Inexplanatorystudies,weareinterestedin relationshipsbetweentwoconcepts,ortwo variables.Whenaconceptispoorlydefined,the relationshipisstillthere. e.g.,genderandreligiosity. Saytheresearchinterestliesinthedifferential betweenmenandwomen.Ifweunderestimate theabsolutelevelby30%forboth,westillhave anaccuratemeasureoftherelativevalue.

GenderandReligiosityExample
Gender Men Women True 50 100 Measured 35 70

i.e.,explanatoryanalysisisrobust tomarginal changesofmeasurements. Reason:overestimationorunderestimationforall unitsofanalysis. Bewareofdifferential under(over)estimation.

MethodsforAssessingReliability
Testretestmethod Asinpaneldesign,youmeasurethesame quantitytwice.Letuscallthefirst measurementy1,thesecondy2. Reliabilitymeasure:correlationbetweeny1 andy2. Lowcorrelationmeanslargerandomnoise.

MethodsforAssessingReliability (Continued)
Splithalfmethod Youmaycalculatecorrelationsamong differentitemsonthesamesurvey instrument,assumingequivalenceofdifferent items. Highcorrelation:highreliability

Bias(LackofValidity)
Inregressioncontext, yi = + xi +i i doesnothaveameanofzero.Rather,it couldbethat i =4+i ,wherei iswellbehaved(i.e.,hasa meanofzero).Thus,4isthebias.

MethodsforAssessingValidity
A.Facevalidity Seewhetherameasurementmakesanysense toyouandtoothers(alsocomparewith similarindependentmeasures GSS) B.Criterionrelatedvalidity Doesthismeasurepredictothermeasures thatcanbemeasuredmoreobjectively. Usecorrelationor regressiontechniques.

Example:PredictabilityofSATscoreof CollegePerformance
IfSATisagoodmeasureofacademicability,why doesntitpredictcollegeperformancewell? Problems: (1)selectionbias; (2)mediatingfactorsbetweenfirstmeasurement andcriterion(e.g.,instruction); (3)measurementproblemsforthecriterion(e.g., gradeinflation,differentialgrading,etc.).

MethodsforAssessingValidity (Continued)
C.Contentvalidity Theextenttowhichanempiricalmeasurement reflectsaspecificdomainofcontent. D.Constructvalidity Constructvalidityisconcernedwiththeextent towhichaparticularmeasurerelatestoother measuresinwaysconsistentwiththeoretically derivedhypotheses.

AGraphicModelforConstructValidity

Ix1

Ix2

Iy1

Iy2