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Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

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LEC 13 - FEB 6
Indexes, Scales (ordinal or interval measures) and Typologies (nominal measures)
Measurements need to be inclusive (each measurement must have a category to fit in)
and mutually exclusive (each measurement can only fit onto one category)
- i.e. flipping a coin; can’t have heads and tails at once, but need to have one.
Single Item Measurements
-i.e. getting age; asking one question and getting an answer.
Composite Score
-Numbers and scales
Indexes and Scales
-Both are ordinal measures at minimum; can be constructed to be interval measures.
-Both are composite measures (based on more than 1 data item)
Most common in survey research and other quantitative methods
Often used on quantitative research because:
Difficult to devise a single measure of complex concepts (esp. true w/regard to
attitudes & orientations; i.e. love)
Researchers devise several items, each providing some indication of the variable.
i.e. Maclean university ranking survey (no meaning, therefore: ordinal meaning)
A single indicator provides a valid and reliable measure of some variables
i.e. marital status, # of children in a family.
Other variables are more difficult and complex to measure (may require more than 1
indicator of a variable)
i.e. depression
Some may involve a number of dimensions that calls for multiple indicators
i.e. compassion (feeling vs. action)
Some may be concerned w/degree to which a variable is present
i.e. physical fitness
Index-Construction Logic
-i.e. political action taken. To create an index of overall political activism, we might give
people 1 point for each action they took. Max=6, Min=0
-Writing a letter to politician
-Signing a petition
-Writing a letter to editor
-Giving $ to political cause
-Persuaded someone to change her/his voting plans
-Gave $ to a political candidate
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