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SOAN 2120

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Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

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SOAN LECTURE September 29 Indexes, Scales and Typologies - Most common in survey research and other quantitative methods - Often used in quantitative research because: o Difficult to devise a single measure of complex concepts  Especially true with regard to attitudes and orientations  Researchers devise several items, each providing some indication of the variable - A single indicator provides a valid and reliable measure of some variables o E.g. Marital status, number of children - Other variables are more difficult and complex to measure o Some may require > 1 indicator of a variable  E.g. depression o Some may involve a # of dimensions that calls for multiple indicators  E.g. compassion o Some may be concerned with degree to which a variable is present  E.g. physically fit Indexes and Scales: Differences - Way scores are assigned in each: o Index- accumulate scores assigned to individual attributes o Scale- assign scores to pattern of responses  Uses differences in intensity among the attributes of the same variables to identify distinct pattern of response • Some items reflect a relatively weak degree of the variable while other reflect something stronger Indexes and Scales - 2 misconceptions about scaling: o 1) A particular sample of observations determines whether the combination of several data items results in a scale  Certain items may form a scale within one sample but not within another o 2) Use od specific scaling techniques does not guarantee the creation of a scale; instead such techniques help determine whether of not a set of items constitute a scale Index Construction - Main steps o Select possible items o Examine their empirical relationships o Score your index o Validate it Step 1: Select Item - Select items for a composite index, created to measure some variable o Face Validity  Each of the items should appear on its face to indicate the concept you are interested in measuring o Unidimensionality  A composite measure should represent only one dimension of a concept o General or Specific  Nature of the items included determine how specific of general the variable is measured SOAN LE
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