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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Concepts and Variables

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Ivan Katchanovski

Jan. 17, 2014 Introduction – Concepts and Variables Concepts: ideas or constructs that represent real world phenomena  Democracy  Party affiliation  Social capital  Tolerance  Political conservatism  Social liberalism  Globalization Variables • Provide measurement of concepts • Contain different values • Ex: Democracy variable can have the following values: 1. Democratic country 2. Non-democratic country • Ex: Political party affiliation in Canada variable can have the following values: 1. Conservative 2. Liberal 3. NDP 4. Other party Types of Measurement Levels of Variables In theory: • Nominal: a level of measurement describing a variable that has values that cannot be ranked in contrast to other types of variables Ex: gender, political party affiliation, etc. • Ordinal: a level of measurement describing a variable with values we can rank/order along some dimension but cannot find the average value (mean). Ex: education (high school, university, post-graduate), socioeconomic status (high, medium, low) • Interval/ratio: a level of measurement describing a variable whose values are rank/ordered and have equal distances between adjacent values Ex:Age (years), income ($) *In practice - Ordinal variables are often treated as similar to interval/ratio variables Example: World Dataset  World Dataset • Textbook • Blackboard  Variables • values 
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