Week 2 May 15, 2011
Measurement: An Overview
Levels of Measurement
Validity and Reliability
A mental image that summarizes a set of similar observations, feelings, or ideas; theoretical creations
that are based on observations. (cannot be directly observed)
Something agreed upon by majority
Subjective because based on observations and can differ over cultures, etc. and you have to classify
what you mean.
Ex. Terrorism itself cannot be observed, we can only look at facts.
Process of specifying what we mean by a term; giving definite meaning to concept
Giving meaning to our concept
What is considered as reasonable and not reasonable
Meaning that everyone agrees
A specifiable aspect of a concept; different aspects of the concept.
Ex. Violent vs. Non-violent terrorism
Indicator: A sign of the presence or absence of the concept (or dimension of the concept) we are
Dimension A: Spirituality
Dimension B: Social cohesion/devotion
[Ex: Concept: Romantic love
Own experiences or idea of what it is
Conceptualizing it: what does it really mean?
Feelings: trust, understanding, connection
Characteristics: similarity, differences
Behaviour aspect: affection, sacrifice, compromise
^A lot of these things can also represent friendship though! For romantic love, there’s also an aspect of
Start measuring! How do we know people have feeling of love?
How do you differentiate between love and like? So there was survey for friends and survey for
relationships. Scale for relationships was much higher on the level that they like their
Validity: Measuring the same thing in two different ways should produce very highly correlated. E
Ex. People in love look into each other’s eyes more often.
Is this true? –Different cultures, varies]
3 kinds of definitions, ways of defining
Real – essential nature of something; hardly used any more. We don’t really have that in social
sciences for love or terrorism (use nominal and operational)
Nominal – giving something a name, assign a term to it. Just going to call it, (ex.) “a reasonable
amount of debt”. Power, it isn’t real, but it’s a name.
Operational – how to measure if it matches nominal; operational definition might be if
measurable debt to income is less than 5%, that is a “reasonable amount of debt”
ex. Affection includes hugging, kissing, holding hands. – measured by observing through the
course of one day how frequent these actions occur. High affection – 10 hugs a day, low
affection 1 hug, etc. In making levels.
Process of specifying the exact operations involved in measure a variable.
Are we going to include all kinds of debts, are we going to include all sources of income
Deciding exactly how we’re going to measure it to figure out who does and doesn’t have reasonable
level of debt.
How are we going to operationalize it; the steps to take to do it.
Variables and Attributes
An attribute is a characteristic or quality of something; variables are logical sets of attributes
Ex: Gender is a variable, attributes of gender is either male or female
Ex. Religion is variable, Attributes are Buddhism, Christianity, Muslim, etc.
A variable’s attributes or values are exhaustive when every case can be classified into one of the
Means that it can apply to everybody.
A variable’s attributes or values are mutually exclusive if every case can have only one attribute
Ex: Gender, attributes are male or female. It is mutually exclusive if you could only be either or and not
Ex. Reasonable level of debt, either reasonable or unreasonable amount of debt