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Lecture

SOC200H1FLEC4.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC200H1
Professor
Loretta H O
Semester
Summer

Description
Lecture 4, May 24, 2012 Measurement and operationalization! What is our goal today? Our goal is to shift gears from theory to looking at measurement. Recall the discussion about theory in terms of paradigm, and theoretical framework. The point is how do we develop clear defined measurements for ideas? So these ideas in social science they are often times some thing fuzzy, they are not generally tangible ideas, so you can not really better observe these things, for instance how do you measure gender inequality? Or how do we measure happiness? These are sort of fuzzy you cannot actually look at something and say well I can see happiness is how many smile in your faces are so that is very simplistic so what we need to do is go through that process of conceptualization and operationalization so we know how we can measure these things so that they are not fuzzy at the time when you get grasp of them. These fuzzy concepts can be measured and in fact in this discipline there are studies that measure things that are tangible and not fuzzy. So it is more a norm, if you have things and try to conceptualize your concepts in research paper that is normal. It should be easily graspable and if it is there might be a problem. When the term fuzzy is used what it means is that concepts are abstract, abstract is the more relative way of using instead of fuzzy. So When we are confronted with abstract or fuzzy concept we have to think our way out whether or not we can measure it directly through direct observables or indirectly or through indirect observable. A direct observable can be directly observed, for example if I want to do a study on how what is the proportion of students who fall asleep during 1 lectures, this is something that you can do in a direct way, you can go to classrooms and count how many people are sleeping this is a direct observable. Direct observable studies are very simplistic and are not that common, not common at all in normal social science research. So we are going to focus more on indirect observable a lot of time what you end up doing in projects is to figure out the concepts that are not directly observable but are indirectly observables. Example: a persons reported income this is something that is not directly observable you can not see that, there is no sign or arrows that indicates and say I make 80000 dollars a year, in contrast to another person who make 20000 I am rich you can not see that it is something that you need to look at indirectly through variety of sources maybe you are very fortunate and get the tax return of that person but that is not likely so you have to get that information through different tactics through interviews for instance through observing different things that something happen looking through different sources that a person need to provide, so in that sense it is indirect observation. Measurement: There are 3 process to measurement, conceptualization, operationalization and measurement, so you need to go through these three processes as you measure in your proposal 1 you need to think about these stages. Conceptualization and operationalization is something that has to be done at the first stage of the research. 1st stage conceptualization: Conceptualization is basically the process of specifying what we mean with a particular term, so identifying what we mean. Why do we need to define concept, it is because not every one defines a term in certain 2 way, e.g education even it is used so often and most of people will think education is a straight forward concept, but here is the thing it can mean different types of education, in social science concept there is not static answer to definition, we need to think through how we define it. Are we talking about the years of education or types of education. Conceptualization is the first step to take before you go to and do any type of survey and examine survey. (Slide 7 memorize). Concepts are constructed meaning again that it is an abstract it is not something that a lot of people pick up and touch it is tangible for instance so it is constructed in a sense that you as a researchers you have to construct what that concept mean, the reason why you think that education is the amount of years that you have been at school education attainment is a concept, are there people who will say well, it means how many years you have been at school the reason why I think that is because previous researcher before have constructed what other researchers have conceptualized that concept of educational attainment. Generally concepts are not directly observable, when it is directly observable it is rare and generally not a concept it is generally you are observing more an occurrence of an even rather than conceptual pattern that we are trying to seek out so, how many people are sleeping that is an event rather than a concept that is grasped. Concepts because they are constructed and people construct them there are researcher bias, those construction are very heavily influenced by the theoretical standpoint or their standpoint in society through self research. So, where they are standing in society or what theoretical frame you have it really affect how you concepts are created. Conceptualization process is very concrete there are 2 steps that you need to take: The first step is 3 when you are confronted with the task of conceptualizing a concept is that you need to come up with a Nominal definition of a concept. A nominal definition is basically you need to understand how people define concept. If you go through the concepts you might get the knowledge that you have or you might be using dictionary/basic definition offered in a very rudimentary way in your field. So as you decide to define “educational attainment” as the number of years that is your nominal definition. once you have nominal definition that is the very first step, the second step you need to take into account, is thinking about the operational definition. 2 nd operationalization:In operational definition you need to say okay people have defined educational attainment in certain way, now you are doing a project on “educational attainment’ how am I going to define education attainment in my project specifically. You should not take nominal definition for granted, but you need to think of a definition that is important to you in project. Example: research on project that show or perpetuate gender inequality. (Youture movie toddler women Toddler Toddlers Tiaras) is a good example of Suppose we are analyzing the gender inequality in toddlers and. The very first step in conceptualization is that we have to come up with a nominal definition. We need to ask our self while watching the movie “what is gender inequality.” What is the nominal definition of gender inequality, unfair treatment of gender in society, patriarchy, unequal opportunity, there are so many definition that we can associate with gender inequality but in in general we can say that gender inequality has to do with inequality between men and women based on gender, in terms or rights and in terms of privileges, in terms of how they conduct themselves in society (nominal 4 definition). When we have nominal definition what we then need to do is to come up with a nominal definition, take it one step further, so now we have to figure out how we define gender inequality in terms of our project in specific. When we are theoretically going through we need to look at how we do the analysis Quantitatively and qualitative. Quantitative content analysis mean that when you go into and count certain things that is happening. For instance when you watch the video look at for instance girls wear bikini girls go crazy for certain thing for instance and so fort, quantitative method you actually count them that is the analysis. QUESTION regarding the video what would be an appropriate operational definition of gender inequality in the show. Answer The sexualization of infant (operational definition). After this we need to do is to operationalize our concept. Operationalization is the development of procedures to measure the concept. What would be the indicator of the concept so coming up with the indicator of the concept is basically what would be the operationalization of the concept. So our nominal definition of the movie was gender inequality and our operational definition is sexualizaiton of infant. Then we need to think about the indicators that we use that presents of sexualizaiton of infants, we need to think about What things count, what will I check off, and count as the sexualization of infants. If we were doing a quantitative research, we will go in to the field with the project and come up with the indicators before going to field. The best way to do this is that you have some sort of questionnaire that you can check as you are doing your research. Assume we are doing education and we want to operationalize In the process of st operationalization the following processes are important: 1 you need to think of 5 various range of education, for instance what are you measuring, is that appropriate range or do I have to make it smaller or bigger, lets say I need to operationalize my essay by asking question on the survey for instance asking what is the highest level of educational attainment and you have pre school kinder garden and all the way to occasional or you can do it between the year. The range of variation between two extremes the second point means is that each of those possibilities is that someone who want to check off between 0 and 20 years between pre school and PHD are you going to go by degrees or are you going to go and say by one to 7 years and so on. And if you are measuring in terms of degrees are you measuring bachelor or high school that you can go to count or the years. 3 point is dimensions to cover if you are thinking about education are you thinking in terms of traditional education system or other types of education such as aboriginal th education. 4 dimension is the interchangeability of indicators some times there is a concept that there are different types indicators that you can use as both stand for specific concept. Precarious work is used to define any types of work that is not full time. Is work that is not considered full time. Precarious work is also work that is in dangerous environment. So when we are talking about precarious work there are different types of indicators that might be interchangeable. Lower pay and poor benefits are both indicators of precarious work they are kind of interchangeable, some people might choose one indicator over the other. Back to the Example of Toddlers and Tiaras : So the nominal definition of Gender inequality we got then was that women and men are unequal because of the variety of reasons and concept. Our operational definition were two that we used the 6 sexualization of infants. Once we have the operational definition what we need to do is to think of how we might operationalize and find those indicators of the sexualization of infants. What things would indicate to us the presence sexualization of infants this is basically what is saying? Because this is a quantitative measurement we need to go in to the field already knowing what indicators we are going to use we need to come up with indicators first so If you are doing quantitative research that is deductive and most quantitative projects are deductive what you need to say in your project is that you say in your proposal that you are going to define your concepts you are going to conceptualize and operationalize concept before you are going to the fiend. We have conceptualize gender inequality We are going to operationalize the definition and now we are going to operationalize and look for indicators. That might be the number of times girl appear in bikini, or the number of times that girls are rewarded based on their looks. How do you decide on those indicators really depends on first of all what the literature says. There is indicator that is used in the literature. What you would do is that I WILL TAKE THOSE Indicator and turn them into number. Or If you want to do a survey on women who watch this show and how they perceive gender inequality are both on in this show and see If they watch this show and see how gender inequality is
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