JOUR 601 Lecture 15: Theoretical Concepts 601
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Concepts are the building blocks of theory.
Theory are the things being studied, compared, and related to one another.
A concept is an abstraction that describes a part of reality.
Constructs, Concepts, and Variables
Construct and concept are sometimes used interchangeably
Differences in the use of these terms are centered on the assumption about how abstract
generalization is with constructs being more abstract or general than concepts.
These concepts can be broken down into more specific units called variables
Variable is used as the point of measuring a concept or construct
It is a measurable version of a concept or construct that can take on two or more values.
A value is some part or quantity of the variable
Variables vs. Nonvariables
Concepts are valuable to the extent that they could be related to other concepts
If you substitute thee concept of sex for the concept of female, it converts a one-variable
statement into a two-variable hypothesis that is testable using statistics.
One-variable statements make about one segment of the population could hide assumptions
about the relationship between population subgroups.
By replacing a nonvariable with a variable, the assumption becomes exposed and turns into a
By comparing, for example, women’s reading to men’s reading, this creates a point of
Variables acting as Nonvariables
Sometimes a concept that acts as a variable will act as a nonvariable
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