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SOAN 2120 Study Guide - Operational Definition, Operationalization

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

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Lecture Notes Mon. Jan. 28th 2013
-the process of taking the fussy ideas and coming to agreement about the meaning
-is the process of specifying what we mean by a term
-a clear, verbal specification of your variable (concept) so that others know what it
is and van place cognitive borders around it
-the end result of conceptualization
-is an abstract term referring to a group of phenomena that enable us to link
separate observations and to make generalizations e.g. apathy, participation,
liberalism etc.
-concepts : abstract elements representing classes of phenomena
-building blocks of theories
-e.g. love, gender, health, obedience, conflict
-we need to be specific in our definitions for measuring
-we can measure: constructs
-can not be observed directly or indirectly
-theoretically created based on observations
-concepts leads to constructs
-conceptualization: the process of coming to an agreements about what concepts
mean and represent with regard to social and physical reality
-a sign of the presence or absence of the variable we are studying
-we will discover disagreements in definitions of our concepts and indicators of
these concepts
-stage when we decide how we will measure concepts within a study
-most importantly, how variables will be measured
-measuring ethnic background based on mother tongue
-measuring sex based on genitalia
-measuring academic success based on GPA
Interchangeability of indicators
-researchers will not agree on all indicators for a given concept
-however, the concept of interchangeability of indicators suggests that they will
behave in the same way that the concept would if it was real and measurable
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