Chapter 6 Notes
Chapter 6 – Qualitative and Quantitative Measurement
- Quantitative researchers are concerned about measurement issues (how many, facts,
numbers, information etc.) than are qualitative researchers (feelings, insights,
- Measurement is seen as a distinct step in the research process that occurs prior to data
collection. (Deductive approach)
- Qualitative researchers’ inductive approach develops ways to capture and express
variable and non-variable concepts using various alternatives to numbers.
- Measurements in a way, extend our senses. (Telescope extends natural vision,
thermometer gives better measurement of weather than our touch, bathroom scale is
more precise than lifting someone and calling them ‘heavy/light’
Quantitative and Qualitative Measurement
- A difference between the two styles involves timing. Quantitative researchers think about
variables and convert them into specific actions during a planning stage that occurs
before and separate from gathering/analyzing data. Measurement for qualitative
researchers occurs during the data collection process.
- Second difference is the data itself. Quantitative researchers develop techniques that
can produce quantitative data (data in form of numbers). However data for qualitative
researchers can be in numbers but often includes written/spoken words, actions,
sounds, symbols, images etc.
- A third difference is how the two styles make such linkages. Quantitative researchers
contemplate and reflect on concepts before they gather data. Qualitative researchers
also reflect on ideas before data collection, but they develop many of their concepts
during data collection.
Parts of the Measurement Process
- Conceptualization: the process of taking a construct and refining it by giving it a
- Conceptual Definition: is a definition in abstract, theoretical terms. It refers to other
ideas/constructs. It involves thinking carefully, observing directly, consulting with others,
reading what others have said, and trying possible definitions.
- Prejudice: an attitude about another group and involves a prejudgment, or judging prior
to getting specific information.
- Operationalization: links a conceptual definition to a specific set of measurement
techniques/procedures, the constructs operational definition. An operational definition
could be a survey questionnaire, a method of observing events in a field setting, a way
to measure symbolic content in the mass media, or any process carried out by the CCT208H5S
Chapter 6 Notes
researcher that reflects, documents, or represents the abstract construct as it is express
in the conceptual definition. (Links language of theory with the language of empirical
Quantitative Conceptualization and Operationalization
- Measurement process for quantitative research flows in straightforward sequence:
o Applying the operational definition or measuring to collect the data
- Conceptual hypothesis: type of hypothesis where researcher expresses variables in
abstract, conceptual terms and expresses the relationship among variables in a
- Empirical hypothesis: type of hypothesis where researcher expresses variables in
specific terms and expresses the association among the measured indicators of
observable, empirical evidence.
- A researcher first conceptualizes a variable, giving it a clear conceptual definition. Next,
s/he operationalizes it by developing an operational definition/set of indicators for it. Last,
s/he applies the indicators in the empirical world. The links from abstract constructs to
empirical reality allow the researcher to test empirical hypotheses.
Qualitative Conceptualization and Operationalization
- Instead of refining abstract ideas into theoretical definitions early in the research
process, qualitative researchers refine rudimentary ‘working ideas’ during the data
collection and analysis process.
- As the researcher gathers/analyzes qualitative data, s/he develops new concepts,
formulates definitions for the concepts, and considers relationships among the concepts.
- Qualitative researchers form the concepts as they examine their data (field notes, photos
- In this method, conceptualization is largely determined by the data.
- A researcher forms conceptual definitions out of rudimentary working ideas that s/he
used while making observations or gathering data.
- Qualitative researcher operationalizes by describing how specific observations and
thoughts about the data contributed to working ideas that are the basis of conceptual
definitions and theoretical concepts. (Data gathering occurs with prior to full
Reliability and Validity
- Reliability: dependability or consistency. Suggests that the same thing is repeated or
recurs under the identical or very similar conditions. CCT208H5S
Chapter 6 Notes
- Validity: suggests truthfulness and refers to the match between a construct, or the way
researcher conceptualizes the idea in a conceptual definition, and a measure. Refers to
how well an idea about reality ‘fits’ with actual reality.
Reliability and Validity in Quantitative Research
- Reliability in quantitative research means that numerical results do not vary in the
measurement process. (Ex. Going on a bathroom scale and seeing the weight is the
same each time I step on it is valid, however if the weight keeps changing then the tool
is broken and thus unreliable)
- Reliability could be improved by
o Clearly conceptualizing all constructs
o Increase the level of measurement
o Using multiple indicators of a variable
o Using pretests, pilot studies and replication
- Measurement validity: how well an empirical indicator and the conceptual definition of
the construct that the indicator is supposed to measure ‘fit’ together.
- Types of Validity
o Face Validity (In the judgment of others)
The indicator really measures the construct. Do people believe that the
definition and method of measurements fit? (Asking a college student
what 2+2 is, In order to see how well they are in math is a horrible
o Content Validity (captures the entire meaning)
Is the full content of a definition represented in a measure? Measures
should represent all ideas/areas in the conceptual space.
o Criterion Validity (agrees with an external source)
Validity of an indicator is verified by comparing it with another measure of
the same construct that is widely accepted. Two types:
• Concurrent Validity