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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Nussbaum

Chapter 4 – Conceptualization and Measurement Height and weight are two distinct physical features of people and perhaps mental health and mental illness are two distinct psychological features of people Developing and Defining Constructs - A psychological theory specifies the conceptual meaning of key terms and it identifies how variables are to be measured or operationalized - A Conceptual framework can be thought of as a network of interlocking relationships linking theoretical ideas to concrete variables and their measurements. Construct specified in a theory in order to explain, and predict a wide range of related empirical findings Operational Definitions of Constructs - A construct needs to be translated into an operational definition provides a recipe for specifying variables that are to be used to measure a construct - An operational definition identifies the independent variables that are expected to produce the construct - Defined as the scientific study of ordinary human strengths and virtues: Positive Psychology seeks to learn about human thriving, flourishing, optimism, resilience, joy, and capabilities - Mental health is an enduring sense of well being and happiness that a person regularly experiences in life - Mental illness= Mental disorder presence of a diagonosible mental disorder, and these lists of symptoms are presented in the DSM, the other component is evidence that the symptoms have interfered with aspects of everyday functioning in such areas as work leisure, school and interpersonal relationships - We define measurement as the process by which numbers are used to designate objects or events according to some objective rule (the way numbers are used to represent a particular scale of measurement) - A variable can have one of four scales of measurement: nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio Nominal variables attributes rather than values (look at exhibit 4.3 on pg 103) - A variable’s attributes or values are mutually exclusive if every case can have only one attribute - A variable’s attributes or values are exhaustive when every case can be classified into one of the categories - Dichotomies variables having only two values are a special case from the standpoint of levels of measurement - The values or attributes of a variable such as gender clearly vary in kind or quality, but not in amount. - Thus, the variable is categorical—measured at the nominal level. Ordinal level of Measurement at this level, the numbers assigned to response choices allow for ‘greater than’ and ‘less than’ distinctions aka ranking scale Likert Scale 1= none of the time 2= a little of the time 3= some of the time 4= most of the time 5= all of the time. EX. using a scale ranging from 0 (worst possible life overall) to 10 (best possible life overall) Interval level of measurement has all the characteristics of nominal and ordinal scales of measurement - Uses a scale on which distances between any 2 points are of known size, the numbers indicating the values of a variable at the interval level of measurement represent fixed measurement units but have no absolute, or fixed, zero point - What this means is that a zero value on an interval scale doesn’t indicate the complete absence of the measured variable even if the scaled values happen to carry the name ‘zero’ Ratio level of measurement represent fixed measuring units and an absolute zero point (zero means absolutely no amount of whatever the variable indicates) - Ex. Income is measured on a ratio scale, as no income equals zero dollars and cents - Ex. Weight is also measured on a ratio scale, as the scale of ounces and pounds have a genuine zero point Nonparametric Statistics test hypotheses for variables that use either a nominal or an ordinal scale of measurement (ex. chi square test) Parametric Statistics used with variables that are measured on either an interval or ratio scale (ex. T-test Statistic) - Parametric stats are preferable because they provide a more powerful test than do nonparametric stats of a research hypothesis, that is parametric stats provide the best chance of establishing whether there is a relationship between independent and dependent variables Psychometrics school of psychology that studies the application of psychological tests as objective measures of the mind and mental processes (psychometric literally means to ‘measure the mind’) - Negative stereotypes about race and IQ threaten performance of African American s who have become identified by academic achievement. This is known as stereotype threat. - At the heat of the psychometric approach is that people have certain levels of psychological traits, such as those related to intelligence, personality, or attitudes and that these presumed enduring and stable dispositions can be measured by objective tests - Equally important for the psychometric approach are competencies, such as those related to scholastic aptitude or academic achievement that can also be measured by objective pencil and paper tests - Psychometrics provides us with the most powerful set of tools and concepts for the measurement of human traits. Psychometrics requires the standardization of both test administration and test scoring. - Standardization simply means that testing, scoring and interpretation procedures are uniform across all administrations of the test. - In constructing a psychometric test, a researcher identifies a standardization sample, which is defined as a random selection of people drawn from a carefully defined population - From the standardization sample, the norms of the test are calculate
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