# Conceptualization and Operationalization

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Conceptualization and Operationalization

Conceptualization and Concepts
Conceptualization is a process of defining the agreed meaning of the terms used in a study. Indicators are identified to mark the presence or absence of a concept. Some concepts have more than one aspect or facet, called dimensions. The interchangeability of indicators means that if several indicators represent the same concept, they should behave in the same way as the concept.

From Conceptualization to Operationalization
From conceptualization the researcher creates a nominal definition to identify the focus of the study. An operational definition is created to defined the procedures or steps used in measuring a concept. An operational definition must be specific and unambiguous.

Operationalization Choices
Operational decisions are made based on the purposes of the study. What is the necessary range in variation in measuring your concept? How fine must the measure indicate variation between the attributes of a variable? Which dimensions are important to your study?

Levels of Measurement At all the levels, the attributes must be:
Exhaustive Mutually exclusive Levels of Measurement Nominal Measures Ordinal Measures Interval Measures Ratio Measures

Nominal Levels of Measurement
Variables only have attributes that are mutually exclusive and exhaustive. Names or labels are offered for the attributes characteristics Is measured by counting the frequencies of each attribute. Example: What is your primary source of news? Television Newspapers Radio Magazines Internet Other

Ordinal Levels of Measurement
Measure variables that can be logically rank-ordered. The attributes of a variable indicate relatively more or less of that variable. The actual distance between the attributes of a variable is imprecise. Example: How important are newspapers as your news source? Not Very Important Fairly Important Very Important Most important source

Interval Level of Measurement
Measures variables in which the distance between the attributes is important. The measure assumes the logical distance between the attributes of the variables through standard intervals. Example: Newspapers are an important source of news information for me. Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree The Internet is an important source of news information for me.

Ratio Level of Measurement
Measures are based on a true zero point. Example: What is your age?

Measurement Reliability
125 pounds 140 pounds An instrument consistently measures the variable of interest In order for an instrument to be valid, it must also be reliable - A reliable instrument, however, is not necessarily valid

Creating Reliable Measures
Test-Retest Method Alternative-Form Method Internal Consistency Method Split-half reliability Item-total reliability Use Established Measures Assessing Reliability of Research Workers Inter-observer or inter-coder agreement Reliability coefficients should be at least equal to .70 to demonstrate a reliable measure.

Measurement Validity Does the empirical measure observe what it purports to observe? Does the measure appropriately (adequately and accurately) reflect the meaning of the concept?

Creating Valid Measures
Content Validity Face Validity Expert Panel Validity Criterion Validity Predictive Validity Concurrent Validity Construct Validity Convergent Validity Discriminant Validity Representational Validity

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