Week 03 - What is a Measurement

Week 03 - What is a Measurement - Lec 03: Research Methods...

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Lec 03: Research Methods I o How we measure something is critical to how we understand; why are some measures better than others? What is a Measurement? Concept of measurement is intuitively simple Measure something two concepts involved o The thing you are measuring o The measurement you produce A Measurement is the relation between a system of labels and the property of an empirical object or event (duration of event, pleasantness of situation) o Ex, A ruler specifies the relation between length and property (# and unit) i.e. 3 ft table- length in one property, height, width, another property, composition – what is the table made of? Shape o To measure something, doesn’t necessarily mean it that we are going to give it #, we’re going to assign label o Some issues aren’t easily measured (child abuse, honesty) – the relationship is still there; we want the equivalent of a ruler for child abuse, etc Constructs and observations Problem: Sometimes the property you wish to measure cannot be observed directly (e.g. honesty- there is no one thing that corresponds to honesty, instead there are general impressions, and defn is constructed from behaviours we see) o Construct: Abstract properties of things that cannot be measured directly (we have to make them up, construct them from things we can see) o Conceptual or theoretical variables (we construct variables from individual observations) Variables and variability A variable is anything that can vary (listen to defn again**) o Measure property in different objects under different conditions o If you the same answer, not measuring a variable (it’s a concept) o If you get different answers, you are measuring a variable Variability is name for differences in measurements of property Its difficult to think of property that doesn’t vary; What produces the differences in measurement? Where does variables come from? What produces/causes variation? i.e honesty- construct: something in ppl that we can call honesty, amount doesn’t change over time, if we have a measurement system that tells us how much of variable we have on scale; what do these # mean? o Sources of variability are factors that can cause differences When you measure a construct, the result depends on things other than the construct you’re measuring o Measurement may respond to irrelevant values (constructs that are different than the one you are interested in, but is related to topic on interest) – religion, politics,
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Week 03 - What is a Measurement - Lec 03: Research Methods...

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