conceptual definition describes what a concept means by relating it other abstract concepts.
Defines an abstract term by using other abstract terms.
Ex. Love- deep tender feeling of affection
-Ex. take word definitions a step beyond our common sense view of it
operational definition defines an abstract concept in terms of observational behaviors.
Specifies how the concept can be observed in actual practice.
Ex. Holding hands, Kissing
- Researchers simply cant’ specify all the observable characteristics of concepts such as love,
wisdom, maturity, evil, or even communication competence, but they never cease trying to devise
useful, working operational definitions for conducting research about such complex concepts.
Nominal (lowest) – Nominal variables are differentiated on the basis of type of
; may be
named by words (such as male and female or yes and no) or by numbers (such as phone
numbers or license plate numbers on cars).
Numbers references the different categories,
not the degree or the amount of variable.
– not arranged in any particular order
- must be classifiable into at least two different categories, exhibiting three qualities
1- categories must be mutally exclusive
2-categories must be equivalent
3- categories must be exhaustive
- Usually measure independent variables,
using nominal measurements.
- Many background variables (aka classification, individual-difference, organismic, or subject
variables, backgrounds that may influence other variables but will not be influenced by them –
such as one’s nationality
- dependent variables most basic way to answer researchers is “yes or no”
Ordinal – classify variables into nominal categories, but
order those categories along some
Provides ore information about a variable than a nominal measurement,
because they transform discrete classifications into ordered classifications, in
Ex. Rank the president on a scale from 1-6
Interval measurement – Categorize, rank order, and
establish equal distances between each
adjacent points along the measurement scale.
The interval between the measurement
between the points on a Fahrenheit / Celsius temperature scale.
They also have an arbitrary zero
point on the scale, can have potentially positive and negative points.
Ratio Measurment – categorize, rank, establish equal intervals between adjacent points, but
establish an absolute, or true zero point where the variable being measured ceases to exist.
you cant’ be zero years old, weight- you can’t be zero.
Common in physical instances.
Three operational procedures researchers use
Self –Reports :
measure their target characteristics/behaviors.
Ask people to comment
The answers are taken as a reading of the operationally defined concept.