ScWk 240 Research Methods and Design Week 4 9/19/08 San José State UniversityEdward Cohen, Ph.D.Measurement Juliet: “Tis but thy name that is my enemy…What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” From: Shakespeare’s Romeo and JulietI.Check in about Written Assignment #1 II.Conceptualization and Operationalization A.Conceptual definition: A conceptual definition is a specific theoretical meaning of a term, but usually NOT one used for describing measurement. (It’s what you would find in a dictionary.) “Self-esteem is the personal judgment of self-worth.” *** These types of definitions are found in the literature review B.Operational definition: An operational definition is the explicit specification of a variable in such a way that its measurement is possible. “Self-esteem is the self-rated score of personal worth measured by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem inventory.” *** These types of definitions are found in the methods section ***Note: For some variables, the conceptual definition is self-explanatory, such as “gender” **Student report: Give two examples of how variables can be operationalized. C.Operationalization is the process of developing operational definitions of the variables that are contained within the concepts of a quantitative research study. Some variables have self-explanatory conceptual definitions, such as “gender.” More Examples: “Ethnicity”is the self-reported ethnic group of birth, origin or self-identification (conceptual definition) where participants can be classified as European American, African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American, or Other (operational definition) Happiness: The state of feeling happy (conceptual)measured by a total score on 1
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