PS102Lecture4

PS102Lecture4 - MeasuringPoliticalConcepts PS102

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PS 102 INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL INQUIRY LECTURE 4 Measuring Political Concepts
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The Centrality of Measurement Measurement is one of the core activities of science Translates theory into reality Poor measures break the tie between theory and  evidence Evidence no longer tests hypotheses Concepts must be given an “operational definition” Explicit Specific Empirical
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A Measurement Example: “Support for the War in Iraq” What does it mean to “support” the Iraq War? Support decision to attack? Support President’s handling of the war? Support keeping US troops in Iraq? Support for decision to attack? “Worth it” ~ 35% “Not a mistake” ~ 39% Support for Obama’s handling of Iraq ~ 60% troops ~ 70%
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Measurement Characteristics Validity Correspondence between operational definition and concept it  seeks to measure Reliability Extent to which measuring procedure produces the same result  on repeated trial A perfectly valid measure is reliable, but the reverse  is not true In practice we often face tradeoffs between validity  and reliability Richness versus rigor
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Face validity: Asserted rather than demonstrated but not demonstrated Measurement instrument appears to measure the concept as  intended Example: Military spending as a measure of arms  races Content validity: Delineating full meaning of a concept and then ensuring all  aspects are included in the measure
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This note was uploaded on 10/21/2011 for the course POL SCI 102 taught by Professor Gelpi during the Spring '11 term at Duke.

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PS102Lecture4 - MeasuringPoliticalConcepts PS102

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