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A variable is a property that takes on different

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Avariableisa property that takes on different values,something that varies. It can also be defined asa characteristic or attribute of an individual or organization that researchers can measure or observeand which varies among individuals or organizations studied (Creswell, 2012: 112).Characteristicsof individuals refer to organismic aspects, such as gender, age, level of education, and so on.Attributesrepresent how an individual or individuals in an organization feel, behave, or think, saywhether they display leadership behaviour. More precisely, it isa symbol to which numerals or valuesare assigned. For example, the variablexis a symbol that can take onany justifiable continuous set ofvalues(also calledcontinuousvariables) for example, scores on an intelligence test or an attitudescale. In the case of intelligence, we can assign toxa set of numerical values yielded by the proceduredesignated in specified test of intelligence, ranging from low to high, from say 50 to 150. A variablecan also takeonly two values(also calledbinaryvariables/dichotomies/dichotomousvariables).Forexample, ifgenderis the construct under study, then x can be assigned 1 and 0, where 1 representsone of the genders and 0 the other. Other examples of variables include income level, social class,verbal aptitude, religious affiliation anxiety, racial prejudice, political preference, citizenship,As observed earlier, constructs and variables need to be defined in such a way that they can bemeasured. There are two ways of doing so. First, you canuse other words to define a word in theplace of the word or expression being defined, more or less what a dictionary does. Thus,‘intelligence’ can be defined as ‘operating intellect’, ‘mental activity’, ‘ability to think abstractedly’.This is called aconstitutivedefinition whichdefines a construct using other constructs. Secondly, youcan define a word byassigning expressed or implied actions or behaviours. Thus, ‘intelligence ofsecond-grade children’ can be defined by specifying which behaviours of the children are ‘intelligent’and which ones are ‘not intelligent’. We may say that a seven-year old child who successfully reads astory is ‘intelligent’ while one who cannot read the story as ‘not intelligent’. This kind of definition iscalled anobservational,behaviouraloroperationaldefinition, whichassigns meaning to a constructor a variable by specifying the activities or operations necessary to measure it and evaluate themeasure, aspecification of the activities of the researcher in measuring a variable or in manipulatingit. Operational definitions can either be measured or experimental, the former describing how avariable will be measured and the latter spelling out the operations/details of the investigator’smanipulation of the variable. For example, achievement can be measured by a standardizedachievement test, by grades or a teacher-made test. Reinforcement can be measured by giving outdetails of how subjects will be reinforced/rewarded and not reinforced/rewarded for specifiedbehaviours.

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