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### CRIM 430

Lecture 3: Concepts, Operationalization, and Measurement

Concepts to Measurement

- Conceptualization: Process by which we specify precisely what we mean when we use certain terms—working agreements to keep everyone on the “same page”
- Indicators: specification for determining the presence or absence of a concept
- E.g., crime seriousness (concept)harm to victim (indicator)

- Dimensions: Groupings within an indicator
- E.g., harm to victim (indicator)physical harm, economic harm (dimensions)

- Indicators: specification for determining the presence or absence of a concept
- Conceptual definition: Result of conceptualization—a working definition specifically assigned to a term
- Operational definition: Definition that clarifies exactly how the concept will be measured—most be specific and unambiguous
- Use the operational definition to conduct measurements in the real world
- These are decisions that you must make based on the literature and your expertise
- Not everyone will agree on how you define each level—you must be able to justify your terms

Measurement

- Process of assigning numbers or labels to units of analysis in order to represent conceptual properties
- Requires making observations and scoring those observations
- Measurement depends on the decisions made at the conceptual and operational definition levels

Measures

- Measures=Variables
- Measures should be exhaustive: Represent all possible characteristics
- Measures should be exclusive: Must be able to classify each observation in terms of one and only one attribute

Levels of Measurement

- Nominal: Variable has only characteristics of exhaustiveness and exclusiveness-
- No rank ordering

- Ordinal: Variables whose attributes may be logically rank ordered but the difference between each attribute is not relevant or measured
- Interval: Variables in which the distance between rank ordered attributes is meaningful
- Ratio: Same as interval but are based on a true zero point

Criteria for Measurement Quality

- Reliability=Consistency…Does a measurement technique yield the same result each time when repeatedly applied?
- Validity=Accuracy…Does an empirical measure adequately reflect the meaning of the concept under consideration?
- Good measurement has both reliability and validity

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