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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”

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CRIM 430

Lecture 3: Concepts, Operationalization, and Measurement

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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)

  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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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

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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