Exercise 10 – Measurement

Part 1

In this exercise, I would like for you to think of ways in which to measure the following concepts. For each, I would like for you to write a question, followed by a list of possible answers. I would also like for you to tell me the level of measurement you have chosen. Note that your question should be precise and your answer choices exhaustive.

For example, if I were to construct a measure of “legal status” to be used in an investigation involving immigrants and refugees, I would have a answer that looks like this:

  • Concept: legal status
  • Level of Measure: nominal
  • Question: What is your current legal status in the USA?
  • Answer Choices:
    • Naturalized Citizen
    • Legal Permanent Resident
    • Temporary Visitor (Student visa, work permit, asylee, etc).
    • Undocumented

Note that the answer choices contain all possible statuses that an immigrant or refugee could have without duplication, ambiguity, or overlap.

Let’s look at another example, using the concept of education. What is an education? Is it the years of formal schooling that one may have? If so, then we might break it down like this:

  • Concept: education
  • Level of Measure: ratio
  • Question: How many years of schooling have you completed?
  • Answer Choices:
    • 0-100 years

However, if we think of education in terms of what kinds of degrees one may have obtained, then our answer would look like this:

  • Concept: education
  • Level of Measure: ordinal
  • Question: What is the highest degree that you have completed?
  • Answer Choices:
    • less than high school
    • high school diploma
    • some college
    • associate’s degree
    • bachelor’s degree
    • master’s degree
    • doctorate

For the following concepts , you will need to identify level of measure, question, and answer choices:

[coder: make each of the items below link to a thick box with a form to look like the following:

Concept: [label]
Level of Measure: [text field]
Question: [text field]
Answer Choices [text field1][text field2][text field3][+ text field]

[update or submit button]

  • race
  • age
  • educational attainment
  • sex (gender)
  • political party
  • sexual orientation
  • place of birth
  • religion

When you have finished with entering the information for the eight concepts click Next to continue.

[next] [coder: run a validation to ensure all information is filled in for the 8 forms. If not, show a dialog box telling them to complete the form for X, Y, Z forms.]

Part 2

Great! So, back in the previous exercise you arrived at a testable hypothesis with both dependent and independent variables. However, you haven’t yet said how you are going to measure your variables. Now that you know more about how to measure a given concept, we need to identify concepts and operationalize the dependent variables (DV) and independent variables (IV) for your research hypothesis.

In the following fields, I would like you to identify level of measure, question, and answer choices for your DV and IV:

[coder: make each of the items below link to a thick box with their respective forms:

Independent Variable: [text field]
Level of Measure: [text field]
Question: [text field]
Answer Choices [text field1][text field2][text field3][+ text field]

Dependent Variable: [text field]
Level of Measure: [text field]
Question: [text field]
Answer Choices [text field1][text field2][text field3][+ text field]

[update or submit button]

When you have finished with entering the information for the independent and dependent variables click Next to continue.

[next][coder: run a validation to ensure all information is filled in for both forms. If not, show a dialog box telling them to complete the form for X and/or Y forms.]

So, tell me, why did you decide to use these levels of measurement? Are the questions clearly worded? Are your answer choices exhaustive? Do they overlap at all? What other ways could you have measured your variables? Why did you use the one you chose?

Conclusion.

In this activity you have developed a way to measure the variables in your research project. [link to the completed forms]

These variables will be used to test your research hypothesis. We will continue to refine this as you develop your research plan and then, in Module 4, we will develop a research instrument to collect data.

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