Measuring Variables

Measuring Variables

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8116-3.ch004
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Abstract

In this chapter, students will learn the basics of measuring variables related to a deductive research question. Students are presented with examples that illustrate when it is most appropriate to use surveys, experimentation, and/or existing data to measure one's variables. A surface explanation of writing survey questions, designing a social scientific experiment, and identifying existing data sources is discussed.
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What Does Measurement Entail?

In simplest terms, measurement involves applying numbers or labels to variables. Researchers use the six primary empirical tools discussed in Chapter 1 to measure the variables that were identified and defined in Chapter 3. Those empirical tools include:

  • 1.

    Surveys

  • 2.

    Interviews

  • 3.

    Focus groups

  • 4.

    Observation

  • 5.

    Experimentation

  • 6.

    Existing Data

Recall that surveys, experimentation, and existing data are deductive measurement tools. They are best suited for quantitative hypothesis testing. On the other hand, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and field observation are better suited for inductive measurement, as they are principally used to generate hypotheses. For our purposes in this chapter, a cursory overview of measurement will be presented through the lenses of survey research, experimentation, and the use of existing data resources.

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