Chapter Five: Defining and measuring concepts

This chapter is mainly focused on quantitative research methods, as the level of specificity required to begin quantitative research is far greater than that of qualitative research. In quantitative research, you must specify how you define and plan to measure each concept before you can interact with your participants. In qualitative research, definitions emerge from how participants respond to your questions. Because your participants are the experts, qualitative research does not begin with defining concepts at the level of specificity and clarity required for quantitative research. For this reason, we will focus mostly on quantitative measurement and conceptualization in this chapter, addressing qualitative research later in the textbook.

Chapter Outline

  • 5.1 Measurement
  • 5.2 Conceptualization
  • 5.3 Levels of measurement
  • 5.4 Operationalization
  • 5.5 Measurement quality
  • 5.6 Challenges in quantitative measurement

Content Advisory

This chapter includes information or discusses measuring depression and loneliness among residents of an assisted living facility.


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Foundations of Social Work Research Copyright © 2020 by Rebecca L. Mauldin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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