Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ResearchMethods: Operationalization: Definition of Operationalization :) (U5-P1) [VID] Sp13

What is an operational definition?  What does it mean to operationalize a variable?

  • “A statement that describes the observable characteristics of a concept being investigated…”(Frey, et.al).
  • “Specifies the procedures [or operations] the researcher uses to observe the variables” (Stacks, et.al)
  • Both I.V.s & D.V.s need O.D.s
  • Operational definitions allow you to measure a variable.

What does the following Jeff Foxworthy comedy have to do with operationalization?  What is Foxworthy doing in his jokes?

Operationalization Examples:

1. Let's say you are going to do some research on prejudice, how would you operationalize prejudice?

  • Start with the conceptual definition or dictionary definition:
    • “the irrational hatred or suspicion of a particular group, race, religion, or sexual orientation”(Jandt).
  • What would the operational definition be?  How would you measure prejudice?

2. Let's say you are going to do some research on violence and video games, how would you operationalize violence?

3. Let's say you are going to do some research on the effects of television on children, what would be the variables you'd study and how would you operationalize them?


What are the basic “operational procedures” or ways of measuring variables?

Operational procedures:

  1. Self-report 
  2. Observer’s ratings
  3. Observe behavior

How would you use these procedures with prejudice or violence?  Which would "work" better?

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