Scaling and Measurement Techniques: Needs of Measurement

Measurement can be defined as a process of associating numbers to observations obtained in a research study. The variables associated with a study are classified into two basic categories:

  1. Quantitative/ Numeric
  2. Qualitative / Categorical

Incidentally, only quantitative variables can be measured with the help of standard counting devices and qualitative variables can only be observed, there is no standard device or instrument to measure them. For example, in case of human beings, there are certain Quantitative (physical) characteristics like height, weight etc. and there are certain qualitative (abstract) characteristics like beauty, attitude, creativity etc.

Like human beings, a business organization has also some Physical characteristics like employees, sales, offices etc. Being physical in nature these are easily measurable. However, there are certain abstract characteristics like reputation of the employees, image of the entity, motivation, work culture, commitment, trust, customer’s perception, feelings of customers. All these are extremely important because they help the company to stay afloat and grow.

Therefore characteristics have to be measured for their meaningful assessment. This can be done by assigning some numbers and forming scales.

Classification or Types of Measurement Scales All measurement scales can be classified into the following four categories:

(i) Nominal

(ii) Ordinal

(iii) Interval

(iv) Ratio

Properties of Scales:-

  • Distinctive classification
  • Order
  • Equal distance
  • Fixed origin

Measurement is the process observing and recording the observations that are collected as part of a research effort. There are two major issues that will be considered here.

First, you have to understand the fundamental ideas involved in measuring. Here we consider two of major measurement concepts. In Levels of Measurement, I explain the meaning of the four major levels of measurement: nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio. Then we move on to the reliability of measurement, including consideration of true score theory and a variety of reliability estimators.

Second, you have to understand the different types of measures that you might use in social research. We consider four broad categories of measurements. Survey research includes the design and implementation of interviews and questionnaires. Scaling involves consideration of the major methods of developing and implementing a scale. Qualitative research provides an overview of the broad range of non-numerical measurement approaches. And unobtrusive measures presents a variety of measurement methods that don’t intrude on or interfere with the context of the research.

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