Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Measurement may be defined as the process that connects theoretical concepts with empirical indicator(s) designed to represent those concepts. As such, it is vitally important to social science research. This entry presents the most important properties of measurement, validity, and reliability, in their various forms. In addition, measurement levels, scales, indices, and related statistical techniques are briefly discussed. It has been argued that inadequate measurement, more than mistaken concepts or faulty hypotheses, has hindered progress in the social sciences. The sources of inadequate measurement are complex but may be rooted in an oft-cited definition of measurement. In 1951, Stanley Smith Stevens characterized measurement as assigning numbers to objects or events according to particular rules. This is in itself an inadequate conceptualization of the process. It presents measurement as an empirical, almost mechanistic process that overlooks the important role of theory in social science research. Until researchers have worked through their ...