: Measuring Variables
Measurement is one of the foundational aspects of science and knowledge. It allows researchers, once they have defined and conceptualized their variables, to measure (not just observe) them in order to conduct analysis. How well variables (i.e., phenomena) are defined and measured affects what can be known about them and the overall validity of that research as a whole. Judgments about evidence to support a particular intervention are not just about the demonstration of successful outcomes but also entail considerations about the quality of the measures of these outcomes.
Measurement scales are distinguished by their level: nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio. A variable can have any of these levels. For example, a variable that has a nominal-level measurement scale is commonly referred to as a nominal-level variable or, simply, a nominal variable. There are many factors to consider when choosing a particular level of measurement and so it is important to make sure you are using the correct level of measurement when conducting a research study. The measurement chosen can support whether your study is valid and reliable.
For this Application Assignment, consider the differences between measurement and observation. Then think about the differences between and among nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio levels of measurement and why it is important to know the level(s) of measurement in a study. Finally, consider how you might improve the validity and reliability of variable conceptualization and measurement.
The assignment (2–3 pages):
- Explain differences between measurement and observation.
- Explain differences between the four levels of measurement: nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.
- Explain why it is important to know the level(s) of measurement for variables in a study.
- Describe two techniques that may be used to improve the validity and reliability of variable measurement.
Application: Cooper’s Ethical Decision-Making Model
Often, public administrators’ morals and identity as well as their capacity for decision making and innovation are entangled in their standard of ethics. These entanglements may cause challenges in determining ethical behavior. However, such entanglements are necessary. Public service is society’s instrument for managing and resolving complex, interdependent issues affecting all individuals and organizations. Public expectations and formal standards demand that public administrators undertake sophisticated ethical reasoning and apply rigorous ethical standards to decisions and behavior.
As discussed in the text, Cooper’s ethical decision-making model assists the responsible public administrator in assessing and addressing ethical dilemmas. Public administrators need to consider all underlying factors of a dilemma and the potential solutions in order to ensure the most proper outcome.
For this Assignment, review the following resources:
- Chapter 2 of The Responsible Administrator, focusing on the components of ethical decision making
- Dryburgh (2009), “Personal and Policy Implications of Whistle-Blowing: The Case of Corcoran State Prison”
The Assignment (3 -4 pages in APA format): To demonstrate proper case analysis using Cooper’s ethical decision-making model, your assignment should include the following:
- A description of the situation and the ethical issues involved in this case study (Dryburgh, 2009)
- A description of the possible courses of action that the guards could have taken
- An explanation of why they chose to be whistle blowers
- An explanation of the positive and negative consequences for each possible course of action the guards could have taken
- An explanation of how the ethical dilemma was resolved as well as its impact on the organization and individuals involved