RESEARCH

METHODS

Lecture 5

CONCEPTS
AND
VARIABLES

Concept • Things we observe  Observable realities  physical or abstract • For purposes of identification of a reality we try to give a name to it. . • These constructs are concepts. Part of language • Names are constructs. • By using name we communicate with others.

• Concepts can be symbols. Concepts are mental images of reality • Concept is an idea expressed as symbol or in words. • Agreement to represent ideas by sounds or written words. . • Words are also symbols.

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. An Abstraction of reality • Table. leadership. • It may be called an abstraction of empirical reality. productivity. morale are all labels given to some phenomenon (reality)  • Concepts stand for phenomenon not the phenomenon itself.

Concepts are Abstractions of Reality Abstract Level CONCEPTS Empirical OBSERVATION OF OBJECTS Level AND EVENTS (REALITY) .

wider in scope. the basic concept becomes more abstract. and less measurable.Degree of Abstraction • Moving up the ladder of abstraction. .

A Ladder Of Abstraction For Concepts Increasingly more abstract Vegetation Fruit Banana Reality .

• We borrow from other disciplines. family. Sources of Concepts • We create concepts from personal experience. speed. • We develop a specialized jargon or terminology for a particular subject. Mass. .

. Importance to Research • Concepts are basic to all thought and communication. • We use concepts in hypothesis formulation. • Special problems grow out of the need for concept precision and inventiveness.

Dictionary (theoretical) definition 2. • Definitions are one way to reduce this danger. • Two types of definitions: 1. Definitions • Confusions about the meanings of concepts can destroy the value of a study. . Operational definition.

” “client. Dictionary definition • Also called as Conceptual/Theoretical/Nominal • Concept is defined with a synonym. Use other constructs to explain a construct.” “a satisfied worker”? . • How to define a “customer.

• Concrete indicators that can be observed/measured. Specify empirical indicators. .Operational Definition • Working definition: stated in terms of specific testing or measurement criteria.

 operational definition  data. . We use both the definitions in research • Observational phenomenon  Construct  Conceptual def.

VARIABLE .

Variable • A central idea in research. Religion. Absenteeism. Age. amount. • Variable is a concept that varies. 2+ values. Gender. or type. Motivation. Examples • Production units. Autumn . intensity. • Anything (concept/term) that can take on differing or varying values. Grade. Could be numerical. • Variation can be in quantity.

Autumn .

Friendship .

Types of Variable .

Continuous and Discontinuous Variable • Can the values be divided into fractions? • Discontinuous  Discrete categories. . Categorical. Classificatory.

. Dependent and Independent Variable • DV  Outcome variable  effect variable (Y). • The variance in Y is accounted for by X. Variation in Y is influenced by some other factor (s) • IV  (X) that influences the Y.

Explaining X and Y variables X variable Y variable • Presumed cause • Presumed effect • Stimulus • Response • Predicted from • Predicted to • Antecedent • Consequence • Manipulated • Measured outcome • Predictor • Criterion .

• Strong relationship between the library facility (X) and performance of students (Y). Depends on the “interest and inclination” of students (MV). Moderating Variable • A variable that moderates the strength of X – Y relationship. Modifies the original relationship. . Suppressor. • Relationship is contingent on another variable.

• Marital status  social integration  Suicide. In fact is a function of X. • 4-day workweek (IV) will lead to higher productivity (DV) by increasing job satisfaction (IVV). IVV may be DV for IV in the first place. Intervening Variable • Surfaces between the time X starts influencing the Y. . then it is IV for DV. • IV  IVV  DV. Time factor.

• To be identified by the researcher.Extraneous Variables • Infinite number of EV exist that may affect XY relationship. . Confounding factors.

Whether a variable is X or Y or moderating or intervening is determined by the researcher. .

Logical. • A statement concerned with the theoretical relationship among variables is a proposition. • If the relationship refers to an observable reality. . then the proposition may be testable  call it a hypothesis. Relationship of Variables • Relationship among variables.

THANK YOU .