You are on page 1of 18

Variables are the basic elements that are measured in any study.

These are observable or measurable characteristics of persons or objects that are capable of taking several values or of being expressed in different categories. Indicators are units of measurement that are used to observe or measure the different variables. Indicators are also useful for defining variable operationally.

The table below shows examples of indicators certain variables (Mercado, 1997):
Variables Communication Material Type Size Color Cost Target Audience Awareness Knowledge Attitude Skill Practice Indicators Print Electronic 6 x 9 , 8 x 11 Blue, red, black P10, P20, P30 Mention the person object, or project Number of correct answers in a knowledge test Number of those who expressed agreement or disagreement Number of correct steps followed by the respondents. Use, buy, apply

As mentioned in Lesson 7, variables can be classified into three general types: y Independent y Intervening y Dependent
The independent variable is the presumed cause of any effect or change in the target audiences awareness, knowledge, attitude, skill, and/or practice. In an ex-post facto survey, this variable is also known as antecedent variable or one that comes before the change occurred and, therefore, it might have something to do with the change.

The intervening variable is the presumed in-between factor found working in between the independent variable and the dependent variable. The intervening variable is also called an exogenous factor (relative to the dependent variables), facilitating factor, retarding factor, or contaminating factor. The dependent variable is the presumed effect or change in the target audiences. These changes may be observed or measured in terms of change in knowledge, attitude, skill, and/or practice

As mentioned earlier, there is no permanent independent, intervening, and/or dependent variables. The framework used by the researcher influences the classification of the variables. In fact, in the same study, one variable may act as dependent variable in one table and as independent variable in another table. For example, if the framework followed by the researcher says that information increases knowledge and knowledge influences attitude, then two tables are possible: in model 1 information is the independent variable and knowledge is the dependent variable; in model 2, knowledge becomes the independent variable and attitude becomes the dependent variable. If we take the three variables together, information is the independent variable, knowledge is the intervening variable, and attitude is the dependent variable

Model 1.

Information (Independent)

Knowledge (Dependent)

Model 2.

Knowledge (Independent)

Attitude (Dependent)

Model 3.

Information Knowledge Attitude (Independent) (Dependent)

The model that we use depends upon the framework that guides our thinking in arranging the different variables. This framework is developed based on available theories, hypothesis, or framework established by other researchers. As mentioned earlier, we can also develop our own by reconstructing our experiences or piercing together various concepts gathered through review of related literature. The above models or frameworks are formulated for testing. We gather data to test the framework. This is why we conduct a survey. The framework guides us in analyzing data. If the data analysis does not support our framework, then we have to change it according to facts. For example, if our original framework says that information changes knowledge and knowledge changes attitude but the data gathered shows that information could change both knowledge and attitude directly, then the framework has to change accordingly as shown on the next page.

From: Information To: Information

Knowledge Knowledge

Attitude Attitude

Mercado identified six types of knowledge questions. Knowledge is one of the most important human variables that is affected by information. Different types of questions are used for measuring knowledge. These types are similar to those used by teachers in measuring knowledge gained by students. Yes or No True or False Fill in the blanks Essay type Multiple Choice Matching Type Enumeration

y The yes or no type presents a number of statements

which is answerable by respondents with yes or no. y The multiple choice asks respondents to choose the right answer among three or more. y The matching type asks respondents to match two rows of phrases by indicating the letter of the matched statement. y The enumeration type asks respondents to indicate several answers to a question.

Attitude is another variable that is usually affected by information. Basically three forms of questions are used to measure attitude: yYes No yFrequency yPositive Negative Dimensions Under this form, the attitude is built into the statement and the respondent is asked to answer yes or no or true or false. Under this form, the attitude is built into the statement and the respondents is asked to indicate his/her answer to each item in terms of frequency such as Always, Usually, Occassionally, Hardly ever, and Never. Under this form, a person is asked to check the word or phrase that best describes his feelings toward each statement.

Two types of scaling techniques are described in this section. These are: 1) attitude scales and 2) rating scales. Attitude scales represent carefully standardized questionnaires. The respondent expresses his agreement or disagreement with a number of statements relevant to it. On the basis of the responses, he is assigned a score. The more frequently used attitude scales by researchers are the Q sort, Thurstone, Likert, Semantic differential, and Stapel. A brief description of each type of attitude scale is given by Tull and Hawkins.

y Q-sort Technique

requires the respondents to sort or divide into piles or groups, a large number of statements or other objects according to a specific criterion. is a series of statements, usually about twenty; the position of each statement on a scale of favorable-unfavorable attitude toward the object has been determined by the judges classification. The subjects, in filling out the questionnaire, are asked either to check each statement with which they agree or to check the two or three items that are close to their positions.

y Thurstone Equal-Appearing Technique

y Semantic differential scale

requires the respondent to rate attitude object on a number of itemized, sevenpoint rating scales. y Stapel Scale is a simplified version of the semantic differential. The original scale was described as a unipolar ten-point non-verbal rating scale with values ranging from 5 to 5, which measures direction and intensity simultaneously. y Likert Scale requires a respondents to indicate a degree of agreement or disagreement with each of a series of items, generally statements related to the attitude object.

The use of a rating scale requires the rater to place the person being rated at some point along a numerically valued continuum or in one of a numerically ordered series of categories. Luck, et al. described the more widely used rating scales. requires the respondent to indicate his rating by placing a mark at the appropriate point on a line that runs from one extreme of the attitude in question to the other. yItemized rating scale forces the rater to select one of a limited number of categories that are ordered in terms of their scale positions.
yGraphic rating scale

y Paired

comparisons involves presenting the respondent with two objects at a time and requiring him to select one of the two according to some criterion. y Rank order rating scale requires the respondent to rank a set of objects according to some criterion. y Constant sum scale requires the respondent to divide a constant sum, generally by 100% among two or more objects or attributes so as to reflect the respondents preference for each object.

The attitude scale actually constitutes the tool used for measuring attitude. Therefore, if we want to measure the attitude of respondents toward a person, an object, or a concept, we should construct an attitude scale. In constructing this scale, it is extremely important to remember certain properties of a good attitude scale. The attitude scale really measures what it intends to measure. The difference between two scores at a certain point should be equal to the difference between two scores at another point. For example, the difference between scores of 6 and 8 is 2; likewise the difference between 16 and 18 is also 2.

The attitude scale should measure only a single attitude at a time. For example, if the attitude scale is used to measure attitude toward Americans, the same scale should not measure at the same time attitude toward internationalism. There should be a point of neutrality between the positive and negative points. The no comment or don t know is usually the zero point.