Measurement Activity


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The purpose of this assignment is to provide experience in applying two critical concepts connecting sociological theory and research: conceptualization and operationalization. This assignment provides students with experience applying measurement techniques to their specific conceptualization of a difficult concept (love). They must construct their own nominal definition and then appropriately construct measures to determine the extent to which potential respondents experienced their nominal definition. In their accompanying essay, students must also argue for the validity and reliability of their measures. Additionally, this assignment provides students with practice in assessing the extent to which other students have appropriately performed conceptualization and operationalization. Students constructively critique another (anonymous) student’s measurement. In their critique, students must show they understand the key areas of operationalization, including validity and reliability, by commenting on those issues in the assignment to be critiqued. By providing specifically targeted experience in measuring difficult concepts, this assignment will also provide students with a skill set that can be marketed once they have completed their degrees.


Resource Type(s):
Shannon N. Davis, George Mason University 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Research Methods 
Class Level:
College 300 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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Distribute the assignment when beginning the course section on conceptualization and note to students that many of the terms will be defined in subsequent class periods (although they are welcome to read ahead). Part I is typically due three weeks after the assignment is distributed. At least one...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Students will be able to construct a nominal definition, a fully formed operational definition, and argue correctly for validity and reliability of their operational definition.
Assessment 1:
The rubrics detail how to meet the learning goals and the specific criteria upon which the two parts of the assignment would be assessed.
Goal 2:
Students will be able to constructively critique another student’s assignment based upon their knowledge of conceptualization, operationalization, validity, and reliability.
Assessment 2:
As one’s own aptitude and the assessment of others’ appropriate use of the core concepts are equally necessary skills, each part of the assignment is 50% of the grade.

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Measurement Activity Rubrics.doc
Measurement Activity.doc
Example Measurement Activity.doc