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Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement
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Research Methods
Levels of Measurement
Mutually Exclusive

How to Cite

Wynn, Colleen. 2017. “Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, October. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This simple set of in-class activities allow students to practice conceptualizing, operationalizing, and measuring common sociological variables. I use this combination of three activities, usually across two class periods, to let students practice conceptualization and operationalization, as well as measurement of variables. Students often seem...

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Subject Area(s):
Research Methods
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
College 200
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

I use this activity in conjunction with the conceptualization and measurement chapter of my textbook. I intersperse these activities with my lecture so that students immediately get the chance to apply the concepts we’ve discussed in the lecture. My class meets twice a week, and thus, I usually do Activities #1 & #2 during the first class discussing...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students understand how to conceptualize and operationalize abstract concepts.
  2. Students understand mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories
  3. 1. Students understand the levels of measurement and can demonstrate this understanding by measuring a variable at multiple levels.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. 1. Students provide a conceptual definition for an abstract concept, and then provide an example that shows how they would operationalize this concept.
  2. 1. Students create mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories for common sociological concepts.
  3. 1. Students develop ways to measure each variable at the nominal, ordinal, and interval/ratio level. If they believe the variable cannot be measured at one or more levels, they have given appropriate justification.

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