How to Measure Construct Essay

2265 Words Jun 11th, 2012 10 Pages
When measure a complex concept such as love, intelligence, motivation, there is no direct measure as when we measure height, weight. Those complex concepts are also linked to behavior. The construct can be referred as hypothetical constructs. “Hypothetical” because they are inferred from theories and other behavior, and “constructs” because they must be constructed by using a database of observations that can be measured. (clayton)

Practically the construct is defined by how it is measured. This is called an operational definition.

The meaning of our study rests on how we objectively observe the construct or behavior of interest. Thus, developing a reliable and valid set of procedures for measuring our variables is crucial for the
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In other words, it is a definition of the construct in terms of how an investigator proposes to measure that |
|construct. For example, if I say to you that I study stress in non-human animals, you may rightly ask me "And how do you define |
|stress?" After all, a polar bear pacing in its cage at the zoo cannot tell me about whether or not it feels stressed! |
|One possible operational definition of stress I might use in my polar bear study would be the amount of cortisol (a hormone |
|released when the body is stressed) that the bear has in its bloodstream. Another operational definition of stress I might used |
|is the amount of time the bear spends pacing every day. |
|Imagine that another psychobiologist is interested in the construct of depression. He or she might operationally define |
|depression in terms of behavioral observations (ex. overall activity level, facial expression, content analysis of speech |
|patterns), or in terms of questionnaires (ex. Beck Depression Inventory), or physiological measures (ex. lateralization of EEG |
|brain wave activity, amount of serotonin metabolites in cerebral spinal fluid). Alternatively, he or she might wish to develop a|
|depressing situation so as

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