Operation Definition of Variables Essay

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Operational Definition of Variable s (Quantitative/Mixed Studies Only)
[Text (optional)… Identify each of the primary constructs associated with the proposed topic, problem, research question(s), and hypotheses. ?Include a brief overview of how each will be operationally defined for the proposed study]
? ?Construct/Variable ?1. ?Description/Operational Definition. ?
Describe each variable, the nature of the variable (e.g., nominal, ordinal, interval), how each variable will vary (e.g., the range (1 – 5, 0 – 100) or levels (low, medium, high; male, female) and the data sources (e.g., archival data, survey items, and if appropriate, how the items will be combined to form the variable construct). ?Consult research design sources and ensure that the nature of each variable is appropriate to the proposed statistical analyses. ?

Best Practices:

1. Note the careful detail that is required for this section. Without clear and concise operational definitions of variables the feasibility of a proposed quantitative or mixed methods research project cannot be adequately assessed. Note: this applies to quantitative studies only.
? ?2. To operationally define a variable means to offer a description of the way you will measure it in your study. For example, you could operationally define anger as the number of times a child hits another child in a specified period of time. Of course this is not a particularly good way to define anger but it makes the point. More likely you would use a score on an anger inventory. An operational definition of aggressive driving could include the number of times a driver exceeds the speed limit during a period of thirty minutes. An operational definition relies on observable behaviors that can be reliably counted and recorded. By defining a concept using an observable behavior, researchers can make it clear to other scholars what the variable means and how they will measure it with enough clarity that their research could be duplicated.

EXAMPLE:

Operational Definition of Variables
For this study both job motivation and job satisfaction were considered to be the independent or predictor variables. Job performance was considered to be the outcome or dependent measure. Gender, age, salary, and stress were additional independent variables that were tested as potential confounding variables for their effect on job performance.
Job motivation was operationally defined using the Ray-Lynn motivation scale by Ray (1980), presented in Appendix B. Job motivation was assessed by participants’ response to a 3-point Likert-type response format scale answering questions that defined job motivation. ?
Job satisfaction was operationally defined using the job satisfaction instrument developed by Spector (1994), presented in Appendix C. Job satisfaction was assessed by participants’ response to a 6-point Likert-type response format scale answering questions that defined job satisfaction.
Job performance, operationalized for this study as customer service, was operationally defined using the BANKSERV customer service instrument developed by Avkiran (1999), presented in Appendix D. Job performance (self-reported by the employees) was assessed by participants’ response to a 4-point Likert-type response format scale answering questions that related to customer service.
Gender was operationally defined as the choice selected by the respondent given the following choices: male or female.
Age was operationally defined as the choice selected by the respondent given the following choice ranges, 19-25, 26-35, 36-45, 46-55, 56+.

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