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Measurement and Scaling Concepts


Introduction

In any type of research, measurements play a crucial role towards generation of results. Measurements mostly apply to quantitative research. This kind of research encompasses the collection of data for specific issues. Measurements or scales help in classifying information into distinct categories. As a result, it becomes easier for the researcher to make an appropriate analysis. It is this kind of analysis that leads to rational conclusions. The four main types of scales used in research include ratio, interval, nominal and ordinal levels of measurements. These scales have different characteristics. In this paper, the different scales of measurements will be analyzed. Additionally, the specific role played by these scales in research will also be discussed.


Types Of Measurement Scales In Research

Nominal Scale of Measurement

This scale is used to classify information into distinct categories without using any order. Fundamental examples of nominal scale of measurement include attributes like gender, color and yes on no answers. When data is categorized as male or female, it does not necessarily imply that males are superior to females. It implies that nominal scales of measurement do not include quantifiable items, variables or characteristics. When dealing with nominal scales of measurements, simple values are assigned to specific characteristics. (Creswell, 2009)


For the purposes of the dissertation topic, nominal scale of measurement would apply when classifying the gender of research participants. For instance, female respondents would be assigned number 1 while male respondents would be assigned value 2. Such an approach would help in distinguishing data collected from male and female respondents. Direct questions with yes or no answers would also be analyzed from the perspective of nominal scale of measurement. (Cozby, 2012)


Ordinal Scale of Measurement

This is another critical scale of measurement in any quantitative research. Essentially, this method encompasses ranking information. Some types of data have specific attributes which may be classified into distinct ranks. In most cases, the ranks used in ordinal scale of measurement provide clear distinction between the smallest and largest. Essentially, these ranks may also illustrate the minimum and maximum scales. (Creswell, 2009)


A total of five ranks are normally used when classifying data in the ordinal scale of measurement. For the purposes of the dissertation topic, ordinal scales would be used to classify perceptions of educators towards conflicts in community colleges. A good example pertains to the investigation of whether community college principles support the establishment of conflict resolution frameworks. The first scale of measurement would involve principals who strongly oppose the conflict resolution framework. The second scale would involve principals who oppose conflict resolution frameworks in community colleges. Principals without any opinion would form the third scale. (Trochim, 2006)


The fourth scale of ordinal measurement would encompass principals who support mediation processes in community colleges. (Trochim, 2006)Finally, the last scale of ordinal measurement would involve educators who strongly support conflict resolution frameworks in community colleges. These examples indicate the five main ranks that would be used in assessing principals’ support for conflict resolution frameworks in community colleges. However, the different ranks used in ordinal scales of do not necessarily reflect any measurable distance or disparities between variables. As a result, this scale of measurement relies heavily on approximation. (Cozby, 2012)


Interval Scale of Measurement

Most attributes of interval measurements are similar to ordinal measurements. However, distinction between the two scales results from the specification of distance between ranks in interval measurements. As the name suggests, regular intervals separate categories or classes from one another. While investigating on the implementation of conflict resolution framework in community colleges, the interval scale may be used in different ways. Firstly, an interval scale may be used to rate the effectiveness of conflict resolution in community colleges. A scale of 1-10 would be appropriate in measuring these variables. (Cozby, 2012)


A community college whose conflict resolution framework is poorly effective would be assigned one point on the scale. Similarly, a community college whose conflict resolution framework is highly effective would be assigned a maximum score of ten points on the scale. The gap between different categories is quantifiable based on this scale. The interval scale of measurement would thus enhance data collection and analysis during the actual research. (Creswell, 2009)


Ratio Scale of Measurement

A fine line separates the interval and ratio scales of measurement in quantitative research. The ranks used in both scales of measurements are measurable. However, ratio scales are different in that they provide a predetermined zero spot for all characteristics. This implies that ratio scales facilitate for the inclusion of absent measurements in data collection. (Cozby, 2012)While investigating on conflict resolution frameworks in community colleges, ratio scales would be used in numerous ways. An example pertains to the investigation of potential intervention frameworks. If there is no need for the development of such a framework, ratio scales would be used. (Trochim, 2006)


Role Of Scales In Research

The four scales of measurements play different roles in research. To start with, they provide an excellent framework for classifying data into different categories. Such classification not only helps in data collection but also in data analysis. Essentially, the quality of any research is strongly influenced by methodologies used. Incorporating these different scales would therefore enhance the quality of results. (Creswell, 2009)


Without appropriate information, it would be difficult to make appropriate conclusions. From a different angle, the different scales of measurements minimize the time spent on research. Through these scales, it takes less time to gather and analyze data. As a result, costs are also significantly minimized. (Creswell, 2009)


Conclusion

The four main types of scales used in research include ratio, interval, nominal and ordinal levels of measurements. These specific attributes of these scales have been discussed throughout the paper. Fundamental examples of nominal scale of measurement include attributes like gender, color and yes on no answers. When data is categorized as male or female, it does not necessarily imply that males are superior to females. Ordinal measurement is a method that encompasses ranking information. Some types of data have specific attributes which may be classified into distinct ranks.


In most cases, the ranks used in ordinal scale of measurement provide clear distinction between the smallest and largest. As the name suggests, regular intervals separate categories or classes from one another. While investigating on the implementation of conflict resolution framework in community colleges, the interval scale may be used in different ways. The different ranks used in ordinal scales of do not necessarily reflect any measurable distance or disparities between variables. As a result, this scale of measurement relies heavily on approximation. On the other hand ratio scales are different in that they provide a predetermined zero spot for all characteristics. They facilitate for the inclusion of absent measurements in data collection.


References

Creswell, J. W.   (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Cozby, P. C.   (2012). Methods in behavioral research (11th ed.).Boston:McGraw Hill Higher Education.

Trochim, W. M. & Donnelly, J. P. (2006). Research methods knowledge base,OH: Cengage Learning


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