What is a concept? What is concept explication? What is a hypothesis? What is theory? What is science?
“Scientific knowledge is a collection ofabstract theoretical statements.”– Reynolds, 1971 Test beliefs through the scientific method◦ Test under various conditions
“Sets of hypotheses, which are tested bylogically deriving observable consequencesfrom them.” –Rosenberg – 2001 “Description of concepts and specification ofthe relationships between or among theseconcepts.” -Baldwin, Perry, & Mofffitt – 2004 “’Good theory’ refers to theory of a kind thatproduces valid scientific knowledge(understanding, prediction). – Miner, 2003
Describe Explain Predict Control
The process of coming to an agreementabout what terms mean.“Clear thinking requires clear language. In turn, a clearlanguage requires that its terms be explicitly defined.” –Giovanni Sartori (1984, p.22)
Scientific terms have fixed and precisemeanings To understand a concept, we mustunderstand:◦ Comparative concepts◦ Context◦ Schools of thought
Abstraction that describes reality throughobservations Disciplined use of words encourages otherscholars to employ same terminology◦ Meaning analysis/literature review Concepts defined by reading previous studies Variations in term names Obscenity, pornography, erotica
What are the different conceptual meanings assigned tothis term? What are the different operational definitions that havebeen used? What are the usual names for these operationaldefinitions? Are different names needed to makedifferences in meaning clear? What, considering the intended research purpose, seemto be the most promising definitions of the concept?
Involves both logical and empiricalprocedures, which is meaning and empiricalanalysis Continuous refinement and development of aconcept Paradox of conceptualization Proper concepts are needed to formulate a goodtheory, but we need a good theory to arrive at properconcepts.
Identify concepts Search the literature Examine empirical properties Select or develop a tentative conceptualdefinition Define it operationally Data gathering
Observation that we chose to consider as areflection of a variable Specifiable aspect of a concept
Developing rules for inclusion and exclusion
For what class of entities does this conceptvary?
TelevisionviewingNewsNational Local A.M.EntertainmentSoap operas Crime, detective
Studying something in multiple ways within asingle study Methodological Data Researcher Theoretical
List at least 10 variables that will bemeasured in your research. No more than twocan be sociodemographic indicators like raceor age. The inclusion of each variable shouldbe justified by theory or prior research.
Write a conceptual definition for eachvariable. Whenever possible, this definitionshould come from existing literature.