A concept is a bundle of meanings or
characteristics associated with certain events,
objects, conditions, situations, and the like.
If one is to understand and communicate
information about objects and events, there
must be a common ground on which to do it.
The success of research depends on how
clearly we conceptualize and how well others
understand the concepts we use.
A construct is an image or idea specifically
invented for a given research and/or theory
We build constructs by combining the simpler
concepts, especially when the idea or image we
intend to convey is not directly subject to
For eg. Presentation quality is a construct which
is formed by combining concept of typing
speed, format accuracy etc.
There are various types of definitions the most
familiar are dictionary definitions. But these are
not adequate for research.
Operational definition: is a definition stated in
terms of specific testing criteria or operations.
The purpose of operational definition is to
provide an understanding and measurement of
Eg. Higher income level: more than Rs.8lakhs
Middle income level: between Rs. 3-8 lakhs
Lower income level: below Rs. 3 lakhs
In practice the term variable is used as a synonym for construct or
the property being studied.
In this context, a variable is a symbol to which numerals or values
Some variables are dichotomous have only two values reflecting
the presence or absence of a property. For eg. Employed-
unemployed, male-female etc. have two values generally 0and 1.
Some variables are discrete which produce data that fit into
categories such as demographic variables of religion. Like for
religion : for hindu: 1, for muslim: 2 for christian: 3 . Only certain
values are possible for such variables.
Some variables are continuous variables which may take on values
within a given range or in some cases, an infinite set. For eg.
Income, temperature, age or a test score.
Types of variables: on the basis of
relationship among variables
Independent variable: presumed cause,
Dependent variable: presumed effect,
Example: does a participative leadership
style ( independent variable) influence job
satisfaction ( dependent variable)?
Types of variables contd.
Moderating variables: It is a second
independent variable that is included
because it is believed to have a significant
contributory or contingent effect on the
originally stated IV-DV relationship.
Example: the introduction of the 4 day
workweek (IV) will lead to higher
productivity (DV), especially among
Lots of extraneous variables (EV) exists
that might be ignored or have little effect.
Example : in routine office work (EV) the
introduction of 4 day workweek (IV) will
lead to higher productivity (DV) especially
among younger workers (MV).
Proposition and Hypothesis
A proposition is defined as a statement about
concepts that may be judged as true or false if it
refers to observable phenomena.
When a proposition is formulated for empirical
testing, we call it a hypothesis.
Hypothesis is a statement in which we assign
variables to cases.
Example: an increase in family income leads to
an increase in the percentage of income saved.
The role of the hypothesis
It guides the direction of the study.
It limits what shall be studied and what
It identifies facts that are relevant and
those that are not, in so doing, it suggests
which form of research design is likely to
be most appropriate.
Suppose there is a hypothesis:
Husbands and wives agree in their perceptions of their
respective roles in purchase decisions.
This hypothesis specifies who shall be studied( married
couple), in what context they shall be studied (their
consumer decision making), and what shall be studied
(their individual perceptions of their roles).
On this basis we can easily find out that best research
design in this case is probably a survey or an interview.
Also it is clear that we require information regarding their
purchase decision not about the other role husband and
wife might play.
What is a good hypothesis?
It should be adequate for its purpose.
It must be testable.
It must be better than its rivals.