|Examinations||Research Project||Other Assignments||COM 306 Home|
Conceptual and Operational Definition Assignment
A) Find a partner for your study.
B) By yourself, select a communication variable by the following method. Go to the Basement of the library and look up one of the communication periodicals. Don't use the current periodicals room. Open the journal and find a definition of a communication concept in whatever article flops open. Don't use a primitive term.
C) Write down 1) the term, 2) the definition and 3) the way that the term was operationalized, along with 4) the citation of the article.
D) Tell your partner what the term is but don't tell them the definition or the source of the term. This is due to your partner by February 10.
Step 2: Using the Variable
E) Write a conceptual and operational definition of the term your partner gives to you. You may use source material or make up a definition. If you do not know what the term is, you will have to do a little research to find out more about it. Cite any resources you use. You may use manipulation or measurement to operationalize your variable.
F) Make two copies of both variable definitions. Hand in one copy of your definition and the variable you defined for your partner on February 20. Don't show your stuff to your partner prior to this date. Make sure that you put your name and your partner's name on the paper.
Step 3: Discussing the variable
Definition of terms:
Your conceptual and operational definitions are the ones you created based on the term given to you by your partner.
Journal conceptual and operational definitions are the ones you found in the journal. You gave the label of the concept to your partner to define.
G) Exchange your definitions with your partner's. Discuss the following questions:
a) how well does the operational definition fit with the conceptual definition?
b) does the operational definition measure all parts of the conceptual definition?
c) what parts of the operationalization might confuse you if you were being measured using this operational definition?
H) Substitute the journal operational definition for your partner's definition. Discuss the following questions:
a) how well does the operational definition fit the conceptual definition.
b) does the operational definition measure all parts of the journal's conceptual definition?
I) Alternative operationalizations. There are three common ways to operationalize social scientific variables: self report measurement, manipulation and observation. Discuss how each of the two variables in your group could be measured using these three types of operationalization. If one or more of these operationalizations can't be done, explain why
Step 4: Writing Up Your Discussion
J) Write up the results of your discussion. Write up the discussion of the term your partner looked up in the library, not the term you gave to your partner.
Here is the grading rubric:
F- Failure to hand in the assignment
D- Errors in analyzing fit between conceptual and operational definitions
C- You identify the components of the conceptual definition
You show how each component of the conceptual definition is measured by a part of the operationalization
You show how your operationalization would fail to measure some part of the journal definition, or how your operationalization would measure stuff that lies outside the journal definition
B- Do everything for a C
Identify how the operationalization could be more clear to researchers and research participants
Provide an alternative method for operationalizing the concept
A- Do everything for a B
Supplement the conceptual definition so it is more concrete than the original definition
Supplement the operationalization so it more completely measures the concept
Compare how the alternative method of operationalization and the original method of operationalization fit the conceptual definition