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ERIC Number: EJ1156070
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1536-6367
Measuring Well What is Ill Defined?
Torres Irribarra, David
Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, v15 n2 p83-85 2017
Maul's paper, "Rethinking Traditional Methods of Survey Validation," is a clever and pointed indictment of a set of specific but widespread practices in psychological measurement and the social sciences at large. Through it, Maul highlights central issues in the way to approach theory building and theory testing, bringing to mind the words of Allport, who indicated in 1935 that attitudes--a central concept in social psychology--were "measured more successfully than they are defined" (p. 828). Maul's studies add to the evidence supporting the unsettling conclusion that, as social scientists, we are still engaged in a field that oftentimes claims to validly measure something that has been ill defined. Overall, the author of this commentary agrees with Maul in what the author believes to be the two central points in his paper. First, the author agrees that greater care and attention should be devoted to the definition of the psychological attributes that purport to measure, particularly to the critical appraisal of our assumptions regarding the structure of the attributes. To this end, it is imperative to move away from the latent remains of operationalism and the "operational definitions" that they engender. Second, the author agrees with Maul that this greater focus on the characterization of the psychological attributes should be accompanied by the abandonment of the standard paint-by-numbers approach to instrument validation that is widespread in certain areas of psychology. Having said that, the author of this commentary does have some comments and questions about the paper. [For "Rethinking Traditional Methods of Survey Validation," see EJ1156001.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A