In research work, measurement has a significant role. Because the measurement is done to observe, and collect data. Without data, you cannot analyse, or come to an end for any topic/research.
There are two aspects of the measurement methods. The first category is about qualitative, and quantitative methods. On the other hand, different scale types are used as measurement methods as well. Let’s discuss both aspects in detail;
From a broader perspective, measurement methods are categorised in two terms. These two terms are as follows;
- Qualitative Method
- Quantitative Method
Let’s discuss these terms briefly.
Qualitative method is used for the description of different characteristics, and forms. For this, open-ended questions are commonly asked. The data is collected with the help of a questionnaire, and multiple observations especially when writing a dissertation. The data through observation is only collected by experts in that field. If that’s not possible, you can go for an interview or questionnaire.
As compared to the qualitative method, this one is difficult to deal with and handle. To make it easy, you can go for data coding as well. This way, you can handle bundles of data, and its analysis without any issues.
When you’re supposed to quantify anything, the quantitative method is best to use. This is because, in this method, you have to come up with all the numeric values. For this method, rating, and scaling in the form of numbers is fairly common. For the analysis of quantitative data, you have to use statistical analysis software. The most commonly used software is that of SPSS.
Scales of Measurement
Students can use the following types of measurement methods for their research papers. There are four major scales that are commonly used by students. Each scale has its own set of specifications. For research work, you have to see which scale is the best for use. These four scales are as follows;
- Nominal Scale of Measurement.
- Ordinal Scale of Measurement.
- Interval Scale of Measurement.
- Ration Scale of Measurement.
Let’s discuss each scale in detail;
Nominal Scale of Measurement
The nominal scale is very easy to deal with. Here you have defined answers to your question. That is why it is taken as the simplest form of measurement scale. In common practice, a nominal scale has two variables.
But it can go beyond two categories as well. The identification factor for nominal measurement method is that all of its variables have a clear distinction from each other. It will be easy for you to understand it with the help of examples.
What is your religion?
Muslim or non-Muslim
Do you have a religious affiliation?
Yes or No
What is your gender?
Male or Female
Name of the country you belong to?
Russia or Turkey
Name of the city you belong to?
Moscow or Istanbul
What is your marital status?
Single, Married or Divorced
Does your father own a mobile phone?
Yes or No
All these question types come under a nominal scale of measurement. All the options are totally different from each other. You have to select one or the other. Here you would not see any neutral options.
Both of the options are different, and you don’t have the option of maybe, or ‘both’. Questions with this type of variable are also termed as dichotomous nominal scales.
In research work, demographic information has an important role. So you can use the nominal measurement method within your research. This scale can be used for qualitative, as well as for quantitative research.
Ordinal Scale of Measurement
The ordinal scale is just like the nominal scale measurement method. But here the variables differ. You also have to add options in the form of order. This type of scale is used for quantitative research type questions.
The common examples of ordinal scale are related to the socio-economic status of people. It is also used for educational level, and for other ranking type questions. Let’s understand it with the help of examples.
Is your Course work informative?
- Strongly Agree
- Not Sure
- Strong Disagree
What is your number of siblings?
What is your satisfaction level from your job?
What is your educational level?
What is the range of income level?
- Less than 30,000
- 30,000 to 60,000
- 60,000 to 90,000
- More than 90,000
Interval Scale of Measurement
Interval scale covers nominal, as well as ordinal scales. On an interval scale, you would not see any absolute zero value at all. The nature of value quantification makes it best for quantitative type research. Here you are not restricted to go for number type.
For example, you can use discrete, continuous, as well as fractional numbers. In discrete numbers, it can be like 8 months, 2 degrees, or 1 year. Similarly serial and fractional numbers can be in the form of 10.5 kilometres or 2.5 weeks.
Also, if you have to show the differences of some variables, you’ll have to use interval scale type measurement methods. Wherever you’re supposed to come up with the mean, or mode of value, you have to use an interval scale.
From a broader perspective, its use is in strategic, and business measures. The main purpose of this scale is to limit your answer. This way, it becomes easy to handle all data as well.
Here you can ask about temperature and pH value. It also covers the SAT, and credit scores.
Ratio Scale of Measurement
Interval and ratio scales are taken as interchangeable scales. But the main difference in both scales is of absolute zero value. On an interval scale, you cannot have zero value.
Whereas in the ratio scale measurement method, you can have zero value too. The use of a ratio scale is common for income, weight, age, and time ranges.
How long screen time do you have?
- 0-4 hours
- 4-8 hours
- 8-12 hours
How much do you spend every week on food?
In research work, you can select any scale type or methodology as per your choice. But this selection depends on your research topic, and problem statement. So you need to be very conscious about it.