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Observation and Measurement

So far we have learned about the different types of research questions and the categories or types of variables that researchers can use (behavioral, self-report, implicit, and physiological). To take it one step further, scientists also differentiate among different scales of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio).

Using the different scales of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio), think of some examples of variables that you could use in your hypothetical research study. Do your best to make use of all the different scales of measurement when discussing the topic. Explain how the scale of measure that you select impacts upon the information yielded, the statistics that you can use, and the ecological validity of your study. What could you do to improve upon both the reliability and validity of the different measures that you selected?

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Detroit's Meltdown: A Failed City and Anomie

In our previous paper, we laid out a comparative study of America's worst city, Detroit, versus those that Forbes Magazine claims are growing the most, and growing in all respects. Of these, we chose two, Charlotte, NC and Irvine, CA. What are the differences here? The main theory is that anomie and alienation are the root causes, and that such causes are at least partly quantifiable.

The basic research design was a regression analysis where crime rates are the dependent variable, and, at least at this preliminary stage, unemployment, child abuse, poverty rates, education, change in population and single parent households serve as the interdependent causal variables. We also stated that the last variable would be the most significant.

We might have to control for certain elements. Irvine, Detroit and Charlotte are very different. Some control variables might be: the history of the local economy over the last 20 years. Detroit, suffering from the loss of much of its manufacturing base, should be dealt with. There was a time, not too long ago, when Detroit was America's industrial success story. Irvine, CA was only founded in 1971 and therefore, the actual age of these cities must also be dealt with.

In all three cities, whites make up a minority, though in Detroit, they are about 8% of the population, while in the other two cities they are about 40% or less of the population. Irvine has a huge Hispanic population, while Charlotte has comparatively more blacks. Therefore, the racial balance here is perfect. It is also conceivable that climate might be factor: Detroit is cold, while Charlotte and Irvine are, comparatively speaking, warmer.

How can these variables be ...

Solution Summary

The different scales of measurement variables are used. How the scale of measures that you select impacts upon the information yielded and the ecological validity of the study are explained.