Data Collection and Measurement
This week, you are introduced to preparation and operationalization procedures for measuring data. In addition, you are introduced to a variety of ways to acquire quantitative data, including secondary data, systematic observation, interviews, questionnaires, and surveys. Regardless of which method for acquiring data you use, be aware of the potential for distortion and/or response bias, or forms of measurement error. For these reasons, it is imperative to understand issues of reliability and validity in measurement.
Analyze how to measure a phenomenon
Analyze measurement instruments
Evaluate measurement instruments used in a research study
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Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Yegidis, B. L., Weinbach, R. W., & Myers, L. L. (2018). Research methods for social workers (8th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Chapter 10, “Measurements Concepts and Issues” (pp. 223-245)
Chapter 11,” Methods for Acquiring Research Data” (pp. 246-275)
Chapter 12, “Data Collection Instruments” (pp. 277-294)
Windle, G., Bennett, K. M., & Noyes, J. Windle, G., Bennett, K. M., & Noyes, J. (2011). A methodological review of resilience scales. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 9, 2-18. Retrieved from Walden Library databases
Walker, K. E., & Arbreton, A. J. A. (2001). Working together to build Beacon Centers in San Francisco: Evaluation findings from 1998–2000. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures. (see pp. 96-99 for measures). Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED464212.pdf
See pp. 96–99 for measures
Document: Tips When Evaluating Instruments
Discussion 1: Methods of Measuring
The center point of research studies is the body of data collected to answer the research question. These data must be measured, which is the act of taking an abstract concept (e.g., depression, anger, etc.), sorting them out and quantifying them in some cohesive way in order to construct meaning—but how can you measure something that is not easily quantifiable?
Choosing an appropriate measurement tool requires consideration of a number of different issues including reliability, validity, appropriateness for use with a specific group or culture, availability, and potential cost. Sometimes, social workers will attempt to create their own set of questions to tap into or measure a concept. This may appear to be an easy thing to do; however, writing questions to measure a phenomenon is more challenging than it would seem. For example, how do we know it measures what we want it to measure? In the first discussion this week, you will have the opportunity to create your own questions to measure a phenomenon of your interest. In the second discussion, you will compare the measure you created with an existing instrument that measures the same phenomenon.
To prepare: Choose one phenomenon or issue that a client may be dealing with (for example, depression, anxiety, or family conflict). Consider how you would evaluate the client’s progress in this area. Create questions with response options that would capture this phenomenon or client issue.
By Day 3
Identify the phenomenon you would measure and explain how you conceptualize this phenomenon.
Provide at least 3 questions you would use to measure this phenomenon and explain how these questions operationalize the phenomenon.
Define reliability in 2-3 sentences and give one example of how you would establish reliability for the questions you created.
Define validity in 2-3 sentences and give one example of how you would establish validity for the questions you created.
Create a measurement plan to assess the phenomenon.
Describe the methodology you would use to collect data using your measurement tool (your method for acquiring this research data).
Explain the advantages and disadvantages of your choices.
By Day 5
Respond to a colleague’s post by suggesting two alternative methods for measuring their phenomenon. Explain why your suggestions have value. Please use the resources to support your answer
Discussion 2: Evaluating Existing Measures
In discussion 1, you considered how you might create an instrument for measuring a phenomenon or client issue. For this week’s Discussion 2, choose and evaluate an existing instrument to measure the concept you identified in Discussion 1. Consider how you would compare your original measurement to the existing measurement.
To Prepare: Review the following at the Walden Library on how to find existing instruments:
By Day 5
Posta brief explanation of the existing measurement instrument that you identified. Then, compare your original measurement approach to the existing instrument. Next, explain how you would revise or replace your original measurement plan. Finally explain the advantages and/or disadvantages of using existing instruments for measurement. Please use the Learning Resources to support your answer.
By Day 7
Respond to a colleague’s post by suggesting one alternative advantage or disadvantage of their chosen existing instrument of measurement. Explain why your suggestions have value. Please use the resources to support your answer.