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how do you determine the operational definition of a variable

The operational definition is how you would quantfy, or measure, a variable. So if the variable is caffeine, how do you measure that? Usually, in milligrams. If your variable is aggressiveness, how do you measure that? Maybe with the number of aggressive behaviors. It is wording that variable in a way you can count. This is important because it allows scientists to replicate, or repeat, the study.

A specific example would be if we are trying to operationalize the variable memory, we might count how many words from a 20 word list a person could recall after a set amount of time.

If we are trying to operationalize motivation in a work context, we might measure the amount of a certain project deliverable produced or delivered (how many widgets did the worker make?)

An operationalized version of a variable may or may not be valid. One could argue that the readout on a polygraph “operationalizes” the anxiety that a person feels when lying. But it is now well known that all you can derive from a polygraph read out is the level of physiological arousal someone is experiences. Inference from that may or may not be valid.

this worksheet helps sorry I added the wrong link

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