|Module 2: Describing, Clarifying and Presenting Data
2. Characteristic, Variable and Measurement > 2.1. The relationship between characteristic and variable
2.1.2. Making sure variables are valid
Are variables always valid? Let’s consider an example of a study conducted by a group of students.
As you think about this study you need to ask questions related to the source of the data (which is dependent on the definition of the variable) such as:
- Is it possible to measure honesty/dishonesty in such a simplistic way?
- Is honesty linked to time? - perhaps some students (after a struggle of conscience) handed it in later – aren’t they also ‘honest’?
- Why did this group want to measure this characteristic in the first place? Did they have some sort of hidden agenda?
You might also ask questions related to the purpose of the data such as: what purpose is being served by measuring this characteristic of university students?
This page last updated 8 October 2009