Introduction to Research Design and Statistics
An operational definition is a definition that defines the exact manner in which
a variable is measured. Giving the steps used in defining each variable allows others to
evaluate and potentially replicate a research study. Success or failure of a research
project often hinges on how well the variables can operationalized.
Tuckman (1978) identifies three types of operational definitions.
A type A operational definition can be constructed in terms of the operations performed to cause
the phenomenon to occur.
A type B operational definition can be constructed in terms of how the particular object or thing
- Fear - state produced by exposing an individual
to an object highest in his or her hierarchy of objects to be avoided.
- Conflict - state produced by placing two or more individuals in a situation where each
has the same goal but only one can obtain it.
A type C operational definition can be constructed in terms of what an object or phenomenon looks
- Motor activity - excursions by a student from his or her seat.
- Motivation - persistent attendance of students in a school (as measured by number of
With these definitions how might we define each of the following:
- Introversion - the tendency or characteristic of an individual to prefer to engage
in solitary rather than group activities.
- Team teaching - utilization of two or more teachers to develop lesson plans and teach
in one or more subject matter areas to a fixed group of students.
- sex (in the gender sense)
Intro Home Page
Phil Ender, 15oct01