Article

Concepts, Theories, and Numbers: A Checklist for Constructing, Evaluating, and Using Concepts or Quantitative Measures

Gary Goertz

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199286546
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199286546.003.0005

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 Concepts, Theories, and Numbers: A Checklist for Constructing, Evaluating, and Using Concepts or Quantitative Measures

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  • Political Methodology
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This article presents guidance on how to think about the concepts. It proposes to explore some issues in the assessment of concepts and quantitative measures. It presents the basic problem in its general outlines. It then offers a very short example, typically using published research. The structuring and aggregating concepts and measures indicates that one must first consider the theory embodied in the concept. Then one should survey plausible aggregation and structural relationships that could be applied in a quantitative measure. It is noted that one needs to ask about the existence or not of zero points. The gray zone needs to be explored independently of the two extremes. Homogeneity is another aspect of comparing within and between various concepts and measures of the same phenomenon. This article generally highlights that it is the lack of integration of theory and methodology which proves problematic.

Keywords: structuring concepts; aggregating concepts; quantitative measures; aggregation procedures; homogeneity; zero points; gray zone

Article.  9797 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Political Methodology ; Comparative Politics

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