The Statistical Approach to Social Measurement

The Statistical Approach to Social Measurement

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This work is based on the assumption that the quantities social scientists want to measure, such as attitudes, abilities, price levels, and mobility, can best be represented as unknowns in a statistical model. This method includes both theoretical and practical problems. On the theoretical side, one examines the formulation and testing of an appropriate model and then employs the standard methods of estimation and prediction. On the practical side, one explores the difficulties of implementation deriving from various fields of application. This distinctly statistical approach to social measurement recognizes that in any measuring situation there are two sorts of variables: manifest or indicator variables that one can directly observe; and the latent variables that one cannot observe but wishes to measure. By regarding these all as random variables on common ground, the author reduces measurement problems to the familiar calculus of probability.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 238 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 15.24mm | 272.15g
  • Academic Press Inc
  • San Diego, United States
  • English
  • references, index
  • 0120798603
  • 9780120798605

Table of contents

Part 1 Measurement: problems and strategy; validity and reliability. Part 2 Labour wastage: inequality; mobility; price levels. Part 3 Population and individual level measures: common scaling of individuals and items; individual level measurement - general theory; principles and problems of implementation; extensions and limitations.
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Review quote

"By applying statistical theory, Bartholomew shows how to improve the choices among practical social measures in studying problems of economics, welfare, population, health, and education. Beyond this, he integrates the methods by deriving equivalences and close approximations while distinguishing main lines of attack and giving concrete illustrations. This clear and readable analysis raises the foundations of social measurement to a new level."
--FREDERICK MOSTELLER, Harvard University
"Bartholomew has written a book which explains the important role of statistical modelling and analysis for measurements of social phenomena. It is a well-written and thoughtful account of what measurement is and how statistics can help us make the data arising from such measurements meaningful and informative."
--ERLING B. ANDERSEN, University of Copenhagen
"This book is required reading for sociologists specializing in the theory of social measurement and for those engaged in scale construction. It is concerned equally with measures of societal processes (mobility and inequality) and of individual characteristics (attitudes and feelings). All of this is presented in clean, clear prose. In the midst of statistical technicalities, which are indispensable, there is a wealth of practical wisdom and common sense."
--KARL SCHUESSER, Indiana University
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