measurement by fiat

Procedures for quantification of data which make no claim to be representational measurement , but rather assign numbers on the basis of arbitrary units, face validity, or intuition. This often happens when sociologists refer to a concept which seems on commonsense or a priori grounds to be important, but which they do not know how to measure directly, so that a measure is then imposed on the concept arbitrarily.
According to Warren Torgerson (Theory and Method of Scaling, 1958), this form of measurement ‘depends on presumedrelationships between observations and concepts of interest. Included in this category are the indices and indicants so often used in the behavioural sciences’. Thus, for example, we might be interested in the concept of socio-economic status, and so decide to measure perceptions of occupational prestige , which we presume to be related to it; or, similarly, we may be interested in the concept of ‘political awareness’ and decide to measure it by scaling such attributes as the ability to name prominent politicians, or propensity to vote at national and local elections. Rating scales are another obvious example of what is the most common form of measurement in the social sciences.
References to, or accusations of, measurement by fiat usually occur in the context of wider philosophical discussions of the epistemological basis of the social sciences. Radical critics of so-called positivist approaches are prone to use the term freely-as, for example, in the ethnomethodological critique of sociological theories and methods offered by Aaron Cicourel (Method and Measurement in Sociology, 1964).

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • fiat, measurement by — See measurement by fiat …   Dictionary of sociology

  • measurement — raises four main issues for the sociologist: representation (how many properties of the empirical world can best be modelled?); uniqueness (how unique are the resulting measurement numbers?); appropriate statistics (what indices may legitimately… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Fiat Uno — Infobox Automobile name = Fiat Uno aka = manufacturer = Fiat parent company = production = 1983 present, 1983 1995 (Italy) predecessor = Fiat 127 successor = Fiat Punto Fiat Palio layout = FF layout class = Supermini platform = body style = 3… …   Wikipedia

  • Fiat 124 Coupé — Infobox Automobile Fiat 124 Coupé 1800 1972 name = Fiat 124 Coupe aka = manufacturer = Fiat parent company = production = 1967 1975 predecessor = successor = class = platform = body style = 2 door Coupe layout = FR layout engine = straight 4 1438 …   Wikipedia

  • Systems of measurement — A system of measurement is a set of units which can be used to specify anything which can be measured and were historically important, regulated and defined because of trade and internal commerce. Scientifically, when later analyzed, some… …   Wikipedia

  • ИЗМЕРЕНИЕ ПО ДЕКРЕТУ — (measurement by fiat) измерение (например, косвенные показатели явления), где имеется только преднаучное или обыденное понятие, которое на априорных основаниях кажется важным, но которое неизвестно, как измерить непосредственно , и с определенной …   Большой толковый социологический словарь

  • justice, social — Arguments about justice feature not only in sociology, but also in philosophy , political science , social policy , psychology , and of course law itself. Justice is a central moral standard in social life, is generally held to have a prominent… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • New Holland Agriculture — For early history see New Holland Machine Company New Holland Agriculture Type Brand Industry Agricultural equipment Capital lending Founded …   Wikipedia

  • List of automotive superlatives — This page lists of the automobile industry that is, the smallest, largest, fastest, lightest, best selling, and other such topics.In order to keep the entries relevant, the list (except for the Firsts section) will be limited to automobiles built …   Wikipedia

  • Money — For other uses, see Money (disambiguation). Coins and banknotes – the two most common physical forms of money …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.