Do you count income from social welfare programs? Are you interested in their income per month or per year? Measures must be specific and clear. Depending on your research design, your measure may be something you put on a survey or pre/post-test that you give to your participants. For a variable like age or income, one well-worded question may suffice. Unfortunately, most variables in the social world so simple. Depression and satisfaction are multi-dimensional variables, as they each contain multiple elements. Asking someone “Are you depressed?” does not do justice to the complexity of depression, which includes issues with mood, sleeping, eating, relationships, and happiness. Asking someone “Are you satisfied with the services you received?” similarly omits multiple dimensions of satisfaction, such as timeliness, respect, meeting needs, and likelihood of recommending to a friend, among many others.
For example, the United States is not a variable. Country of birth is a variable, as is patriotism (Antonio Damasio, 1999). Similarly, if your sample only includes men, gender is a constant in your study…not a variable.
Dr. Matthew DeCarlo, Scientific Inquiry in Social Work, 2018.
Antonio Damasio (1999) The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness ch.2, p.55
Inguane, R., Gallego-Ayala, J., & Juízo, D. (2013). Decentralized water resources management in Mozambique: challenges of implementation at river basin level. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C.
Wright, R. (2007). Statistical structures underlying quantum mechanics and social science. International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 46(8), 2026-2045.