The Importance of Measurement in the Research Process

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  • 0:05 Measurement
  • 1:57 Importance
  • 3:09 Common Measures
  • 4:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Why is it important to measure variables in a study? And, how do you go about doing it? In this lesson, we'll examine the importance of measurement, along with some common types of psychological measurement.


Imagine that you are a psychologist. There's a new type of treatment for depression that you think will really help many people. But, how do you know for sure?

You could try it out on a friend of yours. He was depressed before, and after the treatment, he's fine. Does that mean it will work for other people? Your friend is a man; will it work on women? He's from a big city; will it work on people from small towns? Did the treatment help your friend, or was he just going to get better on his own?

These are the questions that psychological research has to deal with. In order to show that your treatment works on many different people, you have to do a psychological study. You'll gather a bunch of different depressed people, and you'll give half of them your treatment and the other half no treatment. After a while, you'll see if there's a difference in the people who got your treatment and the people who didn't get any treatment.

But, how do you measure depression? How do you tell if there's a difference between your patients and the people who didn't get treatment? Psychological measurement involves assessing, or measuring, people's traits. Psychological measurement can look at many different aspects of psychology, from intelligence tests to how quickly a person reacts to a sound they hear.

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