Burton-Jones, Andrew and Lee, Allen S. (2011). Thinking about measures and measurement. In: Ralph Sprague, Proceedings of the 44th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science. 44th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Kauai, Hawaii, (). 4-7 January 2011. doi:10.1109/HICSS.2011.439
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This essay situates measurement in its larger context. Relying on some basic concepts from formal logic, the essay shows that current conceptions of "measurement issues" comprise just a subset of the larger universe of issues concerning measurement. New issues, going beyond the current conceptions, are identified such as the need for attention also to be given to the measurement of relationships, not just the measurement of constructs. Our analysis of these issues has several ramifications for empirical research. In particular, it highlights the cascading or cumulative impacts that errors in measures and measurement have in successive building blocks of empirical scientific reasoning. Overall, the essay demonstrates the need for more emphasis to be placed on fundamental issues involved in measuring and measurement and provides a framework that can help researchers and reviewers consider and evaluate these efforts. Our arguments apply to all empirical research, whether quantitative or qualitative, confirmatory, or exploratory.