Operationalization of variables is essential for the realization of validity and reliability of a study (Trochim, 2006). The variable on age can be operationalized by asking respondents their age in years or querying the respondents on their dates of birth and calculating the ages.
The variable of gender must be operationalized either on the basis of maleness or femaleness. Although there might be other gender identities that do not expressly fall under the category of male or female, the researcher can ask the respondents to report on their gender.
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Ethnicity as a categorical variable may encompass both race and tribe of the respondents (Trochim, 2006). In this regard, the researcher can operationalize the variable based on the race or tribe depending on the socio-cultural background of the respondents. The researcher can therefore request the respondents to indicate their ethnicity on the basis of either race or tribe. One can therefore be considered as white, black, black-American, Asian, or Indian. The same can be applicable in the context of tribe.
Education as an ordinal variable can be operationalized by classifying the respondents in terms of the level of education that each respondent has attained. For example, the researcher can classify respondents in terms of the level of formal education achieved from the lowest level to the highest level. The researcher will, thus, ask respondents the highest level of education that they have achieved.
Income level is a continuous variable that, nonetheless, must be operationalized. In order to achieve this, the researcher must query the respondents on their gross income levels. It can be done by attaching monetary value to all the assets and income in one year (Kumar, 2011). The researcher can thus ask the respondents to indicate their gross income levels in monetary terms. It includes the wages, income for business profits, and agricultural produce among all other annual investments.
Marital status is a categorical variable. This variable can be operationalized by breaking it down to elicit responses such as single, married, divorced, separated, or widowed (Trochim, 2006). The researcher can therefore ask the respondents to identify one category within these classifications that closely reflect their identity in relation to their marital status that the researcher is really interested in finding out and correlating to other variables in the same study.
As a variable, weight can be operationalized by asking respondents their body weight in kilograms. The respondents can be asked to indicate their weight at the time of the study. The body weight in kilograms can be correlated to other variables.
Blood pressure and hypertension can all be operationalized in the same way. The researcher can ask or test the heart beat per minute of the respondents. Normal blood pressure is when the heart is recorded to be at 72 beats in a minute. Alternatively, the researcher can ask the respondents their heart beat and record this comparing with other variables.
Body temperature can be operationalized by measuring the respondents’ temperature using the thermometer. The researcher could also determine the body temperature by questioning the respondents on their body temperature as was recorded during their last medical check-up period. Then, the result can be compared with other variables.
Health insurance status can be operationalized in terms of the amount of money that respondents spend on health insurance. For example, the researcher can ask the respondents the total amount of money, on average, that they spend on health insurance in a given period that the researcher is interested in. The researcher can thus classify the respondents’ health insurance status depending on the amount spent on health insurance.
In order to operationalize the smoking status of the respondents, the researcher can simply ask the respondents whether or not they smoked. The responses here would either be no or yes. While operationalizing the stage of the cancer in the respondents the researcher must be able to recognize the different stages of cancer and the symptoms of every stage. Thus, the researcher can classify respondents according to their cancerous stage depending on the indicators observed.
In conclusion, operationalization of different variables in a study remains very essential in determining the validity and reliability of the research. Therefore, it is critical for a researcher to clearly operationalize various variables and determine how they will be measured in a study.
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