Errors of Measurement: Dichotomization of a Continuous Variable

A variable is any concept that has more than one possible value. This is contrasted with a constant whose value never changes (e.g., pi, the speed of light). A variable, at a minimum, must have two possible values (e.g., gender has male or female). A variable, at the other end, can have an unlimited set of potential values (distance between two places measured in meters). The question is how to organize or set up the measurement of some quantity using an operationalization. This entry introduces dichotomization of a continuous variable as one approach to addressing errors of measurement, paying specific attention to the justifications for and costs of deploying this method.

An operationalization takes the conceptual variable and provides a means of measurement using some device. ...

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