Measurement, or the process of observing and representing attributes of people, objects, processes, and other phenomena, is of primary concern to health communication research. Much of the work performed by health communication professionals—whether identifying and monitoring health problems, designing effective interventions to address these problems, or evaluating the efficacy of health communication interventions—depends on accurate, valid, and reliable measurement of variables. For this reason, health communication professionals give much thought to the development and testing of measures. Despite such efforts, there is a significant potential for measurement-related problems within the field of health communication.

Generally speaking, there are three classes of measurement problems that are relevant to health communication research: operationalization errors, observation errors, and interpretation errors. Operationalization is the process of identifying and selecting observable ...

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