Abstract This essay is a systematic investigation of the problems concerning the measurement of theoretical qualities in the social sciences. If someone wants to measure theoretical qualities like attitudes, intelligence or aggressivity the first and most difficult task is to formulate an operationalisation. To show such operationalisations being correct is the central problem of empirical research. In this essay it is shown that no adequate methods exist to demonstrate operationalisations as true ore false statements. As long as the problem of operationalisation is treated and analysed as a problem of isolated statements it seems to be absolutely unsolvable. The problem of the correctness of operationalisations must be interpreted as the problem of the correctness of the theories in which they are used. Whether an operationalisation is accepted or not depends only on the empiricai success of the theory in which it is contained. This implies that we can only measure theoretical qualities if we have successful theories working with these theoretical qualities.
Analyse & Kritik – de Gruyter
Published: Nov 1, 1980