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Variables, Defining

Edited by: Published: 2017
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Variable definitions describe what researchers mean when they identify their variables. These are explicitly and precisely written definitions of variables delineated for readers to pinpoint the construct under consideration in the literature review.

This entry focuses on the definition in the variable construction process:

Conceptualization → Definition → Operationalization → Measurement

To begin, this entry discusses what variable definitions offer to researchers and the importance for establishing well-thought-out definitions. Next, this entry describes the distinctions between real, nominal, and operational definitions. Finally, this entry provides a discussion of exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory studies and how the variable definition process differs for each of these research types.


Variables must have conceptual or theoretical definitions. These definitions include elements of ...

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