Managing Measurement in Method: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Definition and Interpretation in Social Science Research


This case contends that small implicit biases seep into social science research through the interrelated paths of definitional considerations, methodological discretion, and interpretative bias. Using a previously published study on the relationship between gun control and mass murder, I demonstrate how definition drives method and how method influences results and interpretation. The case focuses on the ways in which small implicit biases in definitions of key variables introduce larger biases in interpretation and influences the direction of social science research. Lessons for managing problems of measurement in method are discussed.

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