8. Measurement

A typical tape measure with both metric and US...

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Anything can be measured; in research you need to determine what to measure and how precise the measurement needs to be, or can be. A familiar object such as a penny, provides comparison for determining scale. A tape measure is more than adequate if we want to know the width of the margin on a piece of paper, but it will not be able to measure the tolerances inside a car engine, where the allowable error variance is about 2/1000 (.002) of an inch. We can frame a house with an error variance of about 1/4 inch, but must have an error variance of less than 1/32 inch if we are cutting furniture parts. We can count the number of people or things with no error variance, but how do we measure a person’s values or experience?


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