Concepts constructs and definitions

A concept or construct refers to characteristics that we wish to measure and a definition of the precise meaning of the concept or construct. Many of the constructs measured in typical marketing research studies are directly observable

and many are not. The concepts of sales and market share can be directly linked to observable events. In contrast, the concepts of attitude, product perception or other customer satisfaction factors are measured indirectly.

Depending on the characteristics being measured, the numbers assigned have different properties that affect the kind of statements that can be made about the amount of a characteristic possessed by one individual relative to another. The scales used in these different types of measurement are termed nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio (see Figure 6.1).

Nominal scales allow us to place an object in one and only one of a set of mutually exclusive classes with no implied ordering. For example, a car's registration plate is an example of nominally scaled data. The numbers assigned have no other specific properties other than to identify the car assigned that number. Nominal-scaled variables include examples such as gender, religious denomination and political affiliation. The numbers assigned do not actually reflect the amount of the attribute possessed by the object under scrutiny. Because nominal data do not possess order, distance or origin, only a limited number of statistics are allowable. It is not meaningful, in this case, to compute the mean because it has no significance. However, a nominal variable can be counted: it would, for example, be legitimate to say that 50% of a sample is female. The correct measure of central tendency is the mode, the value that occurs most frequently.

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