In everyday usage, measurement occurs when an established yardstick verifies the height, weight or another feature of a physical object. How well you like a song, a painting, or the personality of a friend is also a measurement. In a dictionary sense, to measure is to discover the extent, dimensions, quantity, or capacity of something, especially by comparison with a standard. We measure casually in daily life, but in research the requirements are rigorous.

Measurement in research consists of assigning numbers to empirical events in compliance with a set of rules. This definition implies that measurement is a three part process:

  1. Selecting observable empirical events.
  2. Using numbers or symbols to represent aspects of the events, and
  3. Applying a mapping rule to connect the observation to the symbol.

As already noted, measurement is the assignment of numerals to objects or events according to some rules. A rule is a guide that directs you on how to go about assigning numerals. A numeral is a symbol of the form 1, 2, 3, or I, II, III…… A numeral has no quantitative meaning unless we give it such a meaning. It is simply a symbol of special kind. Numbers are used because they facilitate communication of the measurement procedures and the results from researcher to researcher. In addition the use of numbers allows mathematical manipulations of the measurement data.

A note of postulates
A postulate is an assumption that is an essential prerequisite to carrying out some operations or some thinking. In this case it is an assumption about the relations between the objects being measured.
There are three important postulates;

  1. Either (a=b) or (a≠b) but not both. This postulate is necessary for classification in data analysis.
  2. If (a=b) and (b=c), then (a=c). This postulate enables a measurement to establish the equality of set numbers on a characteristic by comparing objects.
  3. If (a b) and (b c) then (a c). This is an important postulate and most measurements in marketing research depend on it.
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