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A theory of measurement.

Cartwright, Nancy and Bradburn, Norman M. and Fuller, Jonathan (2016) 'A theory of measurement.', Working Paper. Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS), Durham.


This paper discusses basic issues about the nature of measurement for concepts in the social sciences and medicine, introducing a three-stage theory of measurement. In science and policy investigations we study quantities and qualities (or quality/quantity concepts)1 and their relations in order to understand and predict the behavior of individuals/tokens displaying those quantities or falling under those concepts. What does it mean to measure a quantity (e.g. body size) or to assign a concept or category (e.g. ‘underweight’) to a token? In medicine, as throughout natural and social science, measurement is not just assigning categories or numbers; it is assigning values in a systematic and grounded way. This involves applying some well-grounded metric representing the quantity (e.g. body mass index (BMI)) to the token.

Item Type:Monograph (Working Paper)
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:21 October 2016
Date of first online publication:September 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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