How to operationalize a concept? 3 easy steps to create a concept
How to operationalize a concept? 3 easy steps to create a concept

It’s easy to come up with an idea, but it’s hard to get that idea into reality. How to operationalize a concept?

Most of the time we have a great concept for a new product or service, but then we don’t know how to turn that idea into something real. We want our ideas to be more than just concepts!

If you’re having trouble turning your concept into something real there are some clear steps you can take. This guide will help you operationalize any of your good ideas so they become successful products and services in the market place.

How to operationalize a concept?
How to operationalize a concept?

What is Operationalization?

Operationalization is a process by which researchers turn abstract concepts into measurable observations. For example, operationalizing the concept of “happiness” would involve defining how long someone has been happy for and measuring their levels on an official scale so you can see if there’s any correlation between theirs and others’ happiness rates!

Operationalization is integral when trying to study phenomena that are not directly measurable. One way in which this can be done is through operationalizing the concept of health by using different indicators such as body mass index (BMI), cholesterol levels, blood sugar level etc.,-to measure one’s overall state/condition .

Why is Operationalization Important?

A good way to measure abstract concepts is by converting them into something that can be measured. This process, called operationalization or conversion of variables, must first start with defining what you are measuring and then developing an equation for the difference between two values representing your attribute under study (the independent variable).

There are many different abstract concepts and the ways they can be operationalized. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Customer Loyalty

customer-loyalty-lifecycle -

As you know, feedback from customers is vital for many companies to track their success and make improvements. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) has become the internationally-recognized standard because it measures how loyal someone feels about all aspects of doing business with them – not just transactions but also service quality or even employee satisfaction.

Perception of Threat

The human body has a variety of responses to threat, one being an increase in sweat gland activity and changes in heart rate. The perception can cause physiological reactions that range from mild discomfort all the way up to life-threatening conditions like septic shock or stroke!


Overconfidence can be operationalized by asking people to estimate their success rates on different types of tasks, and then calculating how much more confident they are in that estimation than reality.

How to operationalize a concept?

The following three steps can be used to operationalize concepts effectively:

  • Outline the Concepts you want out of your head and write them down on paper in a creative way so they stay fresh in mind.
  • Dig up any literature or articles that pertain, even if it is just an article about bird watching with nature parks around town (variables).
  • Select Variable Indicators-the measurable characteristics such as attendance rates at certain events which may indicate how successful campaigns were for example.

The Levels of Conceptualization & Operationalization — Ama Nyame-Mensah

Outline the Concepts you want to Study

The idea of your study will influence what questions you want answered. For example, let’s say I wanted to look at how social media influenced depression rates among teenagers and their parents or guardians; my research question would be as follows: How does the use (or nonuse) of these platforms affect an individual’s emotional state?

Select Variables to represent each Concept

There are many variables that can be measured to test an idea, but it is important to select the most relevant ones.

It may help narrow down your options by reviewing some previous literature on similar concepts or ideas before making decisions about which measurements will best suit what you’re trying tester out there in order not make any mistakes!

For example, you can measure ‘how often teenagers use social media’ (frequency), or you can track ‘which social media they use’ (type).

Select Variable Indicators

Once you have selected a variable to represent each concept being measured, the next step is to decide which indicators will be used. These numbers or symbols should help evaluate your chosen variable numerically and in relation with other variables for comparison purposes

Once we’ve decided on our measurements’ “indicators,” they can become numerical values that allow us measure how well certain things are going relative others when looking back at past literature as inspiration

Let’s assume that the variable you selected to measure social media behaviour is frequency. In this case, an indicator of frequency could be how many times a person logs into their account during any given day or accumulates time spent on various platforms over days in one go.

Advantages of Operationalization


Many people often debate and discuss how we can use science in our everyday lives. Most of us know that data is important for decision-making, but what do you actually need to get the most out it? For example: “What’s an operational definition?” Simply put – one that describes something very specifically (like breaking down intangible concepts into measurable characteristics).

Using this method means obtaining recordings from many different sources; these include observations by experimenters or independent researchers who analyze their own results as well any raw materials measured using precise devices like sensors or meters.”

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A standardized approach for collecting data leaves little room for subjective or bias personal interpretations of observations. It’s all about being as objective and honest with oneself, so that a person can make accurate conclusions from the information they have collected.


A good operationalization is one that other researchers can use to measure the same thing with consistency. If someone measures according your definition, they should all get similar results every time because it has been well defined and thought out in advance.


Operationalization is a way to ensure consistency in the collection and interpretation of data, which facilitates replicating any study that employs it.


A conceptual framework is a useful tool for determining how something can be measured and interpreted. It eliminates the possibility of subjective or biased interpretations because it provides an objective way to evaluate data, as well as allows those who use them in their work to more closely align themselves with rigorous practices needed when doing so scientifically.

Disadvantages of Operationalization


The concept of poverty is a difficult one to define because it varies across different time periods and social settings.

Income-level may play an important role in determining whether someone lives below the poverty line, but countries differ significantly when deciding what exactly constitutes as “low” income for their own individual economies (United States vs Canada).


Operationalization is a process of interpretation and narrowing down broad concepts into sharper observations which can cause the original meaning to be lost.

Lack of universality

Operationalizations are essential for preserving real-life experiences, but it’s hard to compare studies when the measures differ significantly. For example, corruption can be operationalized in a wide range of ways (e.g., perceptions about corrupt business practices or frequency of bribe requests from public officials). However these concepts may not consistently reflect what exactly we want our study measuring!

Lack of Acceptance

To investigate the theory of conceptual change, one must first establish what they are trying to measure.

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For example an abstract concept like intelligence could be operationalized in many different ways depending on how it’s being studied and for whom – this leads other researchers often question whether or not these related methods will provide meaningful results when interpreted relative each other due their difference with respect to measuring “intelli” as opposed too say degree per type area where knowledge is stored within one’s brain (e.g., memories).

Frequently asked questions about operationalization

What’s the difference between concepts, variables, and indicators?

The three key concepts in scientific research are abstract ideas or phenomena that can be studied. Variables describe properties of these concepts, while indicators measure them quantitatively and may take on many different forms such as yearly grade reports with percentages next to each letter for students who have done well enough on standardized tests at the end-of year exam period when compared against their classmates’ results from national exams taken earlier during this same time frame – proving just how successful they were academically over all!

Operationalization is the process of turning abstract concepts into measurable variables and indicators.

What’s the difference between reliability and validity?

Reliability and validity are both about how well a method measures something:

  • Reliability refers to the consistency of results (whether they can be reproduced under similar conditions).
  • Validity usually means having an accurate representation or measurement of what is being measured in order for it’s findings to hold true.

Internal and external validity are two concepts that you should consider when designing an experiment. These terms refer to the ability for your research findings to apply in different settings, or how “generalizable” they will be across other populations of people who don’t live through what happened during testing like human subjects did (internal).

The more generalizable data can become after being collected on certain variables within one specific group – this makes it much easier not only recognize potential solutions but also test them out!

What is data collection?

Data collection has many different uses in the academic, government and business worlds. Data can be used as a measurement tool for academics looking to better understand how people are related orizenthats might affect their research findings; it could also provide evidence that would lead governments into making big decisions with serious consequences- like spending billions on defense systems against aliens!

How do we operationalize the concepts?

Operationalization is the process by which researchers conducting quantitative research spell out precisely how a concept will be measured. Operationalizing involves identifying what type of data we are going to collect with our measurements, and this can include things such as providing instructions on an online survey or coding documents based off reviewers’ comments about them.

What is Operationalisation in qualitative research?

Operationalization is the process by which researchers set indicators to measure concepts. As qualitative researchers, we need to define these key terms so that our research can be more accurately judged and validated for its accuracy in relation with other studies conducted on similar subjects or topics.

What are 3 types of variables?

The three main variables are independent, dependent and controlled. For example a car going on different surfaces will have various effects due to the way it moves through them which can then lead into other aspects of that object’s performance or functionality being altered as well.


Operationalizing a concept is about deciding how to do something and then figuring out what you need in order to be successful. The key takeaway from this article should not just be that we’ve discussed it, but rather the importance of implementing these concepts so your organization can achieve its desired outcomes. As such, we recommend reading our blog for more information on operationalizing ideas or contact us if you want help with any aspect of doing so.

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