The construct specification is a blueprint for creating a survey instrument
Another important part of the construct specification is the identification and representation of the content area related to the construct of interest. A survey instrument is written to measure one overall construct, but most constructs are comprised of several different components, factors, or phenomena. These different content areas must be represented and backed up by referencing the most current published empirical evidence within the construct specification. Identifying these content areas and providing citations begins the process of item formulation.
The last part of the construct specification is a table that presents the percentages of the survey allocated to the respective content areas. If one content area reflects the vast majority of the construct of interest, then it should constitute a vast majority of the items in the survey. If there are many content areas that are interrelated to make up the overall construct, then this should be reflected in the dispersal of the percentages in the table.
The empirical literature and construct specifications
The evidence must then be critically reviewed, appraised, and aggregated into a network of content areas that constitute the construct of interest, as it exists within the respective body of literature.
Mastering the empirical literature associated with a construct of interest fosters a natural and logical cognitive pathway towards understanding both tangible and abstract concepts. This understanding leads to a more informed and objective operational definition of the construct, as it is understood and validated by the respective body of literature. The operational definition further provides the structural framework for specifying specific content areas, garnered from the respective body of literature.
Going further, when attempting to measure for new, unique, or abstract constructs, researchers can make stronger hypotheses about the existence of never-before-measured phenomena, as they exist in relation to the respective body of literature.
In essence, the respective body of literature in which the construct of interest is embedded must be mastered and represented in the construct specification. This leads to a deeper level of understanding and representation of the construct.
Phenomenological perception and construct specifications
What is the temporal experience of the construct? Is the construct something that develops or changes across time? How does the construct develop or change?
2. The body
What are the physical, physiological, psychological, psychosomatic, and spatial phenomena experienced by the body in relation to the construct? How does the construct exist in space? How is the body oriented to the construct? Is the construct tangible or abstract? Does the construct induce cognitive dissonance? What is the reaction of the body to the construct?
What are the social implications of the construct? How do people experience the construct in the context of social, cultural, socioeconomic phenomena? Would respondents want to give answers that are "socially desirable?" What beliefs, values, norms, and thoughts arise as a result of the construct?
4. The world
How does the construct exist in the natural environment? How is it experienced in its natural environment? What are the implications and impact of the construct on the environment?
These four perceptual grounds can help contextualize the construct and the experience of it in a construct specification.
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