New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Page 168 7— Measurement of the Variables Survey instruments are designed so that as many respondents as possible are able to provide accurately and easily the information needed by the researcher. The object of a pilot test, as we have seen, is to improve the design in terms of the flow of questions and ease of comprehension by respondents. Even so, responses from some recipients are likely to indicate that they have personal situations and perceptions which had not been anticipated. Analysts must thus develop protocols for managing the data so that the objective of the investigation is not jeopardized. This process involves the establishment of appropriate rules to interpret answers consistently. The first part of this chapter deals with some technical issues relating to dummy and proxy variables, then goes on to comment on some of the variables that might be included in an analysis. The next part of the chapter examines the protocol development process with examples relating to a few of the variables, and gives a few practical tips to smooth the research path. In addition, it examines some issues relating tO zonal methodology and discusses controlling the cost of gathering data. Dummy Variables A variable is an entity which can assume different values. A continuous variable has any numeric value and therefore can have an infinite number of values between any two adjacent units on a scale. Discrete variables, on the other hand, take only specified values such as whole numbers only. Dummy variables are one...
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