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The construct definition is the theoretical definition, and this definition is best obtained by referencing other research studies that have measured the same variable.
For example, a well-established definition for socio-economic status is a person's economic standing based on lifestyle, prestige, power, and control of resources (Liu, Ali, Soleck, Hopps, Dunston, Pickett, 2004).
Now that the sample has been identified, the researcher must now transition to thinking about what the variables mean both theoretically and practically to determine how to measure the key variables in the study.
Measurement consists of assigning numbers or labels to the units of analysis that accurately represent their position on the variables under study.
The operational definition of a variable consists of a statement of specifically how the construct will be measured or implemented in the study.
Except for qualitative research designs in which the key sources of data include words, pictures, or objects, the key variables need to be translated into numbers so the researcher can analyze the data using statistics.
The process of measurement consists of moving from the theoretical definition of a variable (typically called the construct definition) to the concrete mode of measuring that variable in the research study.
For example, if a research study is examining Maths achievement of JS1 students, each unit of analysis (JS1 student) must be assigned a number that represents their position in Maths achievement.
This can simply be done by assigning them a score on a Maths exam.
Once the construct definition has been developed, the researcher must translate that theoretical definition into a concrete way of measuring the variable so numbers can be assigned.