Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:14 am

Operational Definition for mouthwash experiment

Postby kakaiser » Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:09 pm

I am trying to figure out what my "operational definition" is for my experiement. I am going to test 4 different mouthwashes with different ingredients to see which kills the most bacteria. I will swab and put them on petry dishes, etc. I am filling out a form for class that asks about my operational definition and I'm not sure what that really means.

Former Expert
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:28 pm

Postby Willz » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:54 pm

Hi kakaiser!

First of all, make sure you understand the meaning of an operational definition: basically, it is a description of an experimental procedure for the translation of a variable into measurement or numeric value. It is a detailed definition of a measure and is used to remove ambiguity and ensure all data collectors have the same understanding. More information can be found on this website: http://www.qualityadvisor.com/sqc/od_what.php.
See if this helps any.


Lise Byrd
Former Expert
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2005 10:00 pm

Postby Lise Byrd » Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:41 am

Here's another website that explains an operational definition and gives some examples. I don't think you need to read through the whole thing, just the introduction and the examples.

I think that what an operational definition asks for is the part of the procedure that "defines" the results-- the example is that the act of putting an object on a scale and seeing what number that gives tells you the object's weight. Although you might, in a full procedure, need to find an object first and perhaps modify it depending on exactly what you are weighing, these actions will not tell you what the weight of the object is.

You might ask yourself, "What is/ are the necessary step(s) in my project that will tell me what my results are?"

Post back if things are still unclear afterward.

Return to “Life, Earth, and Social Sciences”