Skip to main content

Operational Definitions

You will want to create an Operational Definition of each measure. An operational definition is a description, in quantifiable terms, of what to measure and how to measure it consistently –such that any person would collect it the same way and get the same answer.

Characteristics of an operational definition are:

  • Gives communicable meaning to a concept
  • Is clear and unambiguous
  • Usually numerical
  • Specifies measurement method and equipment

For example, how do you define “daily census?” One hospital uses–At 7:00am, everyone who is alive and born, who is assigned to a bed.