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My wife, children, and I are an
interracial family. My wife identifies as African American, I am Caucasian. My
children could mark both on the census. Interracial couples have become more
common over the last few decades. You could always make the Census more
detailed, but the Census Bureau’s classifications line up with mine.
Personally, I can’t think of anyone that is not represented in the census when
it is filled out properly. With the
My conceptualization and
operationalization mirror the Census Bureau’s standards:
We must be careful how we
operationalize race. If not, it will result in inaccurate data collection/conclusions.
Furthermore, researchers need to ensure the census, questionnaires, surveys,
and research methods are written properly. If not, many individuals could
associate themselves with the wrong population. Anytime you change the
categories, chances are the race conclusions will change.
differences producing different conclusions about race:
Over the decades, the Hispanic
population has continued to increase. The census is a massive undertaking. It
takes a great deal of time, effort, and resources to ensure it is completed
correctly. The census is used to collect a great deal of data from the country.
It is important to ensure the census reflects the population accurately.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing right. More importantly, many legislative
programs are affected by data collected from the census (Ennis, et al., 2011). Before
the census changes, many citizens were not classifying themselves
The reason for the Census
In 2010, the census bureau needed to
make a notable alteration to address the shifting diversity in America. Since
the 1970’s, the census has been revised to expand the data gathering of
Hispanic statistics. Also, in from 2000 to 2010, over fifty percent of the
American populace increase was due to the population identifying as Hispanic
(Ennis, Rios-Vargas, & Albert, 2011). Overall, it has been increasingly
important to gather information on this group. So, the census bureau changed
the wording to the Hispanic origin question in three ways. They changed it to
be more inclusive, it took away the requirement to mark “not Spanish, and it
included Hispanic countries previously not listed in the 2000 census.
Census Bureau Changes:
Pacific Islander’s are descendants
from the original societies of Hawaii, Gaum, and other Pacific Islands (Race
and Ethnicity Classifications, n.d.).
Asian individuals can trace their ancestry
from the original cultures of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or Indian
Indian’s can trace their genetics back to the cultures/people that originally
lived in North and South America. However, they retain tribal ties,
affiliation, or attachments to the American Indian community.
individuals have biological origins of people originally from the Middle East,
North America, or Europe.
Americans can trace their lineage back to the original people of Africa.
Operationalizing the Race
Questionnaires, surveys, and
research are notorious for conducting studies of racial differences. Typically,
a person’s race will be designated as African American/Black, White/Caucasian,
American Indian, Asian, or Pacific Islander (Sue, 1991).
Conceptualizing the Race
operational definition would assign a value to variables that would measure a
conceptual idea. It is taking conceptualization a step further. In research, we
must be able to measure the results of what is being studied (Welch, 2011). For
example, one may try to determine if one state is more religious than another.
To do this, you would have to operationalize the variable. Hours reading the
bible, the percent of income given to the church, and hours spent volunteering
could be used to measure a person’s religiousness.
The conceptual definition is a
general definition to make an abstract term perceptible/tangible. Typically, the
construct refers to intangibles, and are mental creations (Welch, 2011). You
can find conceptual definitions in a textbooks or dictionaries (Sirkin,
2006). Freedom, democracy, or religion
would provide good examples to research a conceptual definition.
Conceptualizing & Operationalizing Variables
American Military University Student
By Carl Covington
Conceptualizing & Operationalizing Variables