How does a survey measure work?

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Linna building, auditorium K 103, address: Kalevantie 5

Doctoral defence of M.Soc.Sc Katri-Maria Järvinen

How does a survey measure work? A study on the construction of a working life survey measure

The field of science of the dissertation is Social Policy.

The opponent is docent Raija Julkunen (University of Jyväskylä). Professor Jouko Nätti acts as the custos.

The language of the dissertation defence is Finnish.

Research on survey measures

Quantitative research methods are a key element of empirical social research. However, social scientific quantitative research methods have been relatively seldom analysed with social scientific concepts. In her dissertation, M.Soc.Sc. Katri-Maria Järvinen studies survey measures that are commonly used as data collection tools. Järvinen focuses on the ontological aspects of survey knowledge instead of questions of reliability or validity. Questions such as ‘which elements constitute survey measures?’ and ‘how do measures act in research practices?’ are foundational in the context of this study.

The dissertation is a case study of a four-year-long research project (2008–2011) in the field of working life research. The data consist mainly of documents that the project researchers wrote and used during the survey data collection, such as project meeting memos, versions of survey questionnaires, and peer reviewed journal articles. The results show that survey measures are not unambiguous and self-explanatory entities of question and response alternatives; rather, they consist of both human and non-human elements, and these entities differ in various situations.

The study also shows that research concerning questions of knowledge-making cannot be separated from the thematic phenomena and questions that are under investigation on each occasion. When research objects are measured and classified according to the principles of survey methodology, we simultaneously outline and produce our research objects. Studying knowledge-making thus reveals it to be both a socio political issue and a question of the politics of knowledge


The dissertation is published in the publication series of Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 2342, Tampere University Press, Tampere 2018. The dissertation is also published in the e-series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 1847, Tampere University Press 2018.

The dissertation can be ordered at: Juvenes e-bookstore or by e-mail:

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