Nebraska Academy of Sciences


Date of this Version



1980. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, VIII:237-241. Copyright © 1980


The concept of "fiat measurement" is an alternative to fundamental and derived measurement. This concept is believed to be more descriptive of measurement in the social sciences, where in most cases theories as well-formed as those in the physical sciences do not exist. In fiat measurement an index or measurement of a concept is assumed to be representative of that concept. However, the representation between a measurement scale and the theoretical concept cannot be proven. Although fiat measurement is descriptive of much current work in social sciences, it is shown to be a problematic concept because of its arbitrariness, lack of foundation in theory, and non-confirmability. The nature of theories and the relations of measurement to scientific theories are discussed. The use of fiat measurement is related to a prescientific state of some of the social sciences. Before better forms of measurement can be used, considerable theoretical development is necessary in these sciences.

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