Definition :Definition has great importance in social research and scientific method : “It is the method of clarifying the meaning of a word or concept.” No social research can proceed further without passing through the stage
of definition. Therefore, its study is necessary in detail to understand a scientific method.
Types of Definitions
There are three kinds of definitions:
1. Real Definition :
“This. is a real statement that can be right or wrong.” It tells the necessary meaning of a thought or concept. Just as the concept of 'social stratification' will be described according to real definition as a part of division of society with reference to its ups-and-down.
2. Conceptual or Nominal Definition :
This is a dictionary type explanation of a definition. These are the objective meaning of a concept. This definition expresses the motive behind the concept and its use in some alternative word or concept. This definition does not define a truth and can be right or wrong, therefore, it is said to be conceptual definition. It uses a concept to explain another concept. For example, political aggression is a concept and its superficial definition is the aggressive attitude toward some political institution or use of weapon for political aims. In both the definitions, other concepts have been used which have been explained by the definition.
Functions of Conceptual Definition
i. It adds new concepts in a language or some scientific knowledge.
ii. It expresses some importance of specific concepts of scientific knowledge. Just as the word ‘demand’ when used as a term in economics or a scientific concept, its importance is increased.
iii. It saves place, time and attention in a scientific knowledge and serves the purpose of abbreviation of a common language.
iv. It provides alternative words instead of words of common language which have logical meanings along with non-emotional meanings.
3. Operational Definition :
It is that definition in which a researcher attaches specific meaning to a at by making it an indicator for measurement. Operational definition is a phenomenon of a real definition that presents the explanation of the phenomenon or concept and another researcher will have the same meaning which was taken
by a researcher.
According to David and Chava Nachmi as :
“Operational definition bridges the gap between the theoretical conceptual level and the empirical observation level.”
Rules for Definition
Cohen and Negel have devised from the Aristotelian analysis the following rules for definition :
i. It should not be circular. That topic or subject being defined should not be included directly or indirectly.
ii. It should not be in a negative ’manner if it can be possible positive.
ii. It should not be in figurative language.
iv. It should be clear and comprehensive. Unwanted length spoils its beauty and benefit.