Original Research

A psycho-philosophical view on the ‘conceptualisation’ of psychological measure development

Hannelie du Preez, Werner de Klerk
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1593 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1593 | © 2019 Hannelie du Preez, Werner de Klerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2018 | Published: 31 July 2019

About the author(s)

Hannelie du Preez, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Werner de Klerk, School of Psychosocial Health, Community Psychosocial Research (COMPRES), North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


Orientation: When researchers’ understanding and application of ‘conceptualisation’ can allude to nearly anything, it loses its philosophical purpose and stature. Negating the philosophical meaning of the term ‘conceptualisation’, because it appears obvious, will result in research inquiries becoming ambiguous and ideologically diminished. Paradigms and theoretical frameworks are rooted in philosophical principles, yet researchers often ‘conceptualise’ and conduct inquiries without understanding the foundation of their applied scientific methods.

Research purpose: The historicity of psychological measurement development depicts a fusion of transdisciplinary knowledge systems and the stature of scientific methods is comprehensive. Yet the philosophical lenses through which researchers ‘conceptualise’ their measure to understand psychological behaviour are not as clear.

Motivation for the study: Contemporary psychometric literature postulates the ‘conceptualisation phase’ as a mere point of departure to develop a psychological measure, whereas philosophical literature depicts ‘conceptualisation’ as the mainstay of any research inquiry.

Research approach/design and method: A qualitative design was used with the conceptual analysis of terminology as approach. Textual or typographical psychometric and psychological literature was purposively sampled and inductively and deductively analysed, using the philosophical framework of Van der Walt and Potgieter.

Main findings: The definition of the ‘conceptualisation phase’ is principally characterised as the scientific method to measure the scientific reality, while the integral human component, represented by the measure developer, is overlooked.

Practical/managerial implications: Insights derived can enthuse future dialogues on the purpose and importance of the conceptualisation phase in the development of psychological measures.

Contribution/value-add: A potential delineation of what the ‘conceptualisation phase’ should encapsulate is proposed.


Conceptual analysis; conceptualisation; conceptualisation phase; psycho-philosophical viewpoints; psychological measure development.


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