Schottler Consulting Social and Market Research Knowledge Centre

How do I design a measurement framework and what is it?


Over the years, we have seen many shopping list style research surveys.

This typically involves a social or market research company putting a list of often disjointed questions together similar to the way a shopping list may be developed.

In this respect, there appears to be limited consideration of the strategic objectives of the research or consideration of the factors which should be measured from a theoretical perspective.


The better practice approach to social or market research and survey design involves developing a measurement framework of variables prior to developing individual survey items (i.e., survey questions or measures).

This framework should ideally show an overview of all major measures in the survey and

implicitly present a clear rationale for their inclusion.


An example measurement framework is shown below.​

Survey and research design in social or market research

The figure above shows how a conceptual framework has differentiated between influencing variables and outcome variables.


For instance, in a social research study, the left hand side may show that factors such as awareness, gender and attitudes towards smoking influence overall views towards recreational drugs, which in turn influences drug use behaviour (which may be the outcome variable).

In this respect, developing a social and market research measurement framework can help ensure that all the correct measures are included in any given survey.


To develop a measurement framework of research variables, it can be useful to differentiate between influencing, moderating and mediating variables and outcomes.


Tips for success in developing measures for social or market research


Tips for developing a measurement framework can include:


  • Conducting focus group style research or interviews to gather information to better understand the variables at play

  • Conduct a literature review to look for past research which may inform development of a measurement or conceptual framework

  • Using pen and paper separate variables into influencing and outcome variables (using boxes such as above

  • Once the measurement framework is complete, develop survey individual measures for each chunk of information in the framework.