chapter  4
22 Pages

Meaningful and meaningless statements in epidemiology and public health

ByFred S. Roberts

The theory of measurement is an interdisciplinary subject that grew out of the attempt to put the foundations of measurement on a •rm mathematical foundation. Building on classic examples of measurement in the physical sciences, the theory was motivated by the attempt to make measurement in economics, psychology, and other disciplines more precise. The theory traces its roots to the work of Helmholtz (1887/1930), and was widely formalized in the twentieth century in such books as Krantz, Luce, Suppes, and Tverksy (1971), Luce, Krantz, Suppes, and Tversky (1990), Pfanzagl (1968), Roberts (1979/2009), and Suppes, Krantz, Luce, and Tversky (1989). Measurement theory is now beginning to be applied in a wide variety of new areas. Little known in the •elds of epidemiology and public health, the theory has the potential to make important contributions to epidemiological measurement. In turn, problems of epidemiology are posing new challenges for measurement theory.