One of the fundamental requirements of clinical research is a clear, a priori description of variables to be collected to answer the proposed research question. The process by which a concept or phenomenon will be measured is referred to as operationalization, a procedure which compels the researcher to make decisions about specific parameters for each variable. Operationalizing helps to provide a clear, objective definition of even the most complex variables thus making it easier for future investigators to replicate a study and check for reliability. Lack of operational definition of terms or inconsistent definition of the same concept may lead to nonreplicable outcomes thus making comparisons across studies extremely difficult, if not impossible.

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