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Measuring Social Exclusion

New Perspectives and Methods in Transport and Social Exclusion Research

ISBN: 978-1-78-052200-5, eISBN: 978-1-78-052201-2

Publication date: 20 October 2011


Purpose — This chapter explores measurement of some of the key concepts used in the research, particularly social exclusion, but also social capital and community connection. In contrast to psychology, other social sciences continue to debate conceptual terms and do not have measurement as a central concern. Thus, there is a need to provide a measurement framework before commencing the research project.

Methodology — This chapter is based on literature searches of how these concepts are understood, used and measured in social science. A lack of precision has possibly contributed to their omission from much current project evaluation and government policy decisions, including around transport. Five principles that have guided the formation of the measurement tool are outlined. This is followed by illustrations of measurement that has been used in key pieces of research.

Findings — Social exclusion is measured using five dimensions important for connection to society: income, employment, political activity, social support and participation. Threshold levels of exclusion are determined for each of these dimensions and the results added to obtain a rating or score for each of the respondents. Social capital is measured by the comprehensiveness of the participant’s social network and whether this network comprises bonding or bridging social capital. Although it is common to include the measurement of trust and reciprocity as part of social capital, networks has been deemed to be the most important component for policy development. Community connectedness is measured using an existing ‘Sense of Community Scale’, verified and commonly used in psychology.


Stanley, J.R. (2011), "Measuring Social Exclusion", Currie, G. (Ed.) New Perspectives and Methods in Transport and Social Exclusion Research, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 77-90.



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