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Argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness: Type of argument as a situational constraint
Unformatted Document Text:  Argumentativeness 15 Another potential problem relates to the construct validity of the argumentativeness scale. The way Infante and Rancer (1982) conceptually and operationally define argumentativeness appears to fail to distinguish between argument 1 (making an argument) and argument 2 (having an argument) (O’Keefe, 1977). For example, argumentativeness is defined as the tendency to advocate or refute positions on controversial issues (Infante & Rancer, 1982; Rancer, Baukus, & Infante, 1985), which refers to argumentative behavior, or argument 1 . Previous research that examines the relationship between argumentativeness levels and actual argument behavior (which found little relationship between the two, i.e., Levine, & Boster, 1996; Semic & Canary, 1997), supports this focus on argument 1 as integral to the concept of argumentativeness. However, argumentativeness is operationalized as the difference between the motivation to approach an argument versus the motivation to avoid an argument (Infante & Rancer, 1982). How does one “approach” or “avoid” an argument? Do they mean argument 1 or argument 2 ? In other words, are they referring to approaching or avoiding the argumentative encounters altogether (argument 2 ) or once one is within an argumentative situation, seeking to approach or avoid advancing arguments (argument 1 )? To be consistent with their conceptualization, they would appear to be trying to measure the second. However, which are the respondents considering when completing the argumentativeness scale? This potential lack of symmetry between conceptualization and operationalization affects the construct validity of the argumentativeness scale. Interpreting the argumentativeness scale as referring to argument 2 rather than argument 1 provides another potential explanation for the results in this study. If individuals wish to avoid personal issue arguments, then this may result in lower levels of the argumentativeness scale in the personal issue argument condition.

Authors: Johnson, Amy.
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Argumentativeness 15
Another potential problem relates to the construct validity of the argumentativeness scale.
The way Infante and Rancer (1982) conceptually and operationally define argumentativeness
appears to fail to distinguish between argument
1
(making an argument) and argument
2
(having
an argument) (O’Keefe, 1977). For example, argumentativeness is defined as the tendency to
advocate or refute positions on controversial issues (Infante & Rancer, 1982; Rancer, Baukus, &
Infante, 1985), which refers to argumentative behavior, or argument
1
. Previous research that
examines the relationship between argumentativeness levels and actual argument behavior
(which found little relationship between the two, i.e., Levine, & Boster, 1996; Semic & Canary,
1997), supports this focus on argument
1
as integral to the concept of argumentativeness.
However, argumentativeness is operationalized as the difference between the motivation to
approach an argument versus the motivation to avoid an argument (Infante & Rancer, 1982).
How does one “approach” or “avoid” an argument? Do they mean argument
1
or argument
2
? In
other words, are they referring to approaching or avoiding the argumentative encounters
altogether (argument
2
) or once one is within an argumentative situation, seeking to approach or
avoid advancing arguments (argument
1
)? To be consistent with their conceptualization, they
would appear to be trying to measure the second. However, which are the respondents
considering when completing the argumentativeness scale? This potential lack of symmetry
between conceptualization and operationalization affects the construct validity of the
argumentativeness scale.
Interpreting the argumentativeness scale as referring to argument
2
rather than argument
1
provides another potential explanation for the results in this study. If individuals wish to avoid
personal issue arguments, then this may result in lower levels of the argumentativeness scale in
the personal issue argument condition.


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