Likert items and scales of measurement?
James Dean Brown
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
[ p. 10 ]
[ p. 11 ]Because they confuse Likert items with Likert scales, many authors look at a single Likert item and conclude that the 1 2 3 4 and 5 options form an ordinal scale at best, and therefore data based on these scales must be analyzed as though they are ordinal. I have two responses to that form of "logic".
Myth 1 – There is no need to distinguish between a scale and response format; they are basically the same "thing" and what is true about one is true about the other.Notice in particular Myths 1, 5, and 6, which are directly related to the topic of this column. For more details about these 10 myths, you should of course refer to the original article.
Myth 2 – Scale items are independent and autonomous with no underlying conceptual, logical or empirical structure that brings them together and synthesizes them.
Myth 3 – Likert scales imply Likert response formats and vice versa as they are isomorphic.
Myth 4 – Likert scales cannot be differentiated into macro and micro conceptual structures.
Myth 5 – Likert scale items should be analyzed separately.
Myth 6 – Because Likert scales are ordinal-level scales, only non-parametric statistical tests should be used with them.
Myth 7 – Likert scales cannot be differentiated into macro and micro conceptual structures.
Myth 8 – Likert response formats can without impunity be detached from the Likert Scale and its underlying conceptual and logical structure.
Myth 9 – The Likert response format is not a system or process for capturing and coding information the stimulus questions elicit about the underlying construct being measured.
Myth 10 – Little care, knowledge, insight and understanding is needed to construct or use a Likert scale.
[ p. 12 ]
[ p. 13 ]Likert, R. (1932), A Technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 140, 1-55.
Where to Submit Questions:|
Please submit questions for this column to the following e-mail or snail-mail addresses:
Department of ESL, UHM
1890 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
[ p. 14 ]