# CHAPTER 9

MEASUREMENT AND SCALING:
FUNDAMENTALS AND COMPARATIVE SCALING
OPENING QUESTIONS
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

What is meant by measurement and scaling? Can scaling be considered a part of
measurement?
What are the primary scales of measurement, and how do we differentiate among them?
How can scaling techniques be classified, and what are the various comparative scaling
techniques?
How do measurement and scaling relate to the various steps of the marketing research
process?
What considerations are involved in implementing the primary scales of measurement in an
international setting?
How does technology improve measurement and scaling?
What ethical issues are involved in selecting scales of measurement?

AUTHOR’S NOTES: CHAPTER FOCUS
This chapter provides an introduction to primary scales of measurement: nominal, ordinal,
interval, and ratio. Scaling techniques are classified as comparative and noncomparative. The
comparative techniques consisting of paired comparison, rank order, constant sum, and Q-sort
scaling are discussed. The noncomparative scales are discussed in Chapter 10.
The discussion of scaling techniques is much more extensive as compared to competing
texts. Two chapters are devoted to covering in detail the type of scales used in marketing
research. Examples, including instructions for administering these scales, have been provided.
This chapter could be taught by focusing on the opening questions, sequentially. Greater
emphasis could be placed on the concept of measurement and scaling (Opening Question 1), the
primary scales of measurement (Opening Question 2), and comparative scaling techniques
(Opening Question 3). In addition, material on conducting international marketing research
(Opening Question 5), ethical considerations (Opening Question 7), and Internet and computers
could be discussed.
CHAPTER OUTLINE
1. Overview
2. Measurement and Scaling
3. Primary Scales of Measurement
i.
Nominal Scale
ii.
Ordinal Scale
iii. Interval Scale
iv. Ratio Scale
4. A Classification of Scaling Techniques
5. Comparative Scaling Techniques
i.
Paired Comparison Scaling
ii.
Rank Order Scaling
iii. Constant Sum Scaling
116

1. 4. Opening Question 3 117 . and compare intervals or differences--for example. and income. rather. 9. 10. 13. they are used only for identification--for example. Opening Question 2 * Discuss and illustrate the primary scales of measurement. 11.4 and Table 9. 8. age. Interval scale: numbers are used to rank objects such that numerically equal distances on the scale represent equal distances in the characteristic being measured. height. or social security numbers. Distinguish the two concepts by noting that measurement precedes scaling in test construction. street names.2 provide a framework and examples for explaining scaling. rankings of teams for the NCAA Basketball tournament. The numbers in a nominal scale do not reflect the amount of a characteristic possessed by the objects. Examples include time and temperature. 7. 12. 3.6. Ratio scale: this is used to identify or classify objects. Ordinal scale: this is a ranking scale in which numbers are assigned to objects to indicate the relative extent to which some characteristic is possessed. Measurement is the assignment of numbers or other symbols to characteristics of objects according to certain prespecified rules. Nominal scale: this is used only as a labeling scheme where numbers serve only as labels or tags for identifying and classifying objects. socioeconomic status. 2. and quality rankings. Figure 9. It is then possible to determine whether an object has more or less of a characteristic than some other object--for example. numbers on baseball players’ uniforms. Scaling is an extension of measurement where it involves the generation of a continuum upon which measured objects are located. rank order the objects. Relationship of Measurement and Scaling to the Marketing Research Process Summary Illustration Using the Opening Vignette International Marketing Research Technology and Marketing Research Ethics in Marketing Research Summary Key Terms and Concepts Acronyms TEACHING SUGGESTIONS Opening Question 1 * Explain the differences between measurement and scaling.

3. The researcher must identify an appropriate level of measurement (nominal.9. or Stapel). 118 . Discuss the relationship of measurement and scaling to the marketing research The relationship of measurement and scaling to the previous and subsequent steps of the marketing research process is described in Figure 9. If available. an approach to the problem is developed (step 2).6 for an example of paired comparison scaling.8 for an example. If the measurement level is ordinal. The data obtained is ordinal in nature. semantic differential. Opening Question 4 * process. This should be highlighted as each of the scales is discussed in turn. bring examples of different scales to class to show to students. Noncomparative scales . Paired comparison scaling: here a respondent is presented with two objects at a time and asked to select one object in the pair according to some criterion.a direct comparison of stimulus objects is elicited. Comparative scales . 2. two brands may be compared along a dimension such as quality. See Figure 9. Based on this definition. See Figure 9. or constant sum). This is frequently used in marketing when comparisons of products or brands are being made. interval or ratio) for each item of information needed. See Figure 9. chits. one brand is rated on a scale independent of other brands. The marketing research problem is defined in step 1. rank order. See Figure 9.7 for an example of rank order scaling. Measurement and scaling are part of the research design (step 3). the researcher generally selects one of the comparative techniques (paired comparison.the respondent provides whatever standard seems appropriate to him/her. * Describe the different comparative scaling techniques. If the data are interval. If an attribute is twice as important as some other attribute it should receive twice as many points. it is possible to assign zero points. ordinal.5 for the hierarchy of scaling procedures. Begin by recalling that all comparative scaling techniques involve a direct comparison of stimulus objects with one another. 1. the researcher selects one of the noncomparative techniques (continuous or itemized rating scale: Likert. dollars. stickers. Constant sum scaling: respondents are required to allocate a constant sum of units such as points. or chips among a set of stimulus objects with respect to some criterion. only one object is evaluated at a time.* Distinguish the two broad scaling measures. Specific instructions are provided that if an attribute is not at all important. This is commonly used to measure preferences for brands as well as the importance of attributes. thus. Begin by stating the two types of scales: comparative and noncomparative. In this case. Thus. Rank order scaling: respondents are presented with several objects simultaneously and asked to order or rank them according to some criterion.

g. could ask consumers to rate their preferences for wearing jeans on specified occasions using a seven point interval scale. they should be analyzed correctly. After the data have been collected. these data cannot be easily used in multivariate analysis. The researcher has the responsibility to use the appropriate type of scales to get the data needed to answer the research questions and test the hypotheses. the use of binary scales (e. consumers in Papua New Guinea could be shown a pair of jeans and simply asked whether or not they would prefer to wear it for a specific occasion (e. Opening Question 6 * Discuss how computers and software can be used to implement comparative scaling. without compromising test reliability.g. Database managers allow researchers to develop and test several different scales to determine their appropriateness for a particular application.). However. and ratio scales to determine consumer preferences among competing alternatives. In particular. are quite used to providing responses on interval and ratio scales. For example. preferred/not preferred) is recommended. To examine differences in the personality characteristics and relate them to other consumer behavior variables. if one product is clearly winning.. interval scale data are needed. Pulse/MPC by Pulse Analytics enables multiple paired comparison analysis. It allows testing to end early. Conclusions based on the misuse of statistics are misleading. however. constant sum. when shopping. Up to 30 brands or variables can be analyzed simultaneously. whereas ratio scales are the most complex. working. Computers can also be used to construct and administer rank order. When designing a questionnaire. such is not the case in less developed countries. EzPair by Barry Cohen can design paired comparison scale and paired comparison product tests using statistical quality control techniques.Likewise. Preferences can. If ordinal scaled data are collected. Respondents in many developed countries. the researcher must translate the information needed to appropriate questions using the identified scales. therefore. the researcher must select an appropriate scale for an information item that is to be measured on a nominal or ordinal level. the researcher should only use those statistical techniques that are compatible with the measurement level of the data. due to higher education and consumer sophistication levels. When analyzing the data (step 5). if personality characteristics are measured using ordinal scales. relaxing on a holiday. etc. be best measured by using ordinal scales in less developed countries. also part of the research design. Opening Question 7 * Discuss the ethical concerns of scaling. nominal scales are the simplest to use. Using the personality 119 . Levi Strauss & Co. statistical procedures developed for use with interval or ratio data should not be used.. Opening Question 5 * Identify the measurement and scaling issues in International research. It projects pairwise comparison data onto a share-of-preference scale. EXAMPLE: While measuring preferences for jeans in the United States. From the view point of the respondents.

comfort. taste. It allows testing to end early. and touch comparisons are difficult to implement. as they are the biggest consumers of the products offered by Home Depot. BE AN MR! AND BE A DM! It should be noted that a variety of answers are appropriate. 120 . Microcomputers have been used to administer paired comparison scales in taste tests. Various characteristics need to be measured to get a holistic picture. if after data collection the client wishes to know how the users and nonusers differed. When the researcher lacks the expertise or the computer software to compute these statistics. such as local newspapers.  Use local media. the researcher should treat these data correctly and use nonmetric techniques for analysis (discussed in Chapter 15). brand name.  Target families. An initial study needs to be conducted to identify the characteristics that need to be measured based on their relevance to customer satisfaction. Database managers allow researchers to develop and test several different scales to determine their appropriateness for a particular application. Ordinal scales can be used to rank order the stores based on customer satisfaction. All the primary scales of measurement can be implemented on the Internet. smell. EzPair by Barry Cohen can design paired comparison scales and paired comparison product tests using statistical quality control techniques.example above. ethical dilemmas arise. Be an MR!: Home Depot Nominal scales can be used to assign numbers to the stores for identification purposes. Be an MR!: Coach Consumer preferences for leather good are determined by factors such as finish. Internet Emphasis * Identify software programs relevant to measurement and scaling. if one product is clearly winning. to advertise. where 1 implies very poor and 5 implies excellence. durability. however. Ratio scales that measure the amount of money spent on leather goods during a specified time period can also be used. The use of intervals would be a good idea since preferences can be rated from 1 to 5. Be a DM!: Home Depot Marketing Strategies:  Seasonal Promotions  Use the power of Internet to reach out to customers. price. etc. without compromising test reliability. Either an outside statistician should be hired or the relevant software should be obtained. visual. The same is true for the commonly used comparative scales. Paired comparisons involving verbal. The ones given here are merely illustrative. The process of implementing comparative scales may be facilitated by searching the Internet for similar scales that have been implemented by other researchers. or auditory comparisons can be implemented with ease.

Price versus quality tradeoff can be used for segmentation. Respondents in the United States are sophisticated enough to make such comparisons and provide such information.). Demographic variations in preferences.  Identify the values and qualities that are relevant for the type of styles. 3.  Understand driving forces behind purchase decisions. Be an MR!: Gap Students should be encouraged to make the online search. however. formal wear. It just gives a preference order.  Identify the values and qualities that are relevant for the type of use. Be a DM!: Lexus  Study the way customers intend to use the cars.  Input for the range of products to be offered (to cater to various segments). the simple form of paired comparison should be used where the respondents merely indicate which style of clothing in a pair they prefer. In rural Nigeria. their relative values and order. so response rates might be better. Identify which qualities are valued by consumers.Be a DM!: Coach 1. 121 . Rank order scaling should be used in the United States where casual clothing is compared to other styles of clothing (e.  Demographic variations in intentions and interests.  Understand the target segments better. Find qualities associated with most successful products. Constant sum scaling gives a precise and holistic picture of preferences. 2. Be a DM!: Gap  Study the way customers intend to wear the clothes of different styles. Rank order scaling gives a relative comparison but fails to reveal the value of each quality.g.. Be an MR!: Lexus Purchase Intentions for luxury car are determined by factors such as: Social Status Comfort Daily Commute Convenience Security     Rank Order Scaling or constant sum scaling are two comparative scaling techniques which could be used. 4.product fit. etc.  Analyze segment. part wear. Rank order scaling is easier for the customer to fill in.