Ordinal Scale When items are classified according to whether they have more or less of a characteristic, the scale

used is referred to as an ordinal scale (definition of ordinal scale). The main characteristic of the ordinal scale is that the categories have a logical or ordered relationship to each other. These types of scale permit the measurement of degrees of difference, but not the specific amount of difference. This scale is very common in marketing, satisfaction and attitudinal research. Any questions that ask the respondent to rate something are using ordinal scales. For example, How would you rate the service of our wait-staff? Excellent 0 Very good 0 Good 0 Fair 0 Poor 0 Although we would know that respondent X ("very good") thought the service to be better than respondent Y ("good"), we have no idea how much better nor can we even be sure that both respondents have the same understanding of what constitutes "good service" and therefore, whether they really differ in their opinion about its quality. Likert scales are commonly used in attitudinal measurements. This type of scale uses a five-point scale ranging from strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, strongly disagree to rate people’s attitudes. Variants of the Likert-scale exist that use any number of points between three and ten, however it is best to give at least four or five choices. Be sure to include all possible responses: sometimes respondents may not have an opinion or may not know the answer, and therefore you should include a "neutral" category or the possibility to check off "undecided/uncertain", "no opinion" or "don’t know". Although some researchers treat them as an interval scale, we do not really know that the distances between answer alternatives are equal. Hence only the mode and median can be calculated, but not the mean. The range and percentile ranking can also be calculated.

Interval Scale

a large number of descriptive calculations are applicable. Ratio scales are the most sophisticated of scales.999. etc. Ratio scales should be used to gather quantitative information. researchers can calculate mean scores which can then be compared.999. most often increasing in size. we cannot multiply values or create ratios (100° is not twice as warm as 50°).000-$39. the Fahrenheit scale is an interval scale. income. Obviously. By treating this type of agreement scale or attitudinal measurement as interval. ordinal (definition of ordinal scale) and interval scales (definition of interval scale). since the distance between adjacent points on the scale are equal. the difference between 105 and 110 is not really the same as between 80 and 85). they are often treated as interval scales. you must make each category the same size. Therefore. the level of agreement for men was 3. behavioural scientists are willing to assume that most of their measures are interval scales as this allows the calculation of of averages – mode. and ‘zero’ signifies the absence of age or birth. categories should never overlap and categories should follow a logical order. and we see them perhaps most commonly when respondents are asked for their age. In order to respect the notion of equal distance between adjacent points on the scale. As a result. years of participation. .8 for repeat visitors. What is important in determining whether a scale is considered interval or not is the underlying intent regarding the equal intervals: although in an IQ scale. Ratio Scale When a scale consists not only of equidistant points but also has a meaningful zero point. quantities purchased and market share are all expressed on a ratio scale. the intervals are not necessarily equal (e. Hence. If we ask respondents their ages. Although Likert scales are really ordinal scales (definition of ordinal scale). then we refer to it as a ratio scale. or it was 3.g. since each degree is equal but there is no absolute zero point.5 compared to 4.1 for women.Interval scales (definition of interval scale) take the notion of ranking items in order one step further. For instance. median and mean – . a 100year old person is indeed twice as old as a 50-year old one. Sales figures. if your first category is $0-$19. For instance. the range and standard deviation. since it incorporates all the characteristics of nominal (definition of nominal scale).3 for first time visitors compared to 2. This means that although we can add and subtract degrees (100° is 10° warmer than 90°). the difference between any two years would always be the same. your second category must be $20.

and characterized using a Bernoulli distribution. if we decide to sort our names alphabetically (or to sort them by length. so he invoked his theory of measurement to justify nominal scales as measurement: “ …the use of numerals as names for classes is an example of the assignment of numerals according to rule. For this scale. Aamir is their label.e. we might find one or more of them named Aamir. Beyond that. A categorical variable with 3 or more outcomes is sometimes termed multi-way (or K-way for some specific value of K). Given a set of people. rocks can be generally categorized as igneous. Looking at nearby people. some valid operations are equivalence and set membership. neither the mean nor the median can be defined. We can only check whether two people have the same name (equivalence) or whether a given name is in on a certain list of names (set membership). i. but cannot provide an "average name" or even the "middle name" among all the names. and characterized by a categorical distribution. for a nominal category. p. 679) must have known that claiming nominal scales to measure obviously nonquantitative things would have attracted criticism. "no" or "success" vs. Variables assessed on a nominal scale are called categorical variables. and the set of all first names is a nominal scale. However. anything goes with the nominal scale. or by how many times they appear in the US Census). we will begin to turn this nominal scale into an ordinal scale. but it is impossible to say which name is greater or less than another (comparison) or to measure the difference between two names.. see also categorical data.At the nominal scale. for example. The rule is: Do not assign the same numeral to different classes or different numerals to the same class. "failure") are known as binary variables (or Bernoulli variables). ” The central tendency of a nominal attribute is given by its mode. we can describe the set by its most common name (the mode). Nominal measures offer names or labels for certain characteristics. sedimentary and metamorphic. We can use a simple example of a nominal category: first names. Categorically-typed random variables that have only two possible outcomes (often termed "yes" vs. Stevens (1946. . one uses labels.

[2] IQ scores reflect an ordinal scale. This property is known as the order isomorphism. Lord & Novick. with the caveat that caution should be taken in drawing conclusions from such statistical data. A simple example follows: . Stevens observed that psychological measurement usually operates on ordinal scales. and that ordinary statistics like means and standard deviations do not have valid interpretations. In 1946. 3rd. von Eye. rather than an interval scale. a way of sorting all the objects. 1968. and "bad". second.g. but the mean (or average) cannot be defined. the numbers assigned to objects or events represent the rank order (1st. but not relative size or degree of difference between the items measured. and 3rd) have a total order. An example of an ordinal scale is the result of a horse race. 1st. in which some may be tied).[edit] Ordinal scale Rank-ordering data simply puts the data on an ordinal scale. they remain correct even if they are transformed by any monotonically increasing function. etc.) of the entities assessed. in which all scores are only meaningful for comparison. where they may be sorted into a single line with no ambiguities. Another is the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. they have an order. In this scale type. The scale values themselves (such as labels like "great". 2005) but there is little prima facie evidence to suggest that such attributes are anything more than ordinal for most psychological data (Cliff. in which a given number of IQ "points" corresponds to a unit of intelligence. 2nd. 2008). 1996. 2003. which says only which horses arrived first. Nevertheless. If numbers are used to define the scale. the central tendency of a group of items can be described by using the group's mode (or most common item) or its median (the middle-ranked item). such statistics can often be used to generate fruitful information. or third but include no information about race times. Cliff & Keats. "good". which characterizes the hardness of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer one. Michell. saying nothing about the actual hardness of any of them. Yet another example is military ranks. but no welldefined numerical difference between ranks.[3][4][5] Thus it is an error to write that an IQ of 160 is just as different from an IQ of 130 as an IQ of 100 is different from an IQ of 70. 2nd. In particular. an ordinal scale defines a total preorder of objects (in essence. Psychometricians like to theorize that psychometric tests produce interval scale measures of cognitive abilities (e. Ordinal measurements describe order. When using an ordinal scale.[6][7] In mathematical order theory.

Judge's score Score minus 8 Tripled score Cubed score x Alice's cooking ability 10 Bob's cooking ability 9 x-8 2 1 0. one difference can be twice another. and standard deviation.5 24 15 x3 1000 729 614. which just involved differences or averaging. replacing the ordinal judge's score by any of these alternate scores does not affect the relative ranking of the five people's cooking abilities. The "zero point" on an interval scale is arbitrary. In this particular scale.125 512 125 Claire's cooking ability 8.5 Dana's cooking ability 8 Edgar's cooking ability 5 Since x-8.5 0 -3 3x 30 27 25. But ratios of differences can be expressed. . Ratios between numbers on the scale are not meaningful. the unit of measurement is 1/100 of the temperature difference between the freezing and boiling points of water under a pressure of 1 atmosphere. See also Strict weak ordering. one cannot define measures that require a ratio. so operations such as multiplication and division cannot be carried out directly. and x3 are all monotonically increasing functions. The formal mathematical term is an affine space (in this case an affine line). as any difference between the levels of an attribute can be multiplied by any real number to exceed or equal another difference. [edit] Interval scale Quantitative attributes are all measurable on interval scales. The central tendency of a variable measured at the interval level can be represented by its mode. or its arithmetic mean. its median. and negative values can be used. for example. Since one cannot divide. However. Each column of numbers is an equally legitimate ordinal scale for describing their abilities. the numerical (additive) difference between the various ordinal scores has no particular meaning. 3x. Statistical dispersion can be measured in most of the usual ways. Variables measured at the interval level are called "interval variables" or sometimes "scaled variables" as they have units of measurement. A highly familiar example of interval scale measurement is temperature with the Celsius scale. such as range. interquartile range.

All statistical measures can be used for a variable measured at the ratio level. while one can define moments about the origin. which is denoted 0K and is equal to -273. Luce (2000) argues that an example of ratio scale measurement in psychology can be found in rank and sign dependent expected utility theory. The scale type takes its name from the fact that measurement is the estimation of the ratio between a magnitude of a continuous quantity and a unit magnitude of the same kind (Michell. also its geometric mean or harmonic mean. Examples of ratio scale measurement in the behavioral sciences are all but non-existent. such as studentized range or coefficient of variation. its median. but one cannot define coefficient of variation. since ratios of differences are meaningful. Informally. for ratio variables one can also define measures that require a ratio. 1999).such as studentized range or coefficient of variation. [edit] Ratio measurement Most measurement in the physical sciences and engineering is done on ratio scales.15 degrees Celsius. or its arithmetic mean. the distinguishing feature of a ratio scale is the possession of a zero value. One can define standardized moments. which is (the square root of) a central moment. since the choice of origin is arbitrary and not meaningful. 1997. energy and electric charge are examples of physical measures that are ratio scales. such as range and standard deviation. since the mean is a moment about the origin. as all necessary mathematical operations are defined. Mass. . time. For example. More subtly. length. the Kelvin temperature scale has a non-arbitrary zero point of absolute zero. in addition to its mode. The central tendency of a variable measured at the ratio level can be represented by. only central moments are useful. plane angle. unlike the standard deviation. In addition to the measures of statistical dispersion defined for interval variables. This zero point is accuracy representing the particles that compose matter at this temperature having zero kinetic energy.

or more accurately the Likerttype scale. even though the two are not synonymous. [4] while the results of analysis of multiple items (if the items are developed appropriately) reveals a pattern that has scaled properties of the kind Likert identified.[2] Likert distinguished between a scale proper. the range captures the intensity of their feelings for a given item. It is the most widely used approach to scaling responses in survey research. Technically speaking. such that the term is often used interchangeably with rating scale.Attitude Scale Construction (Likert’s Method) A Likert scale is a psychometric scale commonly involved in research that employs questionnaires.[3] When responding to a Likert questionnaire item. The difference between these two concepts has to do with the distinction Likert made between the underlying phenomenon being investigated and the means of capturing variation that points to the underlying phenomenon. psychologist Rensis Likert. Sample question presented using a five-point Likert item . which emerges from collective responses to a set of items (usually eight or more). respondents specify their level of agreement or disagreement on a symmetric agree-disagree scale for a series of statements. The scale is named after its inventor. and the format in which responses are scored along a range. a Likert scale refers only to the former. Thus.

could be: 1. Agree 5. it is better.. agree with statements as presented . although many psychometricians advocate using seven or nine levels. measuring either positive or negative response to a statement. The format of a typical five-level Likert item. for example. to reserve the term Likert scale to apply to the summed scale. This is the source of much confusion. where the former has the neutral option unavailable. the overall difference in the response is negligible. compared to those produced from a 10-point scale. It has been shown that when comparing between a 4-point and a 5-point Likert scale. This is sometimes called a "forced choice" method.g. generally the level of agreement or disagreement is measured. The Likert scale is the sum of responses on several Likert items. where the middle option of "Neither agree nor disagree" is not available. Strongly disagree 2. since the neutral option is removed [7].An important distinction must be made between a Likert scale and a Likert item. Disagree 3. A Likert item is simply a statement which the respondent is asked to evaluate according to any kind of subjective or objective criteria. there was very little difference among the scale formats in terms of variation about the mean. Respondents may avoid using extreme response categories (central tendency bias). skewness or kurtosis. Because Likert items are often accompanied by a visual analog scale (e.point scale may produce slightly higher mean scores relative to the highest possible attainable score. It is considered symmetric or "balanced" because there are equal amounts of positive and negative positions. a horizontal line. and Likert item to refer to an individual item. Sometimes an even-point scale is used. the items are sometimes called scales themselves. and so whether it is a true neutral option is questionable. on which a subject indicates his or her response by circling or checking tick-marks). and this difference was statistically significant. In terms of the other data characteristics. Likert scales may be subject to distortion from several causes. a recent empirical study[6] found that a 5or 7. Neither agree nor disagree 4. Strongly agree Likert scaling is a bipolar scaling method.[5] Often five ordered response levels are used. therefore. The neutral option can be seen as an easy option to take when a respondent is unsure.

with strong convictions on what are the most applicable methods. The value assigned for each Likert item is simply determined by the researcher as providing the necessary detail for their research. to the extent in which Likert items are interpreted as being ordinal data. Likert scales typically range from 2 to 10 – with 5 or 7 being the most common. but central tendency and social desirability are somewhat more problematic. since acquiescence on positively keyed items will balance acquiescence on negatively keyed items. each item may be analyzed separately or in some cases item responses may be summed to create a score for a group of items. The second. Very Good – is unlikely to be equidistant as there is only one item that can receive a below average rating. For example. In this. The value assigned to a Likert item has no unique mathematical property. For example. either in terms of measure theory or scale (from which a distance metric can be determined). Good. Average. Firstly. a 4-point Likert Scale – Poor. Designing a scale with balanced keying (an equal number of positive and negative statements) can obviate the problem of acquiescence bias. (This may differ in cases where reverse ordering of the Likert Scale is needed). Likert items tend to take progressive positive integer values. There are two primary considerations in this discussion. Whether individual Likert items can be considered as interval-level data. and possibly more important point. a key factor to accept is that Likert scales are arbitrary. In terms of good research ethics. for convention. Hence. or whether they should be treated as ordered-categorical data is the subject of considerable disagreement in literature[9][10]. an equidistant presentation by the researcher is important. Likert scales are often called summative scales. or try to portray themselves or their organization in a more favorable light (social desirability bias). This would clearly bias any . This disagreement can be traced back. is whether the ‘distance’ between each successive Likert item is equidistant – which is traditionally inferred. in many respects. Scoring and analysis After the questionnaire is completed. the typical structure of the Likert scale is such that each progressive Likert item is treated as having a ‘better’ response than the preceding value. in the above 5-point Likert Scale.(acquiescence bias). otherwise it will introduce a research bias into the analysis. However. the inference is that the ‘distance’ between items ‘1’ and ‘2’ is the same as between items ‘3’ and ‘4’.

However. with ‘spread’ measured by quartiles or percentiles[11]. Responses to several Likert questions may be summed. equidistant attributes will typically be more clearly observed or. then some valuable information could be lost if the ‘distance’ between Likert items were not available for consideration. or McNemar test are common statistical procedures used after this transformation. providing that all questions use the same Likert scale and that the scale is a defensible approximation to an interval scale. at least.result in favor of a better outcome. this may not be interpreted as such by the respondent. In such symmetric scaling. such as chi-squared test. It is when a Likert scale is symmetric and equidistant that it will behave more like an interval-level measurement. it remains more correct to summarize the central tendency of responses from a Likert scale by using either the median or the mode. Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Non-parametric tests should be preferred for statistical inferences. then it may be possible the Likert Scale can approximate an interval-level measurement. A good Likert scale. if it was treated just as an ordinal scale. this should be reserved for when the Likert scale has suitable symmetry and equidistance so an interval-level measurement can be approximated and reasonably inferred. This is beneficial as. parametric statistical tests such as the analysis of variance can be applied. inferred. Mann–Whitney test. These can be applied only when more than 5 Likert questions are summed. Given its ordinal basis. While some commentators[13] consider that parametric analysis is justified for a Likert scale using the Central Limit Theorem. will present a symmetry of Likert items about a middle category that have clearly defined linguistic qualifiers for each item. The important idea here is that the appropriate type of analysis is dependent on how the Likert scale has been presented. The chi-squared. Cochran Q. even if a researcher presents an equidistant scale. So while a Likert scale is ordinal (which cannot be denied) – if it is well presented. If the summed responses fulfill these assumptions.[12] .] Data from Likert scales are sometimes reduced to the binomial level by combining all agree and disagree responses into two categories of "accept" and "reject". in which case they may be treated as interval data measuring a latent variable. or Kruskal–Wallis test. as above. Consensus based assessment (CBA) can be used to create an objective standard for Likert scales in domains where no generally accepted standard or objective standard exists. .

Reips and Funke (2008)[14] show that this criterion is much better met by a visual analogue scale. the writers described an instrument frequently used in persuasion studies. In addition. The original scale of this type was developed by Rensis Likert and is explained in his article. several other attitude measuring instruments were used. He reported very satisfactory reliability data for the scales developed with his procedure. Level of measurement The five response categories are often believed to represent an Interval level of measurement.C rated with a Likert scale circular relations like A>B. there may also appear phenomena which even question the ordinal scale level in Likert scales. the semantic differential.Consensus based assessment (CBA) can be used to refine or even validate generally accepted standards." in Achieves of Psychology (1932)." and "strongly disagree. In fact. For example. THE LIKERT-TYPE SCALE In a recent article in Today's Speech. five options are provided: "strongly agree. in a set of items A.B. The subject is asked to indicate whether he agrees or disagrees with each statement. B>C and C>A can appear. excluding the undecided position. The Likert-type scale has been used by persuasion researchers for over three decades. But this can only be the case if the intervals between the scale points correspond to empirical observations in a metric sense. Scales developed by the Likert method will ordinarily include from six to thirty declarative statements. some of which are still in common use. One of the most popular methods of measuring attitudes is the method of summated ratings. Some of these statements will be worded in a positive manner and other . A Likert-type scale consists of a series of declarative statements. Likert reported that results obtained from his scales compared favorably with those obtained by the "granddaddy" of the attitude scales--the Thurstone scale. Subsequent research has generally confirmed the fact that the Likert-type attitude scales are quite reliable and valid instruments for the measurement of attitude. Commonly. "A Technique for the Measurement of Attitudes. Prior to the development of the semantic differential. commonly referred to as the Likert-type scale." "agree." "disagree. This violates the axiom of transitivity for the ordinal scale." "undecided." Other Likert-type scales include four or six steps rather than five.

In this way a person with a strongly favorable attitude toward capital punishment would receive a score of 10 for these two items while a person strongly opposed to capital punishment would receive a score of 2. and (4) to assess the worth of speech courses to the students. of course. It is necessary. In an earlier Today's Speech article. the Likert-type scale provides a very useful and relatively uncomplicated method of obtaining data on people's attitudes for persuasion research. Rather than repeat the discussion of these four uses in detail. Of course. "Capital punishment is nothing but legalized murder. Attitude scores produced by Likert-type scales have been found by Likert and others to yield data which may be analyzed by "normal curve" statistics. Second. that the assigned numbers are consistent with the meaning of the response. For example. In this manner the responses to the various items are quantified and may be summed across statements to give a total score for the individual on the scale. two special applications of Likert scaling are presented. Because this type of data is desired by researchers in most cases.will be worded in a negative manner. Likert scales can be used profitably as a means of course evaluation. The individual responses "strongly agree" through "strongly disagree" are assigned numbers. For example." A person who is in favor of capital punishment would be expected to disagree with the first statement but agree with the second statement." and "Capital punishment gives the murderer just what he deserves. First. (2) to measure listener attitudes. two statements which might be used in a scale to measure attitude toward capital punishment would be. One of the primary functions of an introductory course in speech is to help a student understand the concept of audience analysis. the first statement above could be scored 1-5 and the second statement scored 5-1. Likert scales can be used by speech teachers to assist a student in audience analysis. the person opposed to capital punishment would be expected to give opposite responses. The same purpose could be served by a Likert-type scale. To analyze an audience is to achieve some . SOME APPLICATIONS Likert attitude scales can be used in much the same way as semantic differential scales. (3) for classroom evaluation of speakers and speeches. the writers suggested four areas of research in which the semantic differential could be used: (1) to measure the credibility of speakers. usually 1-5.

This efficiency can best be appreciated by the overloaded instructor. Students can evaluate numerous facets of instruction." It is not recommended that these attitude scales be administered before every speech. and the instructor in a relatively short period of time. it would take twelve separate responses to discover a person's attitude toward a textbook and an instructor with the semantic differential. but an occasional assessment of listener attitudes should improve the student's understanding of audience analysis. Once a speaker picks a topic for a speech. . Today's Speech -. For example. these scales can accomplish much in little time. With Likert scaling. Again. Today's Speech 1.understanding of audience attitudes or opinions on numerous issues. Unlike the semantic differential. Likert attitude scales can be administered to the audience prior to the speech to ascertain those beliefs. The articles appearing in Today's Speech are valuable. he needs to know what the audience believes about that topic if he is going to give an effective speech. The covers on Today's Speech add to the caliber of the journal. Like the semantic differential. "I agreed with you before you started the speech. two responses would yield the same data. you are invited to fill out these scales. All too often. Let us again try to get you to react to a number of items related to Today's Speech.WORTHWHILE? A discussion of this research procedure would be incomplete without examples of Likert scales. course content. Likert scales can be used as a means of course evaluation. _____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ strongly disagree (1) 2. the speaker is told after his speech by some listener.

add up the number value beside each of the verbs that you checked. The format of this journal is not attractive. This number represents your overall attitude toward Today's Speech. _____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) Now that you have completed these scales._____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) 3. The Editor of Today's Speech should be relieved of his position. How . _____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) 4.

Written assignments in speech classes are necessary.does this score compare with your score on the semantic differential scale for Today's Speech? Have you changed your attitude? The second example is taken from a speech course evaluation questionnaire developed by the first author. Speech is a very worthwhile course. The speech instructor does not synthesize. _____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) 3. Try example two. _____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) 2. 1. Remember these questions pertain to a person's evaluation of a particular speech course. integrate or summarize the material. .

_____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) ._____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) 4. The course material is poorly organized. The textbook in this course is very good. _____ Strongly agree (5) _____ Agree (4) _____ Undecided (3) _____ Disagree (2) _____ Strongly disagree (1) 5.

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