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Measurement and Scaling Techniques

Fundamentals and Comparative Scaling (I) Presented By: Jatin Vaid


assignment of numbers or other symbols to characteristics of objects according to certain pre-specified rules. We dont measure an object, but its characteristics. Similarly, in research we dont measure consumers, but their certain characteristics like attitude, perceptions, preferences, etc.


is an extension of measurement. It consists of creating a continuum upon which measured objects are located.

Scale characteristics

i. ii. iii. iv.

Scales used in business research can be described in terms of four basic characteristics, which define the levels of measurement of a scale, i.e., the properties of an object the scale is measuring. These are: Description Order Distance Origin

i) Description

unique labels or descriptors that are used to designate each value of the scale. They define the scale values or response options. E.g., Inches: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 1. Female 2. Male 1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = neutral, 3 = Strongly Agree

ii) Order

relative sizes or positions of the descriptors. Order has no absolute values, only relative values. It is denoted by descriptors like greater than, less than and equal to. If a scale has order, it also has description. E.g., Brand preference: Maggi, Kissan, Heinz.

iii) Distance

refers to the absolute difference between scale descriptors, known and expressed in units. The scale that has a distance, also has an order. E.g. No. of employees in an organization

iv) Origin

refers to a fixed or unique beginning or a true zero point of a scale. A scale that has origin also has distance, order and description. E.g., Annual Household Income

Primary scales of Measurement

1) 2) 3) 4)

There are four primary scales of measurement. These are; Nominal Scale Ordinal Scale Interval Scale Ratio Scale

1) Nominal Scale

A scale whose numbers/alphabets serve only as labels or tags for identifying and classifying objects. They only possess Description characteristic. There is a strict one to one correspondence between the numbers and the objects. Each number is assigned to only one object, and each object has only one number assigned to it. E.g., Students Roll numbers in a class; Numbers assigned to cricket players. Used to identifying respondents, brands, attributes, etc.

2) Ordinal Scale

A ranking scale in which numbers are assigned to objects to indicate the relative extent to which some characteristic is possessed. It indicates relative position, not the magnitude of differences between the objects. They possess description and order characteristics, but not distance or origin. Include greater than or less than judgements E.g., Ranking of teams; socio economic class

3) Interval Scale

scale in which numbers are used to rate objects such that numerically equal distances on the scale represent equal distances in the characteristic being measured. It allows researchers to compare distances between the objects, as there is a constant or equal distance between the scale values. The location of zero point is not fixed, i.e. they do not possess origin

4) Ratio Scale

highest scale. It allows the researcher to identify and classify objects, rank order the objects and compare intervals or differences. It is also meaningful to compute ratios of scale values. E.g.: height, weight, money and age. It has the characteristic of origin. In MR: sales, cost, market share, etc.