Likert Scale

1733 Words Aug 5th, 2013 7 Pages
Psychological Measurement and Statistics
Likert Scale: A Critical Analysis

Mahika Sharma

Likert Scale: A Critical Analysis
The Likert Format arises from the scale for measuring attitudes (Kaplan, & Saccuzzo, 2001), the first of which was originated in 1932 by Rensis Likert (Edmondson, 2005). The rationale behind development of the Likert Scale by Rensis Likert was to measure psychological attitudes in a “scientific” way in 1932 and later in 1934 to expand upon the scaling techniques developed by Thurston (Edmondson, 2005). Since Thurston’s scale requires an elaborate procedure and the usage of judges, Likert Scale was easier to conduct while yielding equally satisfactory reliability (Edmondson, 2005; Anastasi,
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The measurement scale would be an interval scale if it were possible to measure the latent variable directly (Claso & Dormody, 1989). However according to Goldstein and Hersen (1984) the level of scaling obtained from the Likert procedure is rather difficult to determine.
Issue of Decision Making for the appropriate Likert Scale Format
While constructing items in a likert scale a researcher must keep in mind the number of scale categories to use, assess whether the scale should be Balanced or unbalanced scale and add Odd or even number of categories and finally whether to make the test with Forced or a non forced choice.
Number of response category. Kim (2010) found that the optimal number of response categories for a Likert scale has not been determined definitely. Too few categories might create difficulty in investigating respondent’s attitudes precisely and analyzing the data, the scale will be a coarse instrument and much of the discriminative power that raters are capable of will be lost. On the other hand, too many categories might yield more precise investigations into the attitude of the respondent, but they may induce fatigue and unreliable responses. Also, one could grade a scale so finely that it would be beyond the rater’s limited powers of discrimination (Kim, 2010).
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