Forum

More scales than a fish?

Michael Cramphorn

Swinburne University

Introduction

Measuring people’s feelings can be simply like or dislike – a binary scale; it can be more sensitive, seeking to measure the degree to which something was liked, using some sort of multi-point scaling approach, but, implicitly or explicitly, scales are an inevitable part of the measurement process.

However, using scales is far from straightforward. For example, should a scale be balanced, how many intervals should be included, are the ‘distances’ between them equivalent; does the questionnaire have sufficient interest to sustain quality input (Sudman & Bradburn 1982; Albaum & Murphy 1988; Garland 1991; Albaum 1997; Lee et al. 2002; Hansen & Smith 2012)? But these questions relate to developing a scale for a homogeneous population. What happens when a successfully developed scale is used in a new environment?