NEW YORK: Practitioners and academics often focus on very different considerations as they conduct advertising research, but a paper in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) has argued that this gap is not insurmountable.

According to Lawrence Ang (Macquarie University, Australia) and Martin Eisend (European University, Viadrna, Germany), “To measure attitude toward the advertisement, academic researchers often use items such as, ‘The advertisement is good/bad’; ‘The advertisement is informative/non-informative’; ‘The advertisement is pleasant/unpleasant’; and ‘I like/dislike the advertisement.’

“By contrast,” they continued, “practitioners often just use one item, such as ‘I like/dislike the advertisement’, because they are concerned less with internal reliability but more with the managerial value of the study. Practitioners, in fact, often strive to shorten rather than lengthen their surveys.”

Ang and Eisend’s paper – entitled Single versus Multiple Measurement of Attitudes—A Meta-Analysis of Advertising Studies Validates the Single-Item Measure Approach – drew in large part on eight meta-analyses, consisting of 189 advertising studies, and gave support to those who contend that less is more.

“In recent years, a new theory has developed that argues that not all constructs need to be measured with multiple items, even for academic research. Under certain circumstances – that is, when the attribute of the construct is unambiguous and refers to an unambiguous object – a one-item valid measure of the construct will suffice.”

The authors further asserted: “Attitudes can, indeed, be measured with a single item. Although academic advertising research tends to favor the use of multi-item measures, this study shows that such measures are not always necessary. When an attitudinal construct is double concrete, all that is needed is one good item.”

Additionally, the study suggested it is possible for the mindsets of academics and practitioners to be “reconciled” – and it came down in favor of the latter group in pursuit of this goal.

“This implies that it is better to have one valid measurement item that fully captures the semantic meaning of the construct rather than having multiple bad ones, no matter how internally consistent the measurement scale may be. With valid measures, theories can be developed and tested better.

“The reward may be better data and better theories, but at lower cost.”

Sourced from Journal of Advertising Research