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Likert scales: how to (ab)use them

Likert scales: how to (ab)use them Dipping my toe into the water of educational research, I have recently used Likert‐type rating scales to measure student views on various educational interventions. Likert scales are commonly used to measure attitude, providing ‘a range of responses to a given question or statement’. Typically, there are 5 categories of response, from (for example) 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree, although there are arguments in favour of scales with 7 or with an even number of response categories. The response categories in Likert scales have a rank order, but the intervals between values cannot be presumed equal Likert scales fall within the ordinal level of measurement. That is, the response categories have a rank order, but the intervals between values cannot be presumed equal, although, as Blaikie points out, ‘...researchers frequently assume that they are’. However, Cohen et al . contend that it is ‘illegitimate’ to infer that the intensity of feeling between ‘strongly disagree’ and ‘disagree’ is equivalent to the intensity of feeling between other consecutive categories on the Likert scale. The legitimacy of assuming an interval scale for Likert‐type categories is an important issue, because the appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics differ for ordinal http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Medical Education Wiley

Likert scales: how to (ab)use them

Medical Education , Volume 38 (12) – Dec 1, 2004

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References (14)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0308-0110
eISSN
1365-2923
DOI
10.1111/j.1365-2929.2004.02012.x
pmid
15566531
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Dipping my toe into the water of educational research, I have recently used Likert‐type rating scales to measure student views on various educational interventions. Likert scales are commonly used to measure attitude, providing ‘a range of responses to a given question or statement’. Typically, there are 5 categories of response, from (for example) 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree, although there are arguments in favour of scales with 7 or with an even number of response categories. The response categories in Likert scales have a rank order, but the intervals between values cannot be presumed equal Likert scales fall within the ordinal level of measurement. That is, the response categories have a rank order, but the intervals between values cannot be presumed equal, although, as Blaikie points out, ‘...researchers frequently assume that they are’. However, Cohen et al . contend that it is ‘illegitimate’ to infer that the intensity of feeling between ‘strongly disagree’ and ‘disagree’ is equivalent to the intensity of feeling between other consecutive categories on the Likert scale. The legitimacy of assuming an interval scale for Likert‐type categories is an important issue, because the appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics differ for ordinal

Journal

Medical EducationWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2004

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