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Indices and Scales. Indices. Use sets of responses to questions to provide measures of underlying constructs Each question that makes up an index constitutes an individual indicator for that construct

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  • Use sets of responses to questions to provide measures of underlying constructs
  • Each question that makes up an index constitutes an individual indicator for that construct
  • One analogy for an index is a test, and approaches to index validation work for test-item validation as well.
  • SCALING creates a measure of a variable expressed as a numerical score. This measure can be any of the following:
  • ordinal(ranked, as with opinion measures),
  • interval (ranked with known distances between rankings, as with “degrees” of liking or disliking something), or
  • ratio (interval with known proportions among scores due to existence of a “true zero,” as with age and income).
likert scales
Likert Scales
  • Likert scales provide ordinal-level measures of attitudes.
  • Likert scales always run from one extreme evaluative response to another.
  • Likert scales are generally combined to formulate a composite index of some underlying construct. This is why “additive scaling” is typically Likert scaling.
  • Likert scales are simple to produce and answer and aid in comprehensive indicator measurement.
  • The greatest problem with Likert scales is a form of bias known as response set.
  • Another problem is that equivalent scores don’t necessarily mean equivalent responses.
bogardus social distance scales
Bogardus Social Distance Scales
  • Bogardus scales measure liking or antipathy between social groups. Groups that dislike one another have greater “social distance” separating them.
  • The scale proposes a number of hypothetical situations of social interaction.
  • Social distance scales are used to measure overt and symbolic racism and various anti-outgroup sentiments, although their findings are always questionable if not presented comparatively and in context.
semantic differential scales
Semantic Differential Scales
  • These are indirect measure of how a person feels about a concept, object or other person.
  • Adjectives express opposite forms of evaluation (good vs bad), potency (strong vs weak) and activity (active vs passive).
  • On response forms, the adjectives are spaced with seven to eleven choices between them, and respondents select one “feeling” per pair.
  • Results expose a more complicated set of attitudes than can be acquired asking straightforward questions.
guttman or cumulative scales
Guttman, or Cumulative, Scales
  • Guttman scales describe underlying dimensions in survey data. Guttman scales measure the intensity of a concept.
  • Process begins with surveys that ask simple yes-no or present-absent questions about the topic of interest.
  • The researcher determines how many people answered the questions in every possible order, and has a hypothesised order based on question “seriousness.”
  • If the questions all (or predominately) follow the hypothesised logical order, the question set is considered a “true Guttman scale” and can subsequently be used to measure the intensity of underlying constructs in other studies.