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Date:         Sat, 17 Sep 2005 22:10:50 +0200
Reply-To:     "Claus D. Hansen" <>
Sender:       "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         "Claus D. Hansen" <>
Subject:      Likert scales
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Dear list,

I was wondering if any of you could answer a question on the nature of different scales that I have become rather perplexed about.

I have a group of books who say that Likert scales is the very common type of scale where a group of respondents answer a set of items with 4 or 5 categories ranging from strong disagree to strong agree (or something similar). Their total scale score is then computed as the sum of the answers to each of the items.

However, I also have another book who says that Rensis Likert in fact envisaged a more complex method of attributing scale scores to the respondents than the one just mentioned. In this book it says that a group of test persons is to answer the questions. Each of the test persons is given a scale score equal to the number of items they have agreed with. For each item an average index score is computed based on only those persons that has answered that they agree with this statement. The scale is then distributed to the real respondents and their final scale score is computed by summating the average index scores of those items they agree with. (this explanation is taken from Babbie & Mouton: The Practice of Social Research, 1998, Oxford University Press)

Does anyone know which of the two above mentioned choices are right? And perhaps where I might be able to read more about it?

Thank you in advance,

Claus D. Hansen

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