Reliability, validity and standardisation
Ethical issues in attitude measurement and psychometrics
In the previous chapter, we looked at the use of questionnaires as a research tool. A questionnaire is a very general method of obtaining information from people, and, as we have seen, it can be quite useful in providing us with largely factual information about people's behaviours or habits. But when it comes to obtaining more subtle information about people, questionnaires are rather more limited.
Part of that limitation comes about because of response bias, in that people are conscious of the way that they are responding to a questionnaire, and generally try to make sure that their answers project the kind of image that they want to give. Another part of the reason is that some information about ourselves is just not open to our own conscious awareness. It can be brought out by the right kind of questioning, or deduced from patterns of responses, but it isn't open to direct self-reporting.
There are ways of obtaining much more detailed, or personal information using questionnaire-type instruments. But these instruments are very different from conventional questionnaires, and constructed in an entirely different way. They can be sorted, loosely, into two groups: attitude scales and psychometric tests. We will look at each of them in this chapter, beginning with attitude scales.
Attitude measurement is a little more challenging than simply gathering information about someone's likes and dislikes, or their consumer choices. The main reason for this is that many people are not fully aware of their own attitudes, so they find it difficult to report them
What do these threeterms mean?response biasself-reportlie scale