Phrase Completions: An Alternative to Likert Scales. (Note on Research Methodology)

By Hodge, David R.; Gillespie, David | Social Work Research, March 2003 | Go to article overview

Phrase Completions: An Alternative to Likert Scales. (Note on Research Methodology)


Hodge, David R., Gillespie, David, Social Work Research


Likert scaling, introduced Rensis Likert (1932, 1970), is the most widely used method of measuring personality, social, and psychological attitudes (Babbie, 1998; Nunnally, 1978). For example, prominent measures of self-esteem, depression, alienation, locus of control, ethnocentrism, racism, religiosity, spirituality, and homophobia have all used Likert scales to make operational the underlying latent construct (Hill & Hood, 1999; Raja & Stokes, 1998; Robinson, Shaver, & Wrightsman, 1991).

In addition to numerous established measures, a review of the social work literature reveals that researchers commonly use Likert scales in the development of new instruments that tap a broad array of constructs. Likert scales have been used to measure adolescent concerns that foster runaway behavior (Springer, 1998); appropriate practitioner responses to suicidal clients (Neimeyer & Bonnelle, 1997); homesickness and contentment among Asian immigrants (Shin & Abell, 1999); social worker empowerment (Frans, 1993); Spanish-speaking clients' perceptions of social work interventions in prenatal care programs (Julia, 1993); willingness to seek help (Cohen, 2000); attitudes toward illegal aliens (Ommundsen & Larsen, 1998); punishment (Chung & Bagozzi, 1997); and working with clients with HIV/AIDS (Riley & Greene, 1993).

The popularity of Likert scales can be traced to a number of factors, including ease of construction, intuitive appeal, adaptability, and usually good reliability (Babbie, 1998; Nunnally, 1978). Yet, despite these assets there are significant problems associated with Likert scales. This article delineates the problems, with a particular emphasis on multidimensionality and coarse response categories, and proposes a new measurement method called "phrase completions," which has been designed to circumvent the problems inherent in Likert scales. We also conducted an exploratory test, in which Likert items were adapted to phrase completions.

OVERVIEW OF LIKERT SCALES

In contemporary usage, Likert scales present individuals with positively or negatively stated propositions and solicit respondents' opinions about the statements through a set of response keys. Typically, participants are asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with a proposition on a graded four- or five-point scale (for example, strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree). The fifth point, when used, allows for a neutral or undecided selection to be incorporated into the response key as a midpoint response option.

Agreement with a positively stated proposition is hypothesized to reveal the underlying construct. The responses are usually equated with integers (for example, strongly agree = 0, strongly disagree = 4). Negatively worded items are reverse scored. The items are summed, creating an index that indicates the degree to which the respondent exhibits the traits in question (Duncan & Stenbeck, 1987; Roberts, Laughlin, & Wedell, 1999).

Although the agree-disagree format is perhaps the most common form of Likert scale, other types of response keys also are widely used (for example, very unmotivated, moderately unmotivated, indifferent, moderately motivated, very motivated; below average, slightly below average, average, slightly above average, above average; and so forth). Instruments using these formats are sometimes referred to as Likert-type scales or more generically as rating scales. However, this basic approach, a positively or negatively stated proposition followed by a graduated response key using adverbs and verbs, is commonly understood as the distinguishing characteristic of Likert scales (Brody & Dietz, 1997; Duncan & Stenbeck, 1987).

PROBLEM OF MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS

One of the principle tenets in constructing instruments is that items be as clear and concise as possible. The more items are characterized as cognitively complex, the more likely respondents are to misunderstand the question and answer incorrectly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Phrase Completions: An Alternative to Likert Scales. (Note on Research Methodology)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.