RATINGS: NONANALYTICAL APPROACHES
We are now to consider one of the most frequently used, and at the same time most frequently abused, methods of personality measurement: the rating technique. This technique is used whenever all other methods seem inadequate, whenever no other method is available, as a supplement to other techniques, and as an integral part of many other techniques of personality measurement. The method is frequently abused, however, because its apparent simplicity leads many untrained individuals to construct and to make use of rating scales without any concern whatsoever as to the objectivity, reliability, or validity of the results that may be secured. It is also abused because of the fact that it is used even when better methods of assessment are known to be available.
We shall try in this and in the next chapter to describe some of the better standardized rating techniques, to point out some of the dangers of inadequate techniques, and to show in what ways the various varieties of the technique should and should not be applied. We can begin our discussion by pointing out that there should be in the use of any rating technique we have in mind, as in the use of any other technique of measurement, the accomplishment of two objectives. We want to be able to classify individuals upon some meaningful trait or variable, and we want to know the reasons for the placement of an individual in one category rather than in another. In accord with these two objectives, we shall classify all rating methods in two broad categories: analytical if they provide both classifications and supporting reasons; nonanalytical if they provide classifications without supporting reasons. With this distinction in mind we proceed with a discussion of several varieties of nonanalytical rating techniques.