A scale is a tool that researchers create to measure concepts. Each of the many different types of scale designs has has a purpose and situations for which it is more or less appropriate. For instance, when measuring opinions on abortion, you may need to know more than whether a person agrees or disagrees that it should be legal. It may be more useful to know how strongly that person agrees or disagrees, in which case a Likert scale of 1–4 may be the most appropriate scale. In this scale, 1 would be “strongly disagree” and 4 would be “strongly agree” (with no neutral response possible). This is just one possible solution.
In survey research, investigators must use reliable and valid scales to measure constructs. A standard 12-inch ruler is an example of a reliable tool—it will always measure 12 inches. Even if you have a tool that is reliable, however, you still need to know if the construct you are measuring is valid. For example, many scales used in survey research measure stress. You also would need to determine whether the scale you are using is measuring the specific type of stress you are targeting and not a different type of stress or a similar construct, such as anxiety. Validity is the idea that empirically, your tool measures what it is intended to measure in that includes truth and meaning related to the construct.
In psychology, psychometrics is the area of statistical analyses related to the reliability and validity of tools. For reliability and validity, you use standardized procedures and even a language to assess and describe the empirical reliability and validity aspects of your tools. In other disciplines, you will see the terms sociometrics, econometrics, biometrics, and others—all of which focus on the properties for constructs.
Taking reliability, validity, and psychometrics into consideration, think of two factors you must consider when choosing or designing appropriate measurement scales in survey research. Then, reflect on the role of psychometrics in scale development and assessment, with emphasis on why it is critical from a utility and generalizability standpoint. Finally, think of two examples of research question formats (e.g., agree/disagree, subjective continuum) that you could use for your Research Proposal and why these formats are appropriate.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 4
Post by Day 4 a brief description of two important factors you must consider when selecting and designing appropriate measurement scales in survey research. Then explain the role and importance of psychometrics in scale development and assessment. Finally, provide two research questions formats that you could use for your Research Proposal, and explain why each is appropriate.
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