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Measurement and Scaling


Scales of Measurement ,Sources of Error in

Levels of Measurement
• We know that the level of measurement is a scale by which a
variable is measured. For 50 years, with few detractors, science has
used the Stevens (1951) typology of measurement levels (scales).
There are three things, which you need to remember about this
typology: Any thing that can be measured falls into one of the four
• The higher the level of measurement, the more precision in
measurement and every level up contains all the properties of the
previous level. The four levels of measurement, from lowest to
highest, are as follows:
• Nominal
• Ordinal
• Interval
• Ratio
Four Levels of Measurement
Nominal scale

 Data are numerical in name only

 assigns number symbols to events in order to
label them
 assigns numbers for the purpose of categorizing
events, attributes or characteristics
 does not express any values or relationships
between variables
 mathematical or statistical operation that can be
performed on nominal scales is a frequency run
or count.
Ordinal Scale

• It is the lowest level of Ordered Scale.

• The ordinal level of measurement describes variables
that can be ordered or ranked in some order of
• It describes most judgments about things, such as big or
little, strong or weak.
• Most opinion and attitude scales or indexes in the social
sciences are ordinal in nature
• The Ordinal Scale determines the students Rank in his
class. Thus its use implies a statement of “greater than”
or “lesser than” without being able to state how much
great or less.
Interval Scale

• The interval scales have more or less equal

intervals, or meaningful distances between their
ranks. For example, if you were to ask
somebody if they were first, second, or third
generation immigrant, the assumption is that the
distance or number of years, between each
generation is the same.
• Interval Scales may have arbitrary zero, but it is
not possible for them to determine what may be
called as “absolute zero” or “a unique origin”.
Ratio Scale

 a scale consists not only of equidistant points but

also has a meaningful zero point
 a ratio scale is an interval scale in which
distances are stated with respect to a rational
 ratios are equivalent
 data allows forming quotients in addition to
Important Scaling Techniques
1. Rating Scales:
• The Rating Scales involves qualitative
description of a limited number of aspects of a
thing or traits of a person.
• We judge the properties of objects against the
specified criteria, without reference to other
similar object.
• Three to seven-point scale are generally used
for the reason that more points on a scale
provide an opportunity for greater sensitivity of
• Rating Scale may be either a graphic rating
scale or an itemized rating scale.
• Graphic rating scale is quite simple and is
commonly used in practice. The various points
are usually put along the line to form a
continuum and the rater indicates his rating by
simply making a mark at the appropriate point on
a line that runs from one extreme to the other.
• Itemized rating scale presents a series of
statements from which a respondent selects one
as best reflecting his evaluation. These
statements are ordered progressively in terms of
more or less of some property.
2. Ranking Scales:
• In this we make relative judgments against
other similar objects. The respondents
under this method directly compare two or
more objects and make choices among
( Rank in the order of preference)