Ten Common Misunderstandings

Ten Common Misunderstandings - Journal of Social Sciences 3...

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Journal of Social Sciences 3 (3): 106-116, 2007 ISSN 1549-3652 © 2007 Science Publications Corresponding Author: James Carifio, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA 106 Ten Common Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, Persistent Myths and Urban Legends about Likert Scales and Likert Response Formats and their Antidotes 1 James Carifio and 2 Rocco J. Perla 1 University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Ave, Lowell, MA 01854 2 HealthAlliance Hospital,60 Hospital Road, Leominster, MA 01453 Abstract: A recent article by Jamieson in Medical Education outlined some of the (alleged) abuses of “Likert scales” with suggestions about how researchers can overcome some of the (alleged) methodological pitfalls and limitations [1] . However, many of the ideas advanced in the Jamison article, as well as a great many of articles it cited, and similar recent articles in medical, health, psychology, and educational journals and books, are themselves common misunderstandings, misconceptions, conceptual errors, persistent myths and “urban legends” about “Likert scales” and their characteristics and qualities that have been propagated and perpetuated across six decades, for a variety of different reasons. This article identifies, analyses and traces many of these aforementioned problems and presents the arguments, counter arguments and empirical evidence that show these many persistent claims and myths about “Likert scales” to be factually incorrect and untrue. Many studies have shown that Likert Scales (as opposed to single Likert response format items) produce interval data and that the F-test is very robust to violations of the interval data assumption and moderate skewing and may be used to analyze “Likert data” (even if it is ordinal), but not on an item-by-item “shotgun” basis, which is simply a current research and analysis practice that must stop. After sixty years, it is more than time to dispel these particular research myths and urban legends as well as the various damage and problems they cause, and put them to bed and out of their misery once and for all. Keywords: formats, Likert, measurement, psychological, scales INTRODUCTION In the process of reviewing literature related to assessments in medical and health education, we came across a recent article by Jamieson in Medical Education that attempts to outline some of the (alleged) abuses of Likert scales with suggestions of how researchers can overcome some of these methodological pitfalls and limitations [1] . However, many of the ideas advanced in the Jamieson article relative to Likert “scales,” as well as a great many of articles it cited [2-6] , are themselves common misunderstandings, misconceptions, conceptual errors, myths and “urban legends” about Likert scales and their characteristics and qualities that have been propagated and perpetuated across decades, for a variety of different reasons, including a lack of first hand familiarity and understanding of primary sources (i.e.,
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2010 for the course MKTG ME501 taught by Professor Mark during the Spring '10 term at Assumption College.

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Ten Common Misunderstandings - Journal of Social Sciences 3...

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