Difficulties in developing an attitudinal scale

In developing an attitudinal scale there are three problems:

  1. Which aspects of a situation or issue should be included when seeking to measure an atti­tude? For instance, in the example cited above, what aspects of teaching should be included in a scale to find out the attitude of students towards their lecturer?
  2. What procedure should be adopted for combining the different aspects to obtain an overall picture?
  3. How can one ensure that a scale really is measuring what it is supposed to measure?

The first problem is extremely important as it largely determines the third problem: the extent to which the statements on different aspects are reflective of the main issue largely determines the validity of the scale. You can solve the third problem by ensuring that your statements on the various aspects have a logical link with the main issue under study — the greater the link, the higher the validity. The different types of attitudinal scale (Likert, Thurstone and Guttman) provide an answer to the second problem. They guide you as to the procedure for combining the attitudes towards various aspects of an issue, though the degree of difficulty in following the procedure for these scales varies from scale to scale.

Source: Kumar Ranjit (2012), Research methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners, SAGE Publications Ltd; Third edition.

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