Development and empirical verification of new response categories to increase the validity of multiple response alternative questionnaires

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


A number of scales, including the Ohio State leadership scales, use the response categories Always, Often, Occasionally, Seldom, and Never, and researchers administering these scales usually assume that the resultant data are interval in nature. Recently, however, the interval properties of such data have been questioned. This paper presents an attempt at clarifying the level of measurement provided by this particular set of response categories. Drawing on previous research concerning the frequency meanings of these adverbs, a study using two samples of 200 students was performed to determine whether the distances between the adverbs become reasonably equal when they are presented as a group ordered according to median frequency values. The results indicate that equal intervals between the adverbs are approached, but not achieved when they are ordered in this manner. A second study, designed to corroborate the first, employed Thurstone Case III pair-comparison of complete ranks. The results, which parallel those obtained from the earlier study, also indicate that the response category set of Always, Very often, About as often as not, Seldom, and Never provides reasonably interval measurement. Data obtained from a third study (using again the frequency estimation procedure of the first study) generally supported the results of the Thurstone Case III method for the new category set.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-884
Number of pages8
JournalEducational and Psychological Measurement
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1974
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Education

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