Research in Science Education

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 283–289 | Cite as

Measuring attitudes to science: Unidimensionality and internal consistency revisited

  • Paul L. Gardner


Summated ratings attitude scales commonly consist of numerous items whose scores are summed to yield a total score. An assumption underlying this technique is that the items in the scale reflect a common construct. If this is not met, the procedure produces uninterpretable data. Although this psychometric principle has been known for a long time, numerous studies in the literature demonstrate a neglect of it. Some make no attempt to conceptualise the construct to be measured; others conceptualise the construct but then ignore the possibility that it may be multidimensional; still others contain evidence indicating that the construct is multidimensional and then proceed to ignore that evidence. A possible contributor to the confusion is the misunderstanding of the related yet distinct concepts of internal consistency and unidimensionality. This paper presents examples of poor and good instrument design, in the hope that clarification of the issues might make a difference in the future.


Internal Consistency Summate Rating Attitude Scale Distinct Concept Rating Attitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australasian Science Education Research Association 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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