, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 99–114 | Cite as

Scale analysis and the measurement of social attitudes

  • Allen L. Edwards
  • Franklin P. Kilpatrick


This paper discusses and compares the methods of attitude scale construction of Thurstone (method of equal-appearing intervals), Likert (method of summated ratings), and Guttman (method of scale analysis), with special emphasis on the latter as one of the most recent and significant contributions to the field. Despite a certain lack of methodological precision, scale analysis provides a means of evaluating the uni-dimensionality of a set of items. If the criteria for uni-dimensionality are met, the interpretation of rank-order scores is made unambiguous, and efficiency of prediction from the set of items is maximized. The Guttman technique, however, provides no satisfactory means of selecting the original set of items for scale analysis. Preliminary studies indicated that both the Likert and the Thurstone methods tend to select scalable sets of items and that their functions in this respect are complementary. A method of combining the Likert and Thurstone methods in order to yield a highly scalable set of items is outlined. Sets of 14 items selected by the method have, in the two cases where the technique has been tried, yielded very satisfactory scalability.


Public Policy Significant Contribution Statistical Theory Social Attitude Scale Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Psychometric Society 1948

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen L. Edwards
    • 1
  • Franklin P. Kilpatrick
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of WashingtonUSA

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