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Scale-related Pet-Peeves

Blog #24


Setting Standards for Scale Usage and Reporting

In my previous posting, I expressed deep concern about the unevenness of scale descriptions in articles published in top marketing journals as well as the variance in scale quality. I challenged journals to increase their standards with respect to measurement. In this blog I want to take the next step and propose some standards I believe should be followed.

Minimal Standards

Multi-item scales should be used when measuring psychological constructs. If not, explain why not. There may be justifiable reasons (e.g., Diamantopoulos et al. 2012) but they deserve to be explained rather than glossed over as if it does not matter.

When multi-item scales are used, the following information is required either in the main body of the paper or its appendices:

Increasing Standards

Doing those things might be considered the minimum that authors should provide and, believe me, they are not followed nearly enough even in our premier marketing journals. However, higher standards should be considered at the best journals or at any scholarly journal when a paper is submitted which has the main purpose of presenting a new scale. The following are further standards that should be considered by a journal beyond the minimum listed above:

Nothing I have said here may be new. The problem may not be knowing these goals but, instead, using them consistently. The bottom line is that whatever they are, standards should be set by journal boards and then stated clearly at a journal s website. Once authors and reviewers are aware of them, I would hope that the quality of the scales used and the clarity with which they are reported will improve much beyond what it is now. Subsequently, our confidence in a study's results and authors conclusions may improve as well.

Diamantopoulos, Adamantios, Marko Sarstedt, Christoph Fuchs, Petra Wilczynski, and Sebastian Kaiser (2012), "Guidelines for Choosing between Multi-item and Single-item for Construct Measurement: A Predictive Validity Perspective," Journal of the Academy Science, 40 (3), 434-449.