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Scale-related Pet-Peeves

Blog #33


Poor Descriptions of Scales*

In my work reviewing scales, the primary task is to describe the measures.  Well, I should say try to describe them because I encounter numerous obstacles in the process.  Many of the challenges have been discussed in previous pet-peeve blogs I have posted over the years.  In this post, I will focus on information given in articles that is confusing and incomplete with regard to exactly WHAT a scale is measuring. 

Here are the types of problems I deal with when trying to describe scales.

Despite this depressing state of affairs, the good news is that the greater use of web appendices has given authors the space to provide more information about their scales.  The excuse of not having the space in one’s article for listing construct definitions, scale items, factor analyses, and related information is not acceptable anymore.  While some authors have used that space well, others have not.  I call on editors and reviewers to raise their standards and require authors to provide complete information in published articles and/or web appendices as a requirement for publication acceptance.


* Specific articles could have been cited here but are not because of the potential embarrassment it could bring to the authors.  My purpose is not to embarrass them but to urge them along with the journal editors, reviewers, and other scholars to raise standards of describing measures.