Lori Shelby, Ph.D., CEO & Founder
This is a holiday present for those of you who are survey research nerds like me...
Did you know that Likert is actually pronounced Lick urt? Yes, really, That is how Dr. Rensis Likert pronounced his name.
Even what a Likert scale is and is not is widely misunderstood. A five-point scale ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree as is often seen on surveys as a way to answer a question is actually not a Likert scale. However, it is really just an ordinal scale. The misunderstanding likely stems from an oversimplification of Likert's (1932) article that has become a common misbelief over time. Likert was actually putting forward a methodology to uses a series of questions to develop a scale that includes different dimensions of a subject.He directly stated the scale labels were not important in and of themselves.
To avoid misunderstanding, it is becoming more and more popular to use the term Likert-type to refer to a 5 or 7 point scale that have a rank order and are equivalent on either side (e.g., Very Important, Important, Neutral, Unimportant, Very Unimportant). Even this is a misuse of Likert's methodology, but it is a good compromise.
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