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Is it Better to Use Likert of Forced Choice?

forced choice

arnold on Sep 16, 2008

Bartlett et al (1960) asked this same question.

This brief article briefly compared the Likert-Type measurement against the forced choice option. The authors argue that the traditional type (Likert-Type) of attitude measurement may be subject to many types of bias, for instance the desire to raise expectation on a post-test to provide positive reinforcement that a change was observed.

The authors hypothesized that the traditional scale (Likert) will yield a significant change in contrast to the force-choice scale which will yield no change.

Results: The two scales had a low level of correlation .22 and did not approach unity. Test-retest reliability was modest for both scales (.71 Likert .61 Forced Choice)

Discussion: The correlation indicates that while the two scales have some common variance they are measuring different things. The present study found a significant change in attitude score for the Likert scale where bias was not adequately controlled…forced choice showed no significant change in attitude.

Takeaway: Traditional methods of attitude measurement are subject to bias. Attitude change may reflect bias and not actual changes in attitude.

Reference:
Bartlett, Quay, Wrightsman (1960), “A Comparison of Two Methods of Attitude Measurement: Likert-Type and Forced Choice.” Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 699 – 704.

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