Quotation Salzberger, Thomas, Koller, Monika. 2019. The direction of the response scale matters – accounting for the unit of measurement. European Journal of Marketing. 53 (5), 871-891.




Purpose Psychometric analyses of self-administered questionnaire data tend to focus on items and instruments as a whole. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the functioning of the response scale and its impact on measurement precision. In terms of the response scale direction, existing evidence is mixed and inconclusive. Design/methodology/approach Three experiments are conducted to examine the functioning of response scales of different direction, ranging from agree to disagree versus from disagree to agree. The response scale direction effect is exemplified by two different latent constructs by applying the Rasch model for measurement. Findings The agree-to-disagree format generally performs better than the disagree-to-agree variant with spatial proximity between the statement and the agree-pole of the scale appearing to drive the effect. The difference is essentially related to the unit of measurement. Research limitations/implications A careful investigation of the functioning of the response scale should be part of every psychometric assessment. The framework of Rasch measurement theory offers unique opportunities in this regard. Practical implications Besides content, validity and reliability, academics and practitioners utilising published measurement instruments are advised to consider any evidence on the response scale functioning that is available. Originality/value The study exemplifies the application of the Rasch model to assess measurement precision as a function of the design of the response scale. The methodology raises the awareness for the unit of measurement, which typically remains hidden.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal European Journal of Marketing
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new MAR-C, STRAT-C, WH-B
Language English
Title The direction of the response scale matters – accounting for the unit of measurement
Volume 53
Number 5
Year 2019
Page from 871
Page to 891
Reviewed? Y
DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-08-2017-0539
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-08-2017-0539


Salzberger, Thomas (Details)
Koller, Monika (Details)
Institute for Marketing and Consumer Research IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5301 Distributive trades (Details)
5307 Business and management economics (Details)
5320 Marketing (Details)
5321 Market research (Details)
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