Standard Article

Primary Scales of Measurement

Part 2. Marketing Research

  1. Frederick Winter

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem02053

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Winter, F. 2010. Primary Scales of Measurement. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 2.

Author Information

  1. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Knowing scales and their capabilities is important in marketing research since they dictate the measures of centrality (e.g., mode vs. median vs. mean) or subsequent analyses that can be used. The simplest scale is a nominal scale and it indicates a name or a label. The next level of scale is ordinal and some form of rank order is generally associated with this type of scale. At the high end, interval and ratio scales are such that the differences in value apply no matter where they are on the overall scale. Clearly, some scales contain more data – for example, interval scales contain more data than nominal scales – but some scales are naturally suited to measure certain attributes. When the researcher chooses a scale to employ, he/she is not only choosing a scale that best reflects what he/she is measuring but also preselecting the possible analyses that can be used later at the time of data analysis.


  • scales;
  • nominal;
  • interval;
  • ordinal;
  • ratio;
  • measurement;
  • values