This paper is a summary of the author's doctoral dissertation at the University of Pittsburgh.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NUMBER OF RESPONSE CATEGORIES AND RELIABILITY OF LIKERT-TYPE QUESTIONNAIRES1
Version of Record online: 12 SEP 2005
Journal of Educational Measurement
Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 49–53, March 1974
How to Cite
MASTERS, E. R. (1974), THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NUMBER OF RESPONSE CATEGORIES AND RELIABILITY OF LIKERT-TYPE QUESTIONNAIRES. Journal of Educational Measurement, 11: 49–53. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-3984.1974.tb00970.x
- Issue online: 12 SEP 2005
- Version of Record online: 12 SEP 2005
The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between number of response categories employed and internal-consistency reliability of Likert-type questionnaires. Two questionnaires, each composed of items with high loadings on one factor, were scaled with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 categories. The questionnaires were administered to graduate students in education and coefficient alpha reliabilities were computed both for random samples of items and for each total questionnaire. The results indicated that in situations where low total score variability is achieved with a small number of categories, reliability can be increased through increasing the number of categories employed, in situations where pinion is widely divided toward the content being measured, reliability appeared to be independent of the number of response categories.