Guide - Dictionary of concepts

Guttman scale

An effective tool for examining the degree of acceptance of specific phenomena among respondents or their attitudes towards them is the so-called Guttman scale. The name of the method came from the name of its creator – an Israeli sociologist and researcher. It distinguishes itself by the specific order of questions and the relationship between them – they are arranged hierarchically and concern the same issue.

Guttman scale is often used to study attitudes or opinions that arouse controversy – an affirmative answer given by the respondent to the first question determines the same answer to the next. And so in turn, in every further question.

Guttman scale – example

Do you agree that the ban on trade should apply on Sunday?

  • Yes, every Sunday.
  • Yes, but except one Sunday in a month.
  • Yes, but only on half Sundays in a year.
  • Only on a few specific days.

As can be seen from the above example, the Guttman scale shows that the sooner one starts responding affirmatively to a statement, the greater is his acceptance in the eyes of the respondent. It is important, therefore, to construct questions in such a way and set them in such a way that they influence the examined feature more and more.

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