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scalinga method ofmeasurement in the social sciences, which is applied particularly to the measurement of personality traits and of ATTITUDES. Central is the concept of a continuum. This means that personality types, for example, can be arranged or ordered in terms of dichotomous schemas (such as EXTRAVERSION AND INTROVERSION), and attitudes vary on a scale going from one extreme, through neutral, to the other extreme. When this is not possible and two or more dimensions are required for accurate description, multidimensional scaling is used (see Kruksall and Wish, Multidimensional Scaling, 1978.)
There are a number of ways of constructing such scales, but all rely on the assumption that personality traits or attitudes can be assessed from the responses given to statements or questions (see LIKERT SCALE). It is important that an equal number of positively and negatively loaded statements are used, and that only one dimension is tapped. Various statistical techniques are used to check the internal consistency of scales as they are developed.
scaling(1) See scale.
(2) Sometimes refers to obtaining incremental improvements in new products via traditional methods: "evolutionary" rather than "revolutionary."