The authors discuss limitations of two popular measurement procedures, the Likert scale and conventional pretest-posttest self-report design. Both techniques have limits and yet are often combined, leading to restricted fidelity for measuring change. The authors go on to discuss two innovations in measurement that provide researchers with greater assessment fidelity: Visual analog scales and the retrospective pretest design. Moreover, when used in combination, these innovations measurement techniques provide dramatic increases in the power to detect and quantify change.
Aiken, L.S., and West, S.G. (1990). Invalidity of true experiments, self-report pretest biases. Evaluation Review, 14, 374-390.
Aitken, R.C. (1969). Measurement of feelings using visual analogue scales. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 62, 989–993.
Abu-Saad, H. H., Kroonen, E., & Halfens, R. (1990). On the development of a multidimensional Dutch pain assessment tool for children. Pain, 43, 249-256
Bijur, P.E., Silver, W., & Gallagher, J. (2001). Reliability of the visual analog scale for measurement of acute pain. Academic Emergency Medicine, 8, 1153-1157.
Bray, J.H., Maxwell, S.E., & Howard, G.S. (1984). Methods of analysis with response-shift bias. Educational Measurement and Psychological Measurement, 44, 781-804.
Breetvelt, I.S., & Van Dam, F.S.A.M. (1991). Underreporting by cancer patients: the case of response-shift. Social Science Medicine, 32, 981-987.
Cohen, E.H. (2014). Self-assessing the benefits of educational tours. Journal of Travel Research, published online 11 Sept 2014, 1-9.
Cronbach, L.J., & Furby, L. (1970). How we should measure “change”-or should we? Psychological Bulletin, 74, 68-80.
Couper, M. P., Tourangeau, R., Conrad, F. G., & Singer, E. (2006).Evaluating the effectiveness of visual analog scales: A Web experiment. Social Science Computer Review, 24, 227-245.
Davis, G.A. (2002). Using a retrospective pre-post questionnaire to determine program impact. Paper presented at Mid-Western Education Research Association.
Drennan, J., & Hyde, A. (2008). Controlling response shift bias: The use of the retrospective pre-test design in the evaluation of a master’s programme. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33, 699-709.
Edmonson D.R. (2005). Likert Scale: A History. Retrieved from CHARM database.
Finkelstein, J.A., Quaranto, B.R, & Schwartz, C.E. (2014). Threats to the internal validity of spinal surgery outcome assessment: recalibration response shift or implicit theories of change? Applied Research Quality Life, 9, 215-232.
Flynn, D., van Schaik, P., & van Wersch, A. (2004). A comparison of multi-item Likert and visual analogue scales for the assessment of transactionally defined coping function. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 20, 49-58.
Haefeli, M., & Elfering, A. (2006). Pain assessment. European Spine Journal, 15, 17-24.
Hayes, M., & Patterson, D. (1921). Experimental development of the graphic rating method. Psychological Bulletin,18, 98–99.
Hodge, D. R. & Gillespie, D. F. (2003). Phrase Completions: An alternative to Likert scales. Social Work Research, 27, 45-55.
Hoogstraten, J. (1985). Influence of objective measures on self-reports in a retrospective pretest-posttest design. The Journal of Experimental Education, 53, 207-210.
Howard, G.S. (1980). Response-shift bias: A problem in evaluating interventions with pre-post self-reports. Evaluation Review, 4, 93-106.
Howard, G.S., Dailey, P.R., & Gulanick, N.A. (1979). The feasibility of informed pretests in attenuating response-shift bias. Applied Psychological Measurement, 3, 481-494.
Howard, G.S., Millham, J., Slaten, S., & O’Donnell, L. (1981). Influence of subject response style effects on retrospective measures. Applied Psychological Measurement, 5, 89-100.
Joyce, C.R.B., Zutshi, D.W., Hrubes, V., & Mason, R.M. (1975). Comparison of fixed interval and Visual Analogue Scales for rating chronic pain. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 8, 415–420.
Kievit, W., Hendrikx, J., Stalmeier, P.F.M., van de Laar, M.A.F.J., Van Riel, P.L.C.M., and Adang, E.M. (2010). The relationship between change in subjective outcome and change in disease: A potential paradox. Quality of Life Research, 19, 985-994.
Likert, R. 1932. A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 140, 5-55.
Little, J. C., & McPhail, N. I. (1973). Measures of depressive mood at monthly intervals. British Journal of Psychiatry, 122, 447-452.
Munshi J. A method for constructing Likert scales. Sonoma State University. [Internet]. 1990. Retrieved from: http://www.munshi.4t.com/papers/likert.html.
Nakonezny, P.A., and Rodgers, J.L. (2003). An empirical evaluation of the retrospective pretest: Are there advantages to looking back? Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, 4, 240-250.
Nakonezny, P.A., Rodgers, J.L., and Nussbaum, J.F. (2003). The effect of later life parental divorce on adult-child/older-parent solidarity: A test of the buffering hypothesis. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33, 115-1178.
Neely, G., & Borg, E. (1995). Properties of a category ratio scale (CR-10) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS): A comparison with magnitude estimation, line production, and category scaling (Tech. Rep. No. 791). Stockholm, Sweden: Stockholm University, Department of Psychology.
Pratt, C.C., McGuigan, W.M., and Katzev, A.R. (2000). Measuring program outcomes: using retrospective pretest methodology. American Journal of Evaluation. 21, 341-349.
Rausch, M. & Zehetleitner, M. (2014). A comparison between a visual analogue scale and a four point scale as measures of conscious experience of motion. Consciousness and Cognition, 28, 126-140.
Shields, B. J., Palermo, T. M., Powers, J. D., Grewe, S. D., & Smith, G. A. (2003). Predictors of a child’s ability to use a visual analogue scale. Child: Care, Health and Development, 29, 281-290.
Sprangers, M. (1989). Subject bias and the retrospective pretest in retrospect. Bulletin of the Psychometric Society, 27, 11-14.
Svensson, E. (2001). Construction of a single global scale for multi-item assessments of the same variable. Statistical Medicine, 20, 3831-3846.
Thomeé R., Grimby G., Wright B.D., & Linacre J.M. (1995). Rasch analysis of Visual Analog Scale measurements before and after treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome in women. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 27, 145-151.
Zealley A.K., & Aitken R.C.B. (1969). Measurement of mood. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 62, 993–996.