What Are The Basic Measurement Scales?

Knowing people is a task that involves a discipline and extensive knowledge of the available scientific techniques. Market Research draws on the advances and tools of many sciences, particularly social sciences such as Anthropology, Sociology, Economics and Geography to mention just a few.

When working with data it is important to clearly understand the different measurement scales that exist. These are ways of representing the measured individuals of a universe. Due to its characteristics and limitations, it is convenient to know when one or the other is useful to solve a particular question, since they are not compatible with each other. Below we list the four main ones.

  1. Nominal Scale. It is the simplest of all and is based on the unequivocal membership designation of an individual with a group or class. The class is arbitrarily named with a letter or number. The origin of the zero and the order on this scale is completely arbitrary. Some examples are the gender, the province of residence or the region code of the cell number.
  2. Ordinal Scale. In addition to having the identification and classification characteristics of the nominal scale, it allows the hierarchization of individuals since it is based on the registration of an attribute measured to a greater or lesser degree. The distance between one degree and another is not necessarily constant throughout the scale and the origin of the null value is also arbitrary. To cite examples of this scale, we can mention the degree of preference for a sports team or the level of approval of an event.
  3. Interval Scale. Unlike the ordinal scale, in this case there is a constant and regular distance between the different degrees. It shares the arbitrary origin of the zero value with the previous case, but nevertheless makes it possible to measure distances between different equivalent scales. The temperature measurement scale, which can be graduated in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, is the most classic example of this type.
  4. Reason Scale. It brings together the characteristics of the scales described above, which makes it the most robust on the list. It allows the hierarchization, classification and homogeneous distancing between grades. Furthermore, the null value corresponds to a tangible zero. Several physical measurements are examples of this scale: volume, length, and density. This scale cannot be used in qualitative studies.

Mastery and deep understanding of measurement scales are a fundamental foundation for successfully designing and executing a market study. At Acertiva, our experts know these bases that allow them to advise our clients on their research projects. Write us today if you are looking for Market Research allies in LATAM.

Un termómetro (español) / Um termômetro (Português) / A thermometer (English)