“Scaling” in Research

Definition: Scaling is the procedure of measuring and assigning the objects to the numbers according to the specified rules. In other words, the process of locating the measured objects on the continuum, a continuous sequence of numbers to which the objects are assigned is called as scaling.

Scaling is considered as the extension of measurement. What is Measurement? The measurement is the process of assigning numbers or symbol to the characteristics of the object as per the specified rules. Here, the researcher assigns numbers, not to the object, but to its characteristics such as perceptions, attitudes, preferences, and other relevant traits.

For example, consider a scale from 1 to 10 for locating consumer characteristics (preference for the product). Each respondent is assigned a number from 1 to 10 denoting the degree of unfavorableness for the product, with ‘1’ indicating extremely unfavorable and ’10’ indicating extremely favorable. Here, the measurement is the process of assigning the actual number from 1 to 10 to each respondent while the scaling is a process of placing respondents on a continuum with respect to their preference for the product.

In research, usually, the numbers are assigned to the qualitative traits of the object because the quantitative data helps in statistical analysis of the resulting data and further facilitates the communication of measurement rules and results.

All the scales used in scaling techniques can be explained in terms of four basic characteristics., Viz. Description, Order, Distance, and origin. These characteristics collectively define the Levels of Measurement of scale.  The level of measurement indicates that what properties of an object are measured or not measured by the scale.

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