This sample essay on Thurstone Scale Example reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
There is no single, universally accepted definition of attitude. However, several authors seem to agree that attitude may be thought of in terms of “a tendency to evaluate a stimulus with some degree of favour of disfavour, usually expressed in cognitive, affective, or behavioural responses” (Watkins, Christopher – Attitude Measurement: A Methodological Approach. Unpublished Essay).
Thurstone is considered the father of attitude measurement. He addressed the issue of how favourable an individual is with regard of a given issue. He developed an attitude continuum to determine the position of favourability on the issue.
In 1932, Likert developed the method of summated ratings (or Likert’s scale), which is still widely used. The Likert scale requires that individuals tick on a box to report whether they “strongly agree”, “agree”, are “undecided”, “disagree”, or “strongly disagree”, in response to a large number of items concerning an attitude object or stimulus.
In 1944, Guttman suggested multidimensional scales, as opposed to one-dimensional scales such as those developed by Thurstone and Likert, should measure that attitude. Guttman pointed out that there should be a multidimensional view of the attitude construct; he developed the Scalogram Analysis, Cumulative Scaling, or as usually called, Guttman scaling. The major characteristic of this scale is that the responses to one item help predict the responses to other items. For instance, if the individual responds negatively to the item “I like oranges”, he is not likely to respond positively to the item “Oranges are great for breakfast”.
What Is Thurstone Scale
Later on, Osgood, Suci, and Tannenbaum developed the Semantic Differential Technique, which is widespread today. Other methods have been developed since. What it is important to point out is that each development has resulted in an extension of the attitude construct, there appear to be a lot of commonalities among the different methods.
Thurstone is the social psychologist who first created attitude-measurement methodology. Thurstone scales are still the main way to measure attitude. Thurstone’s method involved defining and identifying the object, then making a pool of opinion statements, some positive, some negative, some neutral.
Thurstone developed 3 scales for measuring attitude.
* Paired Comparisons
This method requires that attitude comparisons be paired in every possible combination. Since 20 statements will result in the judging of 190 pairs, this method is a lot of work.
* Equal-appearing intervals.
Judges sort statements one at a time on a range of extremely favourable to extremely unfavourable. It is much like Likert scaling, but neutral items are required to incorporate the entire spectrum of attitude about an object.
* Successive intervals.
This is an extension to the equal-appearing intervals scaling. It tries to statistically place items on a continuum instead of relying on subjective answers given by judges. It uses the number of times different judges rate a statement to develop the rank order for the scales.
I will be focusing on using the Thurstone method to develop my attitude measurement. The Thurstone procedure for scaling attitudes has been developed out of the principles of psychophysics. While the individualisation of the attitude has been documented elsewhere it is notable that Thurstone recognised the potential of a metric scaling of attitudes which give descriptions of and comparisons between social categories. He outlined four uses of mean values on a scale:
1. The average or mean attitude of a particular individual on the issue at stake.
2. The range of opinion that the individual is willing to accept or tolerate.
3. The relative popularity of each attitude of the scale for a designated group as shown by the frequency distribution for that group
4. The degree of homogeneity or heterogeneity on the issues as shown by the spread or dispersion of its frequency distribution.
The first two uses focus on the individual and the second two on the social representations. Commenting on a comparative judgemental task Thurstone says that the results describe as much a group of respondents as the group’s view of the stimulus. Scale values, he argued, could also be used to compare several different groups in their attitudes on a disputed issue.
I will be applying my discussion on the topic of legalisation of cannabis. This issue is and always has been debated by almost everyone who knows about drugs. Attitudes of people have changed either for or against legalisation and I will hope to devise a scale which measures these attitudes. As stated earlier, I will be basing my scale on the Thurstone method as this is seen to be more reliable than the Likert scale.
When Olympic officials decided to give snowboarder Ross Rebagliati (Olympic Gold Medallist 1998) his gold medal back, the cheers drowned out the boos. It was a minor scandal involving a minor sport, but it spoke volumes about the world’s shifting relationship with its favourite illicit drug. Marijuana. A decade ago, Rebagliati would have been ostracized regardless of whether cannabis was on the list of his sport’s banned substances. What has changed today is that our attitudes towards illegal drugs are becoming more sophisticated and discriminating. After thirty years of research into the harmful effects of cannabis, there can be no hidden dangers left to discover. We know that it is plain nonsense to regard cannabis as a performance-enhancing drug, just as it is a myth to think the substance rots the brain or leads inexorably to harder substances.
The issue of cannabis legalization has been debated ever since the substance was made illegal on April 14, 1937. The issue remains as alive and debatable today as it has ever been. The public’s growing fascination and acceptance of this plant adds fuel to the fire of the controversy. There are many questions that still need to be answered in the realm of cannabis legalization, and pressure to find those answers is another thing that fuels the debate over decriminalisation. The pressure for legislation reform is not specific to any demographic location. All ages, races, and sexes have argued it. There are those that argue for the medical legalization, economical legalization, and of course, recreational legalization. Those that lobby for reform carry large amounts of statistical evidence and personal testimony to show the beneficial elements of this plant. The push for marijuana reform has come from doctors and lawyers as well as skateboard toting teens.
Those that push for the decriminalisation of marijuana base their arguments on a number of proven facts, refuted opposing arguments, and positive personal experiences. There are some groups that support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, cultivation for personal use, and the casual non-profit transfers of small amounts. They back their arguments with claims like: Cannabis has proven to be addictive to a very small portion of the overall user population, and when put in contrast with other addictive over-the-counter drugs (such as alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine), the addictive potential of cannabis is far below those accepted levels. Marijuana supporters also argue that it’s been in use (documented) for 5,000 years and during that span there hasn’t been one single documented overdose case. Still others argue for the medicinal use of marijuana.
The anti-marijuana campaigner’s project that the legalization of marijuana will lead to a breakdown of moral fibres, which leads to the legalization of other drugs, which leads to increased crime, which leads to tremendous amounts of money spent, which leads to distrust of the legal system, which leads to anarchy. They argue, “our society couldn’t survive and function with the legalization of this drug.” The fallacy is represented by the anti-legalisationist’s in the fact that evidence does prove that societies can thrive and prosper with marijuana being legal.
Using the Thurstone method, below I have created a number of statements (items) to do with the issue of legalisation of cannabis. I have divided the items below into four categories (factors) – Value Judgement, Attitudes towards experimentation with drugs, Legalisation of drug use and Attitudes of others toward drug use. Each item is to be read by the respondent and then the respondent will have to give the statement a rating out of 11. Giving the item a mark of 11 will indicate that the respondent strongly agrees with the statement, on the other hand, giving a mark of 1 would indicate that the respondent very strongly disagrees with the statement.