Investigating measurement equivalence of visual analogue scales and Likert-type scales in Internet-based personality questionnaires

T. Kuhlmann, M. Dantlgraber, U.-D. Reips

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Visual analogue scales (VASs) have shown superior measurement qualities in comparison to traditional Likert-type response scales in previous studies. The present study expands the comparison of response scales to properties of Internet-based personality scales in a within-subjects design. A sample of 879 participants filled out an online questionnaire measuring Conscientiousness, Excitement Seeking, and Narcissism. The questionnaire contained all instruments in both answer scale versions in a counterbalanced design. Results show comparable reliabilities, means, and SDs for the VAS versions of the original scales, in comparison to Likert-type scales. To assess the validity of the measurements, age and gender were used as criteria, because all three constructs have shown non-zero correlations with age and gender in previous research. Both response scales showed a high overlap and the proposed relationships with age and gender. The associations were largely identical, with the exception of an increase in explained variance when predicting age from the VAS version of Excitement Seeking (B10 =1318.95, ΔR2=.025). VASs showed similar properties to Likert-type response scales in most cases. © 2017, Psychonomic Society, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2173-2181
Number of pages9
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2017


  • adolescent
  • adult
  • aged
  • devices
  • female
  • human
  • Internet
  • male
  • middle aged
  • personality test
  • psychometry
  • questionnaire
  • standards
  • statistics and numerical data
  • very elderly
  • visual analog scale
  • young adult
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Young Adult

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