RMT 19:2 Quotes

Thurstone on Social Science Measurement

"Although I have not attempted to gain competence in the general field of social psychology, our work in psychological measurement has naturally turned to the measurement of social values. This was largely due to our attempt to introduce some life and interest in psychophysics, which was dominated for a long time by the trivial problems of lifted weights and limen determinations. The extension of psychophysical methods to the measurement of social values was especially tempting when it turned out that the law of comparative judgment is entirely independent of the physical stimulus magnitudes. This circumstance enables one to use the law in the measurement of social and aesthetic values where physical stimulus measurement is entirely irrelevant.

"Our work on attitudes was started when I had some correspondence with Floyd Allport about the appraisal of political opinions, and there was discussion here at that time about the concept of social distance which was introduced by Bogardus. It was in such a setting that I speculated about the possible use of the new psychophysical toys. I wrote a paper entitled "Attitudes can be measured" (1928). Instead of gaining some approval for this effort, I found myself in a storm of criticism and controversy. The critics assumed that the essence of social attitudes was by definition something unmeasurable. There followed a number of other papers on the construction of particular attitude scales and on methodology, including a little monograph on The Measurement of Attitude by Professor E. J. Chave and myself (1929). There was a good deal of interest in the subject and a lot of attitude scales were constructed for particular issues. .... Our best work in this field was a study, supported by the Payne Fund, on the effect of motion pictures on the social attitudes of high school children.

"There was heavy correspondence with people who were interested in attitude measurement, but they were concerned mostly with the selection of attitude scales on particular issues to be used on particular groups of people. There seemed to be very little interest in developing the theory of the subject. The construction of more and more attitude scales seemed to be unproductive, and I decided to stop any further work of this kind. Incomplete material for a dozen more attitude scales was thrown in the wastebasket and I discouraged any further work of that kind in my laboratory. I wanted to clear the place for work in developing multiple factor analysis."

"L. L. Thurstone." In Gardner Lindzey (ed.) A History of Psychology in Autobiography Vol VI.. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1952): 294 - 321. [Emphasis RMT.]

Social Studies, Science and Invariance

"The excuse is often made that social phenomena are so complex that the relatively simple methods of the older sciences do not apply. This argument is probably false. The analytical study of social phenomena is probably not so difficult as is commonly believed. The principal difficulty is that the experts in social studies are frequently hostile to science. They try to describe the totality of a situation and their orientation is often to the market place or the election next week. They do not understand the thrill of discovering an invariance of some kind which never covers the totality of any situation. Social studies will not become science until students of social phenomena learn to appreciate this essential aspect of science."

"L. L. Thurstone." In Gardner Lindzey (ed.) A History of Psychology in Autobiography Vol VI.. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1952): 294 - 321.

Well, That's a Relief ....

"Most obviously the favourite technique of this psychometric subset, a group that displays certain characteristics of a mafia¹, is something called the 'Rasch model', named after Danish mathematician George Rasch.

¹ I hasten to point out that I have absolutely no reason to believe that members of this group have any links to organised crime."

Harvey Goldstein (2004) The Education World Cup: international comparisons of student achievement. Plenary talk to Association for Educational Assessment - Europe, Budapest, Nov. 4-6, 2004.

RMT 19:2 Quotes … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 2005, 19:2 p. 1024

Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
in Spanish: Análisis de Rasch para todos, Agustín Tristán Mediciones, Posicionamientos y Diagnósticos Competitivos, Juan Ramón Oreja Rodríguez

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