Andrich's contention (RMT 1990 4(3):101-102) that physical and social measurements are of equal directness is supported by this quotation from an authority of an earlier generation:
". . . all measurements are indirect in one sense or another. Not even simple physical measurements are direct, as the philosophically naive individual is likely to maintain. The physical weight of an object is customarily determined by watching a pointer on a scale. No one could truthfully say that he 'saw' the weight. . .
"It must be granted that, to measure such psychological attributes as
appreciation of beauty, . . . we must depend upon secondary signs of
these attributes. The secondary signs bear some functional
relationship to the thing we wish to measure, just as the movement of
a pointer on a scale is assumed to bear a functional relationship to
the physical phenomenon under consideration. The functional
relationship may be simpler and more dependable in the latter case
than in the former and the type of relationship may be more obvious.
That is the only logical difference. It is admittedly a difference of
some practical consequence. But it is not a difference which lead to
the conclusion that measurement is possible in the one case and
impossible in the other."
Guilford, J. P., (1936), Psychometric Methods, McGraw-Hill, Inc., pp. 1-19.
Directness and Measurement, T Rehfeldt Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1990, 4:3 p. 117
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