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Can't we make it any shorter? The limits of personality assessment and way to overcome them

[journal article]

Rammstedt, Beatrice; Beierlein, Constanze

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Abstract Psychological constructs are becoming increasingly important in social surveys. Scales for the assessment of these constructs are usually developed primarily for individual assessment and decision-making. Hence, in order to guarantee high levels of reliability, measurement precision, and validity, these scales are in most cases much too long to be applied in surveys. Such settings call for extremely short measures validated for the population as a whole. However, despite the unquestionable demand, appropriate measures are still lacking. There are several reasons for this. In particular, short scales have often been criticized for their potential psychometric shortcomings with regard to reliability and validity. In this article, the authors discuss the advantages of short scales as alternative measures in large-scale surveys. Possible reasons for the assumed limited psychometric qualities of short scales will be highlighted. The authors show that commonly used reliability estimators are not always appropriate for judging the quality of scales with a minimal number of items, and they offer recommendations for alternative estimation methods and suggestions for the construction of a thorough short scale. (author's abstract)
Keywords personality; test; personality research; personality traits; personality psychology; measurement; measurement instrument; operationalization; scale construction; indicator; analysis; psychometrics; methodological research; survey research
Classification Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods; Personality Psychology
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 212-220
Journal Journal of Individual Differences, 35 (2014) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1614-0001/a000141
ISSN 2151-2299
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications