The Development of Measures for Use in Survey Questionnaires

A Brief Tutorial on the Development of Measures for Use in Survey Questionnaires”, by Timothy R. Hinkin, Cornell University, currently appears as one of the most frequently cited articles in Organizational Research Methods, based on citations to online articles from HighWire-hosted articles. Professor Hinkin graciously shared his insights about the article.

What prompted you to do this research and write this article? Do you have any specific memories about doing the research, writing or the review/publishing process that you would like to share?

Prior to writing the ORM article I had written Hinkin, T. R. (1995). “A review of scale development in the study of behavior in organizations,” Journal of Management, Vol. 21 (5) 967-988. Based on that review I took a very fragmented body of research to look for best practices in each individual stage of scale development to come up with the tutorial. The reason I did this in the first place is because I was reviewing a large number of manuscripts that involved scale development, most of which had major flaws that threatened the validity and reliability of the measures. There was simply no single article that did what this one does. I envisioned writing a manuscript that would be especially useful for doctoral students, which it has turned out to be.

Why do you think this research is important? Why are people reading it and who else should be exposed to it?

The article is important because it provides a succinct and straightforward tutorial to assist in the development of measures with sound psychometric properties. Although there have been improvements in some statistical analyses such as confirmatory factor analysis over the years, the process outlined in the article is as relevant today as it was when it was published over 12 years ago.

What additional research has this article led to (either your own or other’s)?

The article has been used in hundreds of doctoral seminars over the past decade and thousands of PhD students have read it. I think it has had a significant impact on the quality of measurement in the social sciences. I did a follow-up article, Hinkin, T. R., and Tracey, J. B. (1999). “An analysis of variance approach to content validation,” Organizational Research Methods, Vol. 2 (2), 175-186, that provides further refinement to the scale development process.

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