Effect of the number of scale points on reliability: A Monte Carlo approach

Robert W. Lissitz, Samuel B. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

307 Scopus citations


Discusses the contradictions and confusion in the literature on determining the optimal number of scale points in a rating scale, and suggests a mathematical model that allows for the simulation of the rating situation. The model involves generating data with different item variance-covariance structures and with different numbers of scale points. Such data were generated and used to calculate 3 reliability measures. The effects of different numbers of scale points and different covariance structures upon these reliability measures are examined, and the results help explain a large number of empirical studies exploring the "optimal number of scale points" problem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-13
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1975


  • number of scale points, reliability of rating scale determined by mathematical model for simulation of rating situation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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