The problem of units and the circumstance for POMP

Patricia Cohen, Jacob Cohen, Leona Aiken, Stephen G. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

606 Scopus citations


Many areas of the behavioral sciences have few measures that are accepted as the standard for the operationalization of a construct. One consequence is that there is hardly ever an articulated and understood framework for the units of the measures that are employed. Without meaningful measurement units, theoretical formulations are limited to statements of the direction of an effect or association, or to effects expressed in standardized units. Thus the long term scientific goal of generation of laws expressing the relationships among variables in scale units is greatly hindered. This article reviews alternative methods of scoring a scale. Two recent journal volumes are surveyed with regard to current scoring practices. Alternative methods of scoring are evaluated against seven articulated criteria representing the information conveyed by each in an illustrative example. Converting scores to the percent of maximum possible score (POMP) is shown to provide useful additional information in many cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-346
Number of pages32
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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