Ivan Vasilev

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A good Likert scale, as above, will present a symmetry of categories about a midpoint with clearly defined linguistic qualifiers. In such symmetric scaling, equidistant attributes will typically be more clearly observed or, at least, inferred. It is when a Likert scale is symmetric and equidistant that it will behave more like an interval-level measurement. So while a Likert scale is indeed ordinal, if well presented it may nevertheless approximate an interval-level measurement. This can be beneficial since, if it was treated just as an ordinal scale, then some valuable information could be lost if the ‘distance’ between Likert items were not available for consideration. The important idea here is that the appropriate type of analysis is dependent on how the Likert scale has been presented.

Notions of central tendency are often applicable at the item level – that is responses often show a quasi-normal distribution. The validity of such measures depends on the underlying interval nature of the scale. If interval nature is assumed for a comparison of two groups, the paired samples t-test is not inappropriate.[4] If non-parametric tests are to be performed the Pratt (1959)[15] modification to the Wilcoxon signed-rank test is recommended over the standard Wilcoxon signed-rank test.[4]