Semantic Differential Scaling

Pioneered by Charles Osgood in 1952, semantic differential scales are a popular technique for measuring people’s attitudes toward nearly anything. Semantic differential scales use a standardized set of bipolar adjectives (see Figure 1) on which research participants rate an issue or object. This simple procedure confers a variety of benefits, both for researchers and study participants.

Through a series of statistical analyses, Osgood identified three recurring, stable dimensions on which people can judge nearly anything (see Table 1): (a) evaluative, focused on the value of the object (e.g., good/bad); (2) potency or power of an object (e.g., strong/weak); and (3) activity or movement of an object (e.g., slow/fast). To use a semantic differential scale, research participants respond to several bipolar adjectives designed to measure each dimension ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles