Research Basics: Design to Data Analysis in Six Steps offers a fresh and creative approach to the research process based on author James V. Spickard’s decades of teaching experience. Using an intuitive six–step model, readers learn how to craft a research question and then identify a logical process for answering it. Conversational writing and multi–disciplinary examples illuminate the model’s simplicity and power, effectively connecting the “hows” and “whys” behind social science research. Students using this book will learn how to turn their research questions into results.

Scales: Looking for Underlying Traits

Type of Data


Personal and psychological traits

Data Collection Method

Psychological scales and their kin


Chapter 8 focused on social surveys as a way of asking people about things they already know. These include their personal opinions and attitudes, their demographic and political identities, and their reports about what they have done or seen. This chapter focuses on a different kind of survey—scales that collect information about people’s personal and psychological traits. Unlike opinion surveys, these scales probe beneath the surface, while still asking easy-to-answer questions. They use the answers to measure internal factors that shape people’s lives.

These deep characteristics are different from the deeply held opinions and attitudes and the reflections on experiences that we explored in Chapter 9. To put it ...

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