SPSS

Topics: Likert scale, Psychometrics, Controversy Pages: 4 (1194 words) Published: October 2, 2013
NEGATIVELY-KEYED ITEMS AND REVERSE-SCORING

Many psychological questionnaires include a mixture of “positively-keyed” and “negatively-keyed” items, and this needs to be addressed before computing the scores on the questionnaires and before conducting any analyses. This handout describes the distinction between positively-keyed items and negatively-keyed items, it describes the logic of reverse-scoring, and it outlines SPSS steps to reverse-score negatively keyed items.

Positively-keyed items and negatively-keyed items

Positively-keyed items are items that are phrased so that an agreement with the item represents a relatively high level of the attribute being measured. For example, a self-esteem questionnaire might include an item such as “I like myself”, which is rated on a 5-point likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly Agree). This item is positively-keyed, because an Agreement or Strong Agreement with the item indicates a relatively high level of self-esteem (at least as compared to a Disagreement with the item).

Negatively-keyed items are items that are phrased so that an agreement with the item represents a relatively low level of the attribute being measured. For example, a self-esteem questionnaire might include an item such as “I dislike myself”, rated on the same 5-point scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly Agree). This item is negatively-keyed, because an Agreement or Strong Agreement with the item indicates a relatively low level of self-esteem (at least as compared to a Disagreement with the item).

Reverse-scoring negatively-keyed items

If a questionnaire includes positively-keyed and negatively-keyed items, then the negatively-keyed items must be “reverse-scored” before computing individuals’ total scores and before conducting many psychometric analyses (e.g., reliability analysis). We do this so that high scores on the...
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