New publication on single item scaling
The study titled “Selecting Single Items to Measure Doubly Concrete Constructs: A Cautionary Tale,” has recently been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Research. Authored by Marko Sarstedt (OvGU), Adamantios Diamantopoulos (University of Vienna), Thomas Salzberger (Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Petra Baumgartner (Home Shopping Europe GmbH), the study sheds light on the practical use of single-item measures, which have recently become more en vogue due to studies arguing in favor of their psychometric properties vis-à-vis multi-item scales. However, their effective use requires (1) expert raters to designate the focal construct as being doubly concrete, and (2) researchers to find a ‘good’ single item to represent the construct. The study examines whether expert raters identify the doubly concrete nature of constructs that prior research presents as exemplary in this respect. Furthermore, the study compares the efficacy of a broad range of selection mechanisms based on expert judgment and statistical criteria for identifying the best item in a scale. The results show that expert raters do not share the commonly held belief that researchers can validly measure constructs such as attitude toward the ad, or brand, with single items. Further analyses show that neither rater assessments, nor statistical criteria prove valuable regarding identifying an appropriate single item from a set of candidate items.