Likert is Pronounced "LICK-urt" not "LIE-kurt" and the Data are Ordinal not Interval

Patty Kero, Daniel Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Likert-type scales are popular in educational research and often times analyzed using parametric tests. Implied in this kind of study is a general assumption that these data are interval in nature. The authors contend that this is an incorrect supposition as Likert type data are actually ordinal, hence any analysis should be restricted to non-parametric investigations. Such confusion is understandable as Likert-type responses are assigned numbers signifying varying degrees of agreement with respect to behaviors or attitudes giving rise to a certain quantitative air to these data. Such responses are qualitative with meaning limited specifically to the choices available to the respondent; no more and no less. The mode is the preferable measure of central tendency instead of the mean or standard deviation. Non-parametric analysis ensures future researchers do not mistakenly infer their results are replicable beyond that of their sample. Regrettably, Likert scales simply cannot meet this standard of reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Measurement
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


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