The Likert (scale) conundrum

The Likert (scale) conundrum

The Likert scale is likely one of the most frequently used scales in survey design because of its affordances as a very flexible and relatively reliable measure in many contexts and across disciplines. Needless to say, there is also plenty of criticism that might warrant a separate post at a later time. Instead, in this very brief post, I want to tackle a question my students ask me over and over again:

“Daniel, how come you pronounce ‘Likert’ as `lick-ert` while some others say ‘lai-kert’?”

Admittedly, both versions enjoy relative frequent use in academia, but technically only one of these is correct. Rensis Likert, the inventor of the Likert scale, is pronounced as /ˈlɪkərt/ while you will likely hear people referring to their multi-item measurement scales as /ˈlaɪkərt/ scales.

With so many languages available in the world, it is impossible to expect that everyone knows how to pronounce the last name of a person. Most likely, everyone gives it its own twist due to dialects. Still, it feels essential to preserve the original pronunciation rather than leaving students and colleagues confused. Therefore, I hope this little tidbit was illuminating.

Until next time, remember to read, research, write and repeat.