A number of methodological issues have been
raised regarding the semantic differential technique.
This study re-examined several key problems,
particularly the assumed bipolarity of scales,
instructions regarding use of the midpoint, and
concept-scale interaction, all of which may contribute
to a lack of precision in the technique. In
addition, this study utilized an analysis of variance
model to partition variance in semantic differential
ratings. Forty subjects responded to one of four instruments
on two occasions. Instruments differed in
terms of polarity type (bipolar or unipolar) and
presence or absence of an irrelevance option.
Twenty-four concepts uniformly distributed
throughout semantic space were judged on either 15
or 30 scales. Results indicated that the Evaluation-
Potency-Activity (EPA) structure was both robust
and reliable. However, several features of the data
argued for caution in the use of the semantic differential
technique. Both the Concept x Scale interaction
and the Scale x Concept x Person interaction
accounted for substantial proportions of variance in
semantic differential ratings. Suggestions were offered
to minimize such effects.
Mann, Irene T, Phillips, James L & Thompson, Eileen G. (1979). An examination of methodological issues relevant to the use and interpretation of the semantic differential. Applied Psychological Measurement, 3, 213-229. doi:10.1177/014662167900300211
Mann, Irene T.; Phillips, James L.; Thompson, Eileen G..
An examination of methodological issues relevant to the use and interpretation of the semantic differential.
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