When we seek to find out what people think, we often use questionnaires. In researching self awareness, lots of studies used questionnaires. Very few used interviews or diaries. It made me think about quantitative versus qualitative methods.

I discovered there’s a big debate in the literature about the most appropriate way to research the social sciences. If you think about it, it’s far easier to measure the weight of a rock than the weight of an opinion.

Many people think it’s inappropriate to use quantitative means to measure opinions because we can’t measure opinions like rocks.

But, we can create ordinal scales that put numbers to words and generate ranges from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

This is what many psychometric tests do to research social science subjects, like you!

Measuring outcomes has been on the radar of the public service for years. Who remembers Results Based Accountability?? One of the reasons it’s so hard to measure outcomes is because we’re measuring things that aren’t big rocks & little rocks. We’re measuring people & their experiences. And that is really difficult! We don’t have all the right, validated ordinal scales yet.

Difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, though!