The evolution of "classical mythology" within marketing measure development

Nick J. Lee*, Graham J. Hooley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Purpose - This paper provides a deeper examination of the fundamentals of commonly-used techniques - such as coefficient alpha and factor analysis - in order to more strongly link the techniques used by marketing and social researchers to their underlying psychometric and statistical rationale. Design/methodology approach - A wide-ranging review and synthesis of psychometric and other measurement literature both within and outside the marketing field is used to illuminate and reconsider a number of misconceptions which seem to have evolved in marketing research. Findings - The research finds that marketing scholars have generally concentrated on reporting what are essentially arbitrary figures such as coefficient alpha, without fully understanding what these figures imply. It is argued that, if the link between theory and technique is not clearly understood, use of psychometric measure development tools actually runs the risk of detracting from the validity of the measures rather than enhancing it. Research limitations/implications - The focus on one stage of a particular form of measure development could be seen as rather specialised. The paper also runs the risk of increasing the amount of dogma surrounding measurement, which runs contrary to the spirit of this paper. Practical implications - This paper shows that researchers may need to spend more time interpreting measurement results. Rather than simply referring to precedence, one needs to understand the link between measurement theory and actual technique. Originality/value - This paper presents psychometric measurement and item analysis theory in easily understandable format, and offers an important set of conceptual tools for researchers in many fields. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-385
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number3-4 Sp.Iss.
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • market research
  • psychometric tests
  • statistics


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