Measurement scales are the types of information provided by numbers. The numbers used with each scale (i.e., nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) have unique meanings. Ratio scales are the most precise and possess characteristics of the other scales; interval scales possess characteristics of ordinal and nominal scales; ordinal scales possess characteristics of nominal scales; nominal scales are the least precise and provide the least information. Knowing which scale applies in a particular situation is necessary to accurately interpret numbers assigned to people, objects, or events. Ignorance of scales’ distinguishing characteristics can lead to improper treatment of the numbers (e.g., computing incorrect statistics) and inappropriate actions toward and decisions about people. Examples of how industrial and organizational psychologists may assign numbers using the various scales are ...

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