You are here

Expedited access to textbooks and digital content

Instructors: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in support of your transition to online learning, requests for complimentary review copies of our textbooks will be fulfilled through our eBooks partner, VitalSource. By providing you with a digital review copy of the requested textbook(s), we can ensure you have expedited access to our content. If you require special assistance, please contact us at (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or at

Scale Development

Scale Development
Theory and Applications

Fourth Edition

April 2016 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
In the Fourth Edition of Scale Development, Robert F. DeVellis demystifies measurement by emphasizing a logical rather than strictly mathematical understanding of concepts. The text supports readers in comprehending newer approaches to measurement, comparing them to classical approaches, and grasping more clearly the relative merits of each. This edition addresses new topics pertinent to modern measurement approaches and includes additional exercises and topics for class discussion.

Available with
 Perusall—an eBook that makes it easier to prepare for class
Perusall is an award-winning eBook platform featuring social annotation tools that allow students and instructors to collaboratively mark up and discuss their SAGE textbook. Backed by research and supported by technological innovations developed at Harvard University, this process of learning through collaborative annotation keeps your students engaged and makes teaching easier and more effective. Learn more.

1. Overview
General Perspectives on Measurement

Historical Origins of Measurement in Social Science

Later Developments in Measurement

The Role of Measurement in the Social Sciences

Summary and Preview


2. Understanding the Latent Variable
Constructs versus Measures

Latent Variable as the Presumed Cause of Item Values

Path Diagrams

Further Elaboration of the Measurement Model

Parallel Tests

Alternative Models



3. Reliability
Methods Based on the Analysis of Variance

Continuous versus Dichotomous Items

Internal Consistency

Reliability Based on Correlations Between Scale Scores

Reliability and Statistical Power

Generalizability Theory




4. Validity
Content Validity

Criterion-Related Validity

Construct Validity


5. Guidelines in Scale Development
Step 1: Determine Clearly What it is You Want to Measure

Step 2: Generate an Item Pool

Step 3: Determine the Format for Measurement

Step 4: Have Initial Item Pool Reviewed by Experts

Step 5: Consider Inclusion of Validation Items

Step 6: Administer Items to a Development Sample

Step 7: Evaluate the Items

Step 8: Optimize Scale Length



6. Factor Analysis
Overview of Factor Analysis

Conceptual Description of Factor Analysis

Bifactor and Hierarchical Factor Models

Interpreting Factors

Principle Components versus Common Factors

Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Using Factor Analysis in Scale Development

Sample Size



7. An Overview of Item Response Theory
Item Difficulty

Item Discrimination

Guessing, or False Positives

Item-Characteristic Curves

IRT Applied to Multiresponse Items



8. Measurement in the Broader Research Context
Before Scale Development

After Scale Administration

Final Thoughts



“This is the foremost text on scale development for both the experienced and novice researcher alike.”

Richard Conti
Kean University

“The Fourth Edition captures the recent development in measurement (e.g., alternatives to Alpha, bifactor model, hierarchical factor model, and available tools in R) by explaining concepts using accessible languages and examples.”

Shuyan Sun
University of Maryland

“The Fourth Edition of Scale Development incorporates practical examples and exercises to aid in student learning and understanding the fundamentals of measurement. The text continues to be a go-to resource for scholars and students alike.” 

Stephen W. Dittmore
University of Arkansas


“The key strength of this text is its ability to present the basic and necessary background on scale construction and measurement for the subsequent material, either in the context of the same first-year graduate course or in future courses during a masters and PhD program.”

René Bautista
University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“This book does an excellent job in explaining complicated topics in test construction at a level that students can understand. The use of specific examples that demonstrate key points is very effective.”

Jonathan Feldman, Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University
Key features


  • Coverage of new and advanced topics includes limitations of and alternatives to coefficient alpha, alternative factor analytic approaches (e.g., bifactor model) that may help in achieving unidimensionality for complex sets of items, an overview of coefficient omega, as well as strategies for offering readers a more comprehensive view of content validity.
  • Exercises for self-assessment and class discussion have been added throughout, allowing students to identify knowledge gaps, actively learn the material through engagement, and ultimately better retain what they learn.
  • Expanded material on the history of measurement includes a discussion of the classification of mental disorders.
  • More in-depth examination of construct validity with emphasis on the importance of defining and operationalizing variables allows readers to establish real working knowledge at an appropriate level of specificity for the intended research.
  • Additional content on Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) and its relationship to item response theory gives readers a well-rounded grasp on this commonly utilized methodology.
  • Thorough discussion of mechanisms actively guides students’ comprehension of the nature of the causal relationship between an underlying variable and a measure designed to assess it.


  • Analogies, figures, and examples present complex material conceptually and aid in overall comprehension.
  • Practical guidance for developing new scales allows readers with little prior knowledge to follow a series of guided steps toward the conceptualization, development, and evaluation of a new measurement instrument.
  • Topic discussions structured to maximize continuity build on more basic material to focus on conceptual understanding rather than computational mastery. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 6

Preview this book

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental