Scales of Measurement

Scales of measurement are important to understand when performing data analysis. They determine what technique to use to analyze the data.

In particular, scale developers must be aware of how to create items that can accurately measure the continuum they are trying to capture. This involves ensuring that the responses are unipolar or bipolar and choosing the correct response format.


A ratio representing the relation of a model or figure’s dimensions to those of the actual figure or object. Also known as a scale factor, or the ratio by which an image is multiplied to achieve its correct size. Scale is used in preparing blueprints for construction of buildings. Conformal maps have an isotropic scale factor which preserves angles and maintains the shape of small elements (as shown in the right-hand diagram).

Musical scales, which differ in their interval patterns, are classified into categories including diatonic, chromatic, major, minor, etc. They are used in the composition of music, and explicit instruction in scales is part of most composers’ training. Highly developed, complex systems of scales exist in the music traditions of several cultures, particularly those of Ceylon, eastern Siberia, California Indian culture and the Muslim world. However, scales do not function uniformly in such cultural music, since they may serve only as a means of description or analysis.


Generally, a scale is a ratio that describes the relationship between the dimensions of a model or blueprint and the corresponding dimensions of a real object. For example, a scale model of a building is smaller than the actual building, but it has all of the same parts and features.

In music, a scale is a fixed sequence of musical notes that rise or descend by intervals (the distances between pitches). A specific pattern of interval relationships defines every scale. In most musical traditions, a scale may also be described as being hemitonic or cohemitonic, and the emphasis placed on certain pitches or the simultaneous (harmonic) or successive (melodic) occurrence of pitches adds to its overall characteristic sonority.

Scale is also used to refer to the number or magnitude of an event. For example, an earthquake is measured on the Richter scale. Also, someone’s paycheck is rated on the pay scale. “Scale” can also be used as a verb, meaning to grow or shrink in size.


A system of measuring or classifying in a series of steps or degrees according to some standard of relative size, amount, rank, etc. Also, a series of steps or degrees that ascends or descends according to some standard, as in a ladder or the scale of a mountain. From Middle English, Old French escalle, from Latin scala (ladder), from scala (sheep skin) or scalae (scales), from skala (plate).

Musically, a definite and standard series of tones within a range, usually an octave. It is the basis of most Western music, but there are many other interval patterns, as in the grama scale of India, the dastgah and maqam scales of Iran and the Muslim world, and a large number of non-Western cultures have their own scales.

In mapmaking, a method of transforming a three-dimensional Earth into a two-dimensional visual representation, the scaled map. The term is often used synonymously with the terms “scale factor” and “scaled image”. See also map scale, map projection.


The use of scales has been a central feature of many cultures. Examples include grama in India, dastgah in Iran, and maqam in Muslim cultures. Musically, the scale serves as a basis for melodic construction. Explicit instruction in scales has been part of compositional training for centuries. Scales are also used precompositionally to guide and limit the compositional structure of a piece, such as in the opening pages of Claude Debussy’s L’Isle Joyeuse.

The usage of scales is an ever-evolving continuum, with some being more enduring than others. To minimize the potential for drift from the intended construct, researchers should first clearly define the construct being measured and the domain within which it is to be employed. Then, they should carefully review sources to find a scale that matches the construct and domain and that has been vetted in accordance with appropriate validation guidelines. Finally, they should report the scale as fully utilized in their manuscript and include reliability results (alpha or omega) and convergent and discriminant validity in an appendix.

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What Are Measures and Metrics?

A measure is a classification unit of raw data. It is typically used to quantify some size or quantity, such as length and volume.

Metrics are a subset of measures that repackage raw data into useful-yet-easily digestible pieces. Examples include turnaround time, which measures how long it takes for a task to be completed.


Measurement is the quantification of a property to allow comparisons with other properties. It is an important part of modern science, engineering, commerce and daily life. It is also a core concept in many fields such as statistics, economics, biology, physics and mathematics.

The philosophical definition of measurement is controversial, with different views arguing over what sorts of magnitudes are measurable and how a measurement system can be defined. Despite this, most contemporary authors accept that measurement involves interacting with a real system with the aim of representing it in abstract terms.

The fundamental properties of a measure are based on the notion of a ratio. According to Euclid’s Elements, two magnitudes are comparable if they have the same ratio. This definition was extended by later mathematicians to include the notion of a countably additive set function, now known as a content (see measure theory). The most commonly used measures are those derived from the International System of Units and tied to physical constants.


A measure is a value that quantifies some aspect of reality. For example, a sales measure might be the number of items sold. This information is useful, but without context it doesn’t tell us why the number is good or bad, or what we should do about it.

A common misconception is that a measurement should tell you what to do, but that is not the purpose of measures. The purpose of measures is to provide data that you can use in achieving your business objectives.

To do this, you must identify the desired outcomes and establish targets for how to get there. You also need to set up the measures and track them over time, comparing actual results against the target. In addition, you must have a plan for dealing with any negative variances. To support these activities, a robust data model must be established with appropriate links between the various tables. This includes establishing relationships between measures and the dimensions that they depend on.


Measures and metrics are tools that can help businesses track progress toward goals and objectives. The methods used to collect and analyze these data points vary, depending on the type of information needed and the amount of resources available. Choosing the right measurement tools can make it easier for businesses to gather data and gain actionable insights.

For instance, indirect measurements involve comparing the dimensions of a target object to those of a reference object, such as gauge blocks or ring gauges. These types of measurements can be streamlined using automated software, which reduces the time and effort required for analyzing raw data.

A key aspect to consider when choosing a measurement system is its reliability and validity. Reliable systems produce accurate and consistent results under a set of conditions. Conversely, unreliable systems produce inaccurate and inconsistent results. The adequacy of a measurement system also depends on the question being asked and the steps taken to ensure its accuracy.


There are many examples of measures. The most common are numerical figures that quantify a quantity, such as length, weight or volume.

Another example of a measure is the amount of gasoline a car consumes per mile driven, which can be calculated from the vehicle’s speed and fuel economy measurements. Other examples include the price increases of goods and services, such as a pair of shoes or a home’s mortgage interest rate.

In mathematics, the concept of measure is central to the theories of algebra and geometry and has far-reaching implications in probability theory and integration theory. Mathematical theories of measurement (also known as measure theory) explore how relations exhibited by numbers can be used to express properties of sets.

When selecting metrics to track in your business, it is important to choose a few that are both accurate and aligned with your goals. It is also helpful to consider whether a metric provides you with the information you need to make a decision or change your actions.