The Center for Integrated Latent Variable Research (CILVR)



January 14, 2021 (Thursday)

taught by

Deborah Bandalos, James Madison University



Researchers often need to develop scales to measure attitudes, personality attributes, opinions, or other noncognitive constructs. Even though many guidelines for scale development have been offered, best practices in this area are not widely understood. This is likely due in part to the lack of clear research-based recommendations, as well as to the fact that research in the area of scale development is often contradictory. In the first part of this course I review the research on such topics as the impact of vaguely worded and of negatively worded items, the optimal length of a scale, the optimal number of scale points, whether scale points should be labeled or unlabeled, whether to include a neutral option, and how item order effects may influence responses.  I also introduce and discuss theories of response processing, and how these can inform our understanding of the effects of these scale characteristics. 

For the second part of the workshop, I provide hands-on practice in writing and revising items. We will use the joint expertise of the workshop instructors and participants to provide feedback to participants on items they are currently developing or revising. We encourage participants to bring with them items they are developing for use in this part of the workshop.


This short course is designed for researchers who want to know more about the development and use of attitude, personality, opinion, or other noncognitive scales and for those who want to know more about best practices in noncognitive scale construction. Participants will be presented with examples of optimal and non-optimal scale development practices and will be provided opportunities to practice writing and revising items. Participants are encouraged to bring items they have written or are in the process of writing to work on during the short course. During the second part of the course participants will have the opportunity to obtain feedback on these items from the course instructor and from other course participants.  


The target audience for this course is any individual with an interest in best practices in scale development. This population includes all levels of graduate students, assuming a basic knowledge of research design and statistical analysis. Researchers working within academic institutions or research agencies are the ideal audience.



  • Basic proficiency in descriptive and inferential statistics

Not required but advantageous:

  • Some item writing experience

Examples and support will be provided for SPSS, SAS, and Mplus software packages.


January 14, 2021 (Thursday)

9am-4:30pm Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)

Instructor will determine timing of lunch break, as well as morning and afternoon breaks.

  • Professional: $195      
  • Full-time student*: $95

*Full-time students must submit student status proof at for prompt processing of the registration.

Free for registered HDQM Department faculty and degree-seeking students, although you must register through the internal link. 

REFUND POLICY: Full refund if cancellation occurs at least 10 business days prior to the workshop date; 50% refund if within 10 days of the first day of the course.


One-time Registration:

For professional and full-time students* participants, please register using this link:

* After payment, full-time students must also submit the student status proof at  for prompt processing of the registration. Note that it may take 2-3 business days for your registration to be processed.


Bundle Registration:

- Participants who wish to register for multiple CILVR short courses in 2020-2021 as a bundle and obtain ONE receipt for the bundle registrations can submit the request at


HDQM Registration:

- HDQM department registrants can register using the following registration form after logging into the UMD Gmail account:


This workshop will be delivered entirely online via the video conferencing software Zoom

Within a limited time, the video recordings of the short course will be available for both synchronous and asynchronous participants on Vimeo.


Support for students from Underrepresented Groups to attend methodological workshops (from the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology):


Format: Participants will receive a personalized login code to use on their own computer to access a reliable live-stream of the short course over Zoom, showing the instructor as well as the handouts.

Materials: Participants will receive electronic copies of the short course materials, as well as any other relevant materials or information.

Timing/access: Participants may choose to watch the stream synchronously, or may elect to watch a recording of the short course asynchronously, or both. Recordings will be available to participants for 30 days following the end of the short course. This is especially useful for on-line participants in different time zones who may choose to watch at some later time than (but within two weeks of) the actual short course time. (Asynchronous participation does not include real-time chat with other on-line participants, although a visual record of prior chats will be viewable).

Technical support: Participants are responsible for installing the conferencing software Zoom on their own electronic devices and for obtaining a Zoom account that allows the participant to join Zoom meetings and webinars hosted by external organizations. Participants are assumed to be able to secure a reliable computer, internet browser, and Wi-Fi connection. Challenges at the user end must be resolved by the user. Fortunately, because the short course is recorded, users experiencing technical challenges can still “catch up” by watching the recordings to which they have access.

Content support: During the lecture, real-time content support for on-line participants is mostly limited to real-time chat with the on-line (Zoom) participant community and any quantitative methodology doctoral students who might also be participating. Participants may have direct interactions with the instructor in some format during the practice sessions. On-line participants may e-mail the instructor for further content support that cannot be addressed in real-time.


For any questions, please contact Ms. Mary Petras at


Deborah L. Bandalos, Ph.D., is Professor and Director of the Assessment and Measurement Doctoral Program in the Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University, where she teaches courses in exploratory factor analysis, measurement theory, and missing data methodologies. Her research areas include structural equation modeling and the effects of item wording changes in instrument development. Dr. Bandalos has published articles and book chapters in the areas of structural equation modeling, exploratory factor analysis, and item and scale development. She is an associate editor of Multivariate Behavioral Research and a past associate editor of Structural Equation Modeling. In addition, Dr. Bandalos serves on the editorial boards of Psychological Methods and Applied Measurement in Education, is on the Executive Committee of Division 5 (Quantitative and Qualitative Methods) of the American Psychological Association, and has been elected 2019 President of the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology. Dr. Bandalos may be reached at