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Finding the Unicorn: Evidence-Based Best Practices for Improving Quantitative Measures

Zachary David Miller


Normally distributed data are important for a variety of statistical procedures. However, social science data are plagued by non-normal distributions. Park and recreation research is no exception. This article provides a variety of evidence-based practices that can help reduce non-normality in quantitative measures. These practices include: 1) increasing the number of scale points, with 7-point scales preferred, 2) packing the scale, and 3) using extreme end anchors. Throughout the article, examples are provided to assure proper application and to note limitations with the suggested techniques. From this paper, researchers should be able to better detect meaningful differences among their populations of interest by increasing variances, reducing skewness, and achieving more normal distributions.

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Likert scales; measurement; quantitative research

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