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Bayesian methodology, equivalence, rating scales



  1. Pawlowicz, Franchesca E.
  2. Gajewski, Byron J.
  3. Coffland, Valorie
  4. Boyle, Diane K.
  5. Bott, Marjorie J.
  6. Dunton, Nancy


Background: Little is known about measuring equivalence between two rating scales. Measuring the equivalence between two rating scales requires a study design and analysis conducive to clear interpretation of actual equivalence with simple inferences.


Objective: The aim of this study was to show the use of Bayesian methodology in determining equivalence within a simulated content validity study (to establish equivalence, not content validity).


Methods: Participants were randomized into two groups and responded to the items' perceived relevance or perceived correlation to a construct, job enjoyment. Items from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators were used.


Results: Eighty-seven nursing faculty members from various schools of nursing participated. Findings revealed in all items having a posterior probability of >95% that rating scales are equivalent using an informative prior whereas using a weak or flat prior led to a minimal decrease in posterior probability results.


Discussion: Prior and new information collected from this study was used to determine a posterior probability that a mean difference (+/-0.5 points) between the relevance and correlation group exists, thereby demonstrating equivalence between two rating scales.