Personality Questionnaires - Versions

» Ipsative and normative questionnaires

Ipsative derives from Latin, and means of the self. It refers to a type of psychological questionnaire in which respondents compare two or more desirable options (three in the case of FindingPotential Personality Ipsative) and pick the one which is most preferred (often called a forced choice scale). This contrasts with normative measures that use “Likert” scales, in which respondents choose the score (e.g. 1 to 5) which best represents the degree to which they agree with a given statement.

While mean scores from normative questionnaires can be compared across individuals, scores from an ipsative measure cannot.

In our ipsative version, individuals choose which of three statements is most like them and which of the three is least like them. This means that a constant number of points are distributed between the different scales. The resulting profile indicates the individual's preferred ways of behaving, with each trait having relative (not absolute) meaning. Comparisons cannot be made with another individual's score. Comparisons can only be made among the scales within an individual. Thus the meaning of ipsative: comparison with the self.

Ipsative tests make sense in a development programme where you want to see relative strengths and weaknesses, or change over time. They should not be used in a selection situation to make direct comparisons between individuals, although they often are. However, ipsative questionnaires are often used in selection for their ability to minimise faking. However, the FindingPotential Personality normative version has a social desirability scale to balance this.

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