What Are They?
An ipsative item approach, often referred to as a forced-choice scale, is a measure mainly used in personality questionnaires. It is a way to assess someone’s personality traits or behavior, and is relatively safe-guarded against the problems of normative items, such as social desirability bias. Whereas a traditional personality questionnaire will ask the individual to rate their agreement to a statement on a scale of 1-5, ipsative forms give the applicant a choice of 2-4 equally positive statements, and they must give their preference or agreement to one of them. An example being to choose from: “I enjoy social events” or “I like to keep organised”. This forces the person to think more about their answer, and hopefully answer more truthfully, as there is not one obviously desirable quality to pick from.