Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Technology

## Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

# What Is Multidimensional Scaling?

By
Updated: May 17, 2024
Views: 13,159

Multidimensional scaling is a method used to create comparisons between things that are difficult to compare. The end result of this process is generally a two-dimensional chart that shows a level of similarity between various items, all relative to one another. For example, a researcher may give test subjects several varieties of apple and have them make comparisons on several criteria between two apples at a time. Once all the apples are directly compared to each other variety, the data is plotted on a graph that shows how similar one type is to another.

The two components of multidimensional scaling are right in the name, multidimensional testing and scaled response. Both of these concepts are very simple — it is just the analysis at the end that makes this process complex. Multidimensional testing simply means that many factors of the test item are examined at the same time. In the apple example, things such as color, level of sweetness or tartness or even how firm the fruit is may be discussed.

Scaled response of multidimensional scaling refers to the method used to compare the factors. This is generally a five- or seven-point scale that ranges from not alike at all to identical. This allows the test subjects to interpret the questions and give answers based on their feelings rather and concerning themselves with right and wrong. This also has the added benefit of creating a numerical result, one through five or seven, which researchers may use to mathematically manipulate the data.

These sorts of studies have both a minimum and maximum for comparison. If there are too few comparisons or compared items, the data may show artificial similarities where none are present. When there are too many, the comparison systems become so overloaded with information that the result is typically inconclusive. Generally, between four and eight comparisons are made between four and 12 items.

In a multidimensional scaling experiment, the subjects look at two items at a time. They make comparisons between these items alone, not considering any other stage of the test. Eventually, the subjects will compare every item against every other item, all in groups of two. For instance, the comparison may be between the sweetness of apple one and apple two. The similarity between the sweetness of the two fruits is assessed on the point scale and the subject moves on to the next question.

After the data is collected, a program that assesses the multidimensional scaling experiment’s results performs a complex statistical analysis on the information. First, the comparisons on similar factors, such as color, are compared to one another in absence of all others. Then the comparisons of a single item are compared, in the absence of all others, and both are weighted. These results are then aggregated into a final tally that shows a numerical similarity between multiple dissimilar objects.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
By M. McGee
Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences. With a background in communication-related fields, he brings strong organizational and interpersonal skills to his writing, ensuring that his work is both informative and engaging.