The Questionnaire Construction of Personality: Pragmatics of Personality Assessment
OVERVIEW I view personality questionnaires as a means to communicate about personality. From this perspective, a number of recommendations are listed for state-of-the art personality assessment. Item formulations should avoid denials, conditionals (specifically, counterfactuals), adjectival phrasings (especially if they result in paradoxes), and conspirational language. The questionnaire should not contain repetitive items, stylistic variation, and flippant instructions to the assessor. Averaging over multiple raters is a condition for proper assessments. With respect to the scoring and reporting of results, the use of principal component analysis, correction for acquiescence, anchored scores, and natural confidence intervals are recommended. In discussing applications, I argue that the use of personality questionnaires in institutional settings is problematic, but in individual settings self-management is served by designs attending to personality-environment fit.