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Asking questions, analysing answers: relative importance revisited

Gary D. Holt (The Grenfell-Baines School of Architecture, Construction and Environment, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK AND Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 6 January 2014




Construction management research (CMR) surveys frequently use questionnaires that employ “Likert-type” items, Likert-items, and Likert scales to capture respondents ' self-reported attitudes. This Editorial builds substantially on earlier observations by Holt regarding the significance of appropriate questionnaire response scale design and, use of the relative importance index (RII) method to analyse those data such scales yield. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Several RII models are examined by their application to a data set. Objectives include to contrast their practicality in use, compare outputs, highlight limitations of some models and discuss methods of RII data analysis, interrogation and interpretation.


Principal messages are: all components of response scales should be carefully designed; alternative RII models can produce similar results of analysis; “simple percentage” RII models may not yield “real” percentages; the minimum rating scale integer should accurately reflect its descriptor; only rating scales offering a “0” response, or an “adjusted percentage” RII model can achieve unity; and RII outputs should be interpreted cautiously.

Research limitations/implications

Uncertain application of the RII has been observed within CMR literature, so implications of the Editorial will be of direct relevance to this research community (and beyond).


Aside from that cited above, no additional literature has been identified that specifically links RII usage to CMR.



Holt, G.D. (2014), "Asking questions, analysing answers: relative importance revisited", Construction Innovation, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 2-16.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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