To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Measurement in the social sciences: where C-OAR-SE delivers and where it does not

Thomas Salzberger (Marketing Department, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria)
Marko Sarstedt (Department of Marketing, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany and University of Newcastle, Australia)
Adamantios Diamantopoulos (Business Administration Department, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 14 November 2016




This paper aims to critically comment Rossiter’s “How to use C-OAR-SE to design optimal standard measures” in the current issue of EJM and provides a broader perspective on Rossiter’s C-OAR-SE framework and measurement practice in marketing in general.


The paper is conceptual, based on interpretation of measurement theory.


The paper shows that, at best, Rossiter’s mathematical dismissal of convergent validity applies to the completely hypothetical (and highly unlikely) situation where a perfect measure without any error would be available. Further considerations cast serious doubt on the appropriateness of Rossiter’s concrete object, dual subattribute-based single item measures. Being immunized against any piece of empirical evidence, C-OAR-SE cannot be considered a scientific theory and is bound to perpetuate, if not aggravate, the fundamental flaws in current measurement practice. While C-OAR-SE indeed helps generate more content valid instruments, the procedure offers no insights as to whether these instruments work properly to be used in research and practice.

Practical implications

This paper concludes that great caution needs to be exercised before adapting measurement instruments based on the C-OAR-SE procedure, and statistical evidence remains essential for validity assessment.


This paper identifies several serious conceptual and operational problems in Rossiter’s C-OAR-SE procedure and discusses how to align measurement in the social sciences to be compatible with the definition of measurement in the physical sciences.



Salzberger, T., Sarstedt, M. and Diamantopoulos, A. (2016), "Measurement in the social sciences: where C-OAR-SE delivers and where it does not", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 50 No. 11, pp. 1942-1952.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles