In a methodological study recently published in this journal (No. 3, Vol. 51, 1999: 550–564), Klein and Arzheimer compared two competing methods for the measurement of personal value orientations, namely, rating and ranking. Focussing on postmaterialist value orientations, they concluded that ratings are superior. In this article, it is argued that this conclusion is based on a misleading interpretation of findings and a questionable research design. In particular, the authors do not address the validity of the two measurement methods, implicitly assuming that they both capture the same cognitive dimension. Since it is unclear whether or not this assumption holds, a broader research approach is suggested here, which allows assessment of both the validity and the reliability of the competing methods. Given the lack of empirical evidence regarding these points, theoretical considerations, briefly outlined in the last section, are crucial for the selection of an appropriate measurement strategy.

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