Scale Size of the Air Traffic Workload Input Technique

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Authors: Vicki Ahlstrom
Thomas Fincannon

Fincannon, T. & Ahlstrom, V. (2014). Scale Size of the Air Traffic Workload Input Technique (ATWIT): A Review of Research (DOT/FAA/TC-14/45). Atlantic City International Airport, NJ: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.


Objective: This paper uses a review of previous studies to provide a recommendation for the optimal scale size of the Air Traffic Workload Input Technique (ATWIT).

Background: The ATWIT is a measure of workload that was originally a 10-point scale, but subsequent research includes a 7-point variation of this scale. Scale size is known to impact assessment reliability, and more reliable scales produce stronger effect sizes and reduce costs that are associated with experimentation. Therefore, it is important to know whether the 7-point or 10-point version of the scale is more reliable.

Method: The authors conducted a preliminary meta-analysis of 15 studies. The analysis examined correlations between ratings using the ATWIT and aircraft count (an objective measure of difficulty) to compare effect sizes across studies with a 7-point scale and a 10-point scale.

Results: Findings indicated that the strength of the correlation between ATWIT ratings and aircraft count was greater for the 10-point version of the ATWIT than for the 7-point version. Conclusion: The 10-point scale appears to be more appropriate for the ATWIT than the 7-point scale. The authors recommend that researchers use a 10-point for the ATWIT, unless they have clear justification for deviating from this convention. The authors recommend further research to examine and control for the effects of potential confounds.