Using the data contributed by about 125,000 visitors to this website, we have developed a hierarchical framework for assessing personality at two levels. The higher level has the familiar five factors that have been studied extensively in personality research since the 1980s — Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Openness, and Extraversion. The lower level has 27 factors that are considerably more narrow. These were derived based on administrations of about 700 public-domain IPIP items to 3 large samples. I describe these scales as being "empirically-derived" because relatively little theory was used to select the number of factors in the hierarchy and the items in the scale for each factor (to be clear, I mean relatively little
If you'd like to use the SAPA Personality Inventory (SPI) for data collection, the links below will take you directly to the forms of various lengths. Each form includes scoring instructions and internal consistencies for the scales (using the development samples). If you don't know which form is most appropriate for your needs, I have created two resources that may be helpful: (1) a one-pager that gives a brief description of each, and (2) a more detailed decision-tree guide.
Here are PDF versions of the many available forms:
*** I recommend these.
More technology-friendly formats are also available! If you would like to administer the scales in Qualtrics, the forms below can be directly uploaded into an existing survey or used to create a new one. To make this work, just download the linked "qsf" file and then upload it directly in Qualtrics (see here for more info).
We're working on making these forms available in the public REDCap and developing a new method that will allow researchers to collect SPI data directly through this website (sapa-project.org) — participant scores will be automatically calculated using IRT-based methods (this is already in place) and researchers will be able to download de-identified responses from their participants through a secure API (I'm working on it...).
Development of the SPI remains an ongoing project. While I hope that the progress to date is, at least, an incremental improvement over previously developed measures, we still have a long way to go. In this spirit, we have already "started over" with new data collection that will make use of the same sampling methods and analytic procedures but with a larger sample of items — this time we're using all of the items we can get our hands on from several domains of individual differences (nearly 6,000 items in total covering many aspects of temperament, cognitive abilities, interests, and values). We're also working to account for data collection methods beyond self-report survey items, including data from observer-reports, social media feeds, and abbreviated life-narrative prompts.
The (very large) scope of this project offers many opportunities for collaboration — please don't hesitate to contact me if you're interested. I also hope that you will consider being a participant in the survey and sharing it with others who may be interested.