What Do Interest Inventories Measure?

The study investigates the construct validity of four major interest inventories yielding highly correlated RIASEC scores but different high-point codes.

  • What Do Interest Inventories Measure? The Convergence and Content Validity of Four RIASEC Inventories
  • Published April 11, 2022
  • Author List: Jonathan Phan, Chu Chu, Mary T. Russell, Kevin A. Hoff, James Rounds
  • DOI LINK 10690727221081554

Despite the widespread use of RIASEC interest inventories, little is known about whether these inventories actually measure the same core constructs and provide similar career recommendations to individuals. This study investigates the construct validity among four major interest inventories—the Self-Directed Search (SDS), O*NET Interest Profiler (IP), ACT Interest Inventory (UNIACT), and Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Results showed that RIASEC interest scores from the four inventories were highly correlated, but the measures often gave respondents different high-point codes. Item content analysis revealed that the basic interests reflected in each RIASEC scale both overlapped and diverged across inventories, providing an explanation for why RIASEC inventories are not interchangeable. We integrate findings across our analyses to offer cautionary notes for choosing among established RIASEC inventories and interpreting interest results. Furthermore, we also provide recommendations for constructing the next generation of basic interest inventories.