Rating scales that may be used in a questionnaire

Why rating scale is used in a questionnaire?

It is a closed ended survey question used to represent the respondents feedback in a comparative form for specific particular features/products/services. It give more information that a simple yes or no question. For instance look at the two questions about vanilla ice cream listed below:

  1. Scenario 1: Do you like vanilla ice cream – Yes/ No
  2. Scenario 2: Rate vanilla ice cream on a scale of 1-5, 1 least preferred flavour & 5 being the most preferred flavour

Here, the scenario 2 gives a range to the respondent’s preference!

Researchers use a rating scale in research when they indent to associate a qualitative measure with the various aspects of a product or feature. Generally, this scale is used to evaluate the performance of product or service, employee skills, customer service performances, processes followed for a particular goal etc.

Types of rating scales

There are two types of rating scales:

  • Ordinal scale – Ranking scale
  • Interval scale – The scale which lacks an absolute zero

Ordinal scale : This scale depicts the answer options in an ordered manner. However the difference between the two answer cannot be calculated. Parameters such as attitude, feedback are example for such scale

Interval scale: Here the scale depicts the answer option in an ordered manner as well as the difference between each answer variable is is equal & hence calculable. However, the scale lack absolute zero. The popular example for scale that lacks absolute zero is temperature scale, since zero degree celsius does not mean absence of temperature, rather it depicts the amount of coldness. The most effective types of interval scales used in research are: Likert scale, Net promoter score, bipolar matrix table

Four primary types of rating scales which can be used in an online survey

  • Graphic rating scale – Example Likert’s scale
  • Numerical rating scale – Has numbers as answer options and not each number corresponds to a characteristic or meaning. E.g. visual analog scale, semantic differential scale. (Refer scenario 2 depicted above)
  • Descriptive rating scale – Here each answer option is elaborately explained for the respondents. E.g. customer satisfaction survey.
  • Comparative rating scale – This scale expects the respondents to answer a particular question in terms of comparison.
Bhat, A. (2018, August 14). Rating Scale: Definition, Survey Question Types and Examples. QuestionPro. https://www.questionpro.com/blog/rating-scale/

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