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What is a Likert Scale? Your Questions Answered Plus Free Examples

What are Likert-Type Scale Responses

 

From the “two thumbs” system popularized by Roger Ebert to the 1-5 star system used by companies from AAA to Zagat, we’re all familiar with many different rating scales. These scales are often used to let the public know the quality of something; two thumbs up means a movie may be worth your time, while 1 star means you should probably steer clear of that restaurant offering so-called fine dining. But what about when you want to get the public’s opinion on something, rather than give your own? This is where the Likert scale comes into play.

What is a Likert Scale?

While it’s easy to remember the survey name “likert” because it’s often used as a measurement of how much someone “liked” something, it’s actually named after American social scientist Rensis Likert, who devised the psychometric approach in 1932 for conducting social and educational research. It’s been around ever since—and today Likert-type scales are considered some of the best survey tools for researching popular opinions, whether it’s in the form of a customer satisfaction survey or a marketing research survey.

In a Likert scale, a person selects one statement among several that reflects their perceived quality of a product, service, or other item. The most effective Likert rating scales generally consist of 5-7 balanced responses that people can choose from, often with a neutral midpoint. It’s very common for companies to use Likert scales when they want to evaluate a customer’s level of satisfaction during a recent experience.

Later on, you’ll see many examples of Likert survey scales that you can use to craft your own. But, just so we’re on the same page from here on out, here’s a typical question using a 5-point Likert scale:

SurveyLegend provides quality support to its customers:

1–Strongly Disagree
2–Somewhat Disagree
3–Neither Agree Nor Disagree
4–Somewhat Agree
5–Strongly Agree

Hint: The correct answer is 5…at least that’s what our customers are saying!

Why is a Likert Scale Important?

Unlike some types of surveys, Likert rating scale questions use a universal method of collecting data, so the results can be easily understood. Responses on a Likert scale give quantitative value to qualitative data, making it easy for researchers to draw conclusions and then create reports and graphs for further analysis.

In addition, because questions using the Likert method follow a scale, respondents don’t have to answer yes or no, or either-or; instead, they can choose to be neutral.

Finally, Likert scale questions eliminate the need to ask people open-ended or fill-in-the-blank questions which are more difficult to analyze because the answers haven’t been configured in advance.

What’s the Difference Between 5-Point and 7-Point Likert Scales?

Most researchers agree that the best Likert scales are the 5-point and 7-point varieties. This simply refers to how many responses the person has to choose from. Most Likert scales are going to be odd-numbered, with an equal number of positive and negative responses on either side of a neutral response. There are exceptions, though; some Likert scales will simply go from “poor” to “excellent” as you’ll see in one of our examples below.

So why are 5-point and 7-point Likert scales considered ideal? Well, if you offer less than five options, online survey takers may be limited in their responses, resorting to picking the “most” applicable answer. This deprives you of their true opinion. On the other hand, if you go above seven, respondents may feel overwhelmed or annoyed and just pick a random answer to move along quickly.

Modern Likert Scale question, designed for mobile surveys.


Are Likert Scales Ordinal or Interval?

That all depends on who you ask! While almost everyone agrees that the Likert rating scale provides ordinal data, the argument over whether it also provides interval data rages on. You can see this first-hand on this ResearchGate forum, where us survey geeks and other researchers have been arguing over it since 2014!

Here’s how we think it shakes out: Likert survey scales provide ordinal data, as the results have natural, ordered categories representing someone’s preferences, i.e., we know that a 4 is better than a 3. However, because we don’t know exactly what constitutes a 3 versus a 4 in someone’s mind, it’s not interval data. 

That said, when a survey has enough questions, many researchers use the data to come up with reliable averages, which means at the very least, likert scales “approach” the definition of interval data. We think Dr. David L. Morgan from the Portland State University’s Sociology Department summed up the interval nature of Likert scales in the forum when he stated, “The key point here is to use multiple items, where any one of them may be too weak to provide an adequate measure, but the combination of them is much stronger.”

Ultimately, of course, it’s up to you how you want to use your Likert scale data!

Any Tips for Creating a Likert Scale?

Once you see our Likert scale examples, you’ll have a better idea of how to create them and how to write survey questions. But first, there are five important things to remember:

Ask multiple questions

It’s often not enough to ask one general question about a particular topic, opinion, or experience, as it won’t be enough to give you the full picture. Asking multiple questions remedies this, taking into consideration all of the factors that could have contributed to this response.

Avoid using different scales

Mixing different scales within your surveys can cause respondent confusion. Bonus: Using only one scale will also make your final analysis that much easier.

Label the numeric responses

Do not simply attach a number to possible responses. Always include wording on your scale question, otherwise online survey takers may confuse which numbers are positive and which are negative, skewing your results.

Create unbiased responses

For best results, stay away from survey questions that may lead people to answer a certain way or force them to choose between extremes as it can skew your results.

Keep it simple

Creating a survey doesn’t need to be complicated; in fact, the best survey questions are concise and to-the-point. Long, complex questions tend to lose readers or test their patience, and inadvertently asking two questions in one can leave respondents unsure of how to answer.

Have Any Likert Scale Examples or Templates?

Below are a number of Likert scale examples for consideration or inspiration when designing your next professional online survey or online poll. Please note that the numbers in the answers indicate the relative position of items, but not the magnitude of difference. You do not have to include numbers in your survey questions if you prefer not to.

Comparing 2 Products

1 – Much worse
2 – Somewhat worse
3 – About the same
4 – Somewhat better
5 – Much better

Quality

1 – Poor
2 – Fair
3 – Good
4 – Very good
5 – Excellent

Support / Opposition

1 – Strongly oppose
2 – Somewhat oppose
3 – Neutral
4 – Somewhat favour
5 – Strongly favour

Barriers

1 – Not a barrier
2 – Somewhat of a barrier
3 – Moderate barrier
4 – Extreme barrier

Likelihood

1 – Extremely unlikely
2 – Unlikely
3 – Neutral
4 – Likely
5 – Extremely likely

Good / Bad

1 – Very negative
2 – Negative
3 – Neutral
4 – Positive
5 – Very positive

Reflect Me

1 – Very untrue of me
2 – Untrue of me
3 – Somewhat untrue of me
4 – Neutral
5 – Somewhat true of me
6 – True of me
7 – Very true of me

My beliefs

1 – Very untrue of what I believe
2 – Untrue of what I believe
3 – Somewhat untrue of what I believe
4 – Neutral
5 – Somewhat true of what I believe
6 – True of what I believe
7 – Very true of what I believe

Level of Familiarity

1 – Not at all familiar
2 – Slightly familiar
3 – Somewhat familiar
4 – Moderately familiar
5 – Extremely familiar

Level of Awareness

1 – Not at all aware
2 – Slightly aware
3 – Somewhat aware
4 – Moderately aware
5 – Extremely aware

Knowledge of Action

1 – Never true
2 – Rarely true
3 – Sometimes but infrequently true
4 – Neutral
5 – Sometimes true
6 – Usually true
7 – Always true

Affect on …

1 – No affect
2 – Minor affect
3 – Neutral
4 – Moderate affect
5 – Major affect

Level of Acceptability

1 – Totally unacceptable
2 – Unacceptable
3 – Slightly unacceptable
4 – Neutral
5 – Slightly acceptable
6 – Acceptable
7 – Perfectly Acceptable

Level of Appropriateness

1 – Absolutely inappropriate
2 – Inappropriate
3 – Slightly inappropriate
4 – Neutral
5 – Slightly appropriate
6 – Appropriate
7 – Absolutely appropriate

Level of Importance

1 – Not at all important
2 – Low importance
3 – Slightly important
4 – Neutral
5 – Moderately important
6 – Very important
7 – Extremely important

Level of Concern

1 – Not at all concerned
2 – Slightly concerned
3 – Somewhat concerned
4 – Moderately concerned
5 – Extremely concerned

Level of Difficulty

1 – Very difficult
2 – Difficult
3 – Neutral
4 – Easy
5 – Very easy

Level of Influence

1 – Not at all influential
2 – Slightly influential
3 – Somewhat influential
4 – Moderately influential
5 – Extremely influential

Level of Probability

1 – Not probable
2 – Somewhat improbable
3 – Neutral
4 – Somewhat probable
5 – Very probable

Overall Impression

1 – Didn’t get what I wanted
2 – Got a little of what I wanted
3 – Somewhat got what I wanted
4 – Got a lot of what I wanted
5 – Got everything I wanted

Level of Agreement

1 – Strongly disagree
2 – Disagree
3 – Somewhat disagree
4 – Neither agree or disagree
5 – Somewhat agree
6 – Agree
7 – Strongly agree

Level of Agreement

1 – Strongly disagree
2 – Disagree
3 – Neither agree or disagree
4 – Agree
5 – Strongly agree

Level of Satisfaction

1 – Completely dissatisfied
2 – Mostly dissatisfied
3 – Somewhat dissatisfied
4 – Neither satisfied or dissatisfied
5 – Somewhat satisfied
6 – Mostly satisfied
7 – Completely satisfied

Level of Satisfaction

1 – Not at all satisfied
2 – Slightly satisfied
3 – Unsure
4 – Very satisfied
5 – Extremely satisfied

Frequency

1 – Never
2 – Rarely, in less than 10% of the chances when I could have
3 – Occasionally, in about 30% of the chances when I could have
4 – Sometimes, in about 50% of the chances when I could have
5 – Frequently, in about 70% of the chances when I could have
5 – Usually, in about 90% of the chances I could have
5 – Every time

Frequency

1 – Never
2 – Rarely
3 – Occasionally / Sometimes
4 – Often
5 – Always
Want to see a 5-point Likert survey in action? Check out one of our student survey Likert scale templates here. It’s just one of many types of surveys we have available for our customers.

Need to Know More?

There is much more to know and consider when using Likert scale questions in your surveys. Check out our guide to learn more about Likert scale questions and how to use and analyze their data.

Learn more about Likert Scale questions…

SurveyLegend offers the best online survey software, with countless survey samples and templates. We let you easily create Likert scale questions that are responsive, beautifully adjusting even to the small mobile phone screens. You literally have an unlimited number of Likert scale options and response choices, and can even add imagery to your Likert scale questions. 

Learn to how make Likert Scale questions.

More help Need to know more?

There are many professional things you need to know and consider, when using Likert Scale questions in your surveys. Have a look at the following guide, to read more about Likert Scale questions, and learn how to use and analyse their data.

Learn more about Likert Scale questions…
With SurveyLegend, you easily can make Likert Scale questions which are responsive and can beautifully adjust even to small screen of mobile phones. You can have literally unlimited number of response choices, and even add pictures to your Likert Scale questions. Have a look at our user guide, and learn more about all your legendary powers ; )

Learn to make Likert Scale questions…

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