Likert scale & surveys – best practices – 2
i’ve written previously about the Likert scale and surveys – and received literally 100s of enquiries about it. A reader has now pointed me towards this excellent article on survey questions and Likert scales that adds some interesting points to the discussion.
From my previous post, I listed the following best practices on using the Likert Scale in survey questions:
- More than seven points on a scale are too much.
- Numbered scales are difficult for people
- Labelled scales need to be as accurate as possible
And here are some further points to add drawn from this article:
- Be careful with the choice of words for labels:
“Occasionally” has been found to be very different than “seldom” but relatively close in meaning to “sometimes” (quote from article)
- Include a “don’t know” if for a point where people may simply not have an opinion:
“Providing a “don’t know” choice significantly reduced the number of meaningless responses.”
- People will respond more often to those items on the left hand side of the scale:
“There is evidence of a bias towards the left side of the scale”
On that last point, I always write my scales left to right – bad to good… This means that people may tend to select more easily the “bad” ratings. I haven’t found that to be the case (respondents often seem to be over-positive in their ratings I feel), but I stand corrected…