Likert scale – left or right?
I’ve written previously about the Likert scale and using it in surveys. On one point, I discussed whether the response options should be displayed positive to negative or negative to positive – the image below is negative (‘strongly disagree’) to positive (‘strongly agree’).
I’ve recently come across two articles (listed below) where they have researched this issue – and they have found that the place of the response option does matter. In summary, they found that the items placed on the left hand side gets more people selecting them than those on the right. They also found that when using vertical lists, the first items are more selected than others further down the list.
So what is the solution? One option I see is that many survey software offer the possibility when creating questions for the response options to be “flipped” – that is, some people will see them negative to positive and others will see them positive to negative. It also makes sense to vary the response order in long surveys, particularly when using same or similar scales – to avoid respondents suffering from “survey fatigue”.
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