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Uses And Characteristics Of Likert Scale


Most of the surveys use the Likert scale to create questionnaires and easily analyze data. Such questionnaires are available in all types of online survey tools. Online survey techniques can help you create Likert scale type questions with ease.

What is a Likert scale?

A Likert scale is a type of psychometric scale that can be used in questionnaires to record responses. It is mainly used in multiple-choice questions. Here, the respondent can answer according to the degree of his agreement or disagreement with a statement or a question. The scale gets its name from its inventor, Psychologist Renesis Liker

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The Likert scale is used to conduct sociological, psychological, or market research surveys. This scale mainly aims to measure the intensity of the feelings of the respondent towards a particular object or a statement.

For example, there is a statement saying playing indoors is fun. As a choice, options can be such as Strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree. This is how the Likert scale works.


Apart from the normal, commonly used pattern of options, sometimes the scale can also be made even point. You can do this by removing the neutral option. This makes for equality in both the positive and negative options and omits the option that creates indecisiveness.

Likert scale can be of many points like those without the neutral option such as four-point scale or eight-point scale. The ones with the neutral choice are the five-point scale, seven-point scale, and so on.

Characteristics of a Likert scale

Consists of more than three options to record the degree of preference of the respondents.

  • It contains a Likert item, which is basically the statement on which the respondent needs to rate.
  • The scale always has two extreme positions.
  • The answers or options are usually relatable to the statement or question.


The Likert scale can measure much more than agreements and disagreements. Agreement might not always be the appropriate answer for every statement. So, there are many more kinds, which are:

Quality: Very good, good, average, poor, very poor.
Importance: Very important, important, fairly important, slightly important, not at all important.
Frequency: Every time, often, sometimes, rarely, never.
Probability: Definitely, probably, maybe, probably not, definitely not.

Advantages of Likert scale

  1. The respondents get to answer according to how they feel as they get the degrees of choices and do not need to simply stick to limited options.
  2. Analysis becomes easy as evaluation of the series of answers to Likert scale can be put to mathematical calculations.
  3. It is the most common method of taking surveys. So, respondents are likely to be familiar with it.
  4. The process of answering is very easy to understand. So, the survey sample will not find it difficult to understand.
  5. The researcher can rank the responses on the basis of how frequently the respondents choose them.
  6. The responses are easily quantifiable.
  7. It does not force respondents to give a decisive answer. The neutral option comes to the rescue in these cases.

Disadvantages of Likert Scale

  1. People might not want to opt for the two extreme options. This can happen due to the consciousness of looking like an extremist.
  2. Very often, it is seen that people go for the neutral option as it is the easier one. It is also quicker to decide.
  3. The most disadvantageous and most commonly seen limits of such sociological study methods is participants not being honest with the answers. It may be intentionally or unintentionally, but a lot of times, respondents may not be honest. This hinders the survey a lot.
  4. At times the options may not have even points. Likert scale always assumes, there is equal value between each option. For example, the difference between always and often may not be equal to the difference between rarely and never. In the same scale, the difference in intensity may not be equal.
  5. The participants may unintentionally answer in a way they think they are expected to answer.
  6. Subjective questions are not available for evaluation in Likert scale.

Uses of a Likert scale

A Likert scale can be a part of many types of surveys and can ask questions on many topics.

Psychological surveys: Likert scale is a measure for surveys on psychology. The intensity of the feelings and behavior is measurable through a Likert scale. Self-report inventories use the Likert scale mostly. Numerous tests are available on Likert scale. It can evaluate how strongly a person feels in a specific situation. From the answers to such questions, the problem or the personality trait is obtainable.


Sociological surveys: Quite similar to psychological surveys, this scale also evaluates the sociological traits of respondents. An analysis is possible on the basis of how an individual feels about a particular social issue and how intense. Then the number of respondents who feel the same way is evident.


Customer satisfaction: This is the most common type that many may have come across. Customer satisfaction surveys mainly ask the customers to rate their products using a Likert scale. Ratings are generally on the price of the product, look, service, and need.


Market research: Market research is a wider concept for customer satisfaction. It also aims to get knowledge of market competition. Here, respondents can rate different products from different brands. Through this, the researcher will be able to know which product is likely to do well in the market.


Physical health: Likert scale is also for conducting physical health surveys. Diet, mood and physical abnormalities are recordable through such surveys.

How to create questions with Likert scale?

You need to follow some procedures to create a questionnaire that delivers and reaches out to the sample population. An effective survey also means getting the results that you desire.

  1. What to measure: Firstly you need to determine, what the scale needs to measure. You can measure on importance, quality, probability, or frequency. On the other hand, you can measure on customer satisfaction or feelings or product preferences. The purpose of the survey is very important. For example, you want to gain knowledge on online and offline reading of books.
  2. Statements or questions: You need to list out the statements that you want your sample to answer. When you are conducting a survey, it is implied that you know what exactly to ask. Your objectives can become your questions or statements. Building on the previous example, you may want to know how much the respondents read books online. The question can be, “How much do you read books online?- Always, often, sometimes, rarely, or never.
  3. Number of response options: You have to determine how many response options you need to keep. This mainly concerns whether you want a four-point or five-point scale. Whether you want to keep the neutral option is also important to decide. This is because not having a neutral option may alter a lot of responses and the analysis.

Through these steps, you can easily make a questionnaire using Likert scale.

There are also many more ways in which you can improve the survey efficiency to get better results.

Some similar questions: Use some similar questions. This can ensure that you get proper results. Sometimes, some respondents can alter their responses in later questions. This can create discrepancies but also helps you to more or less understand the true feelings.


Repeat tests: Repetitive tests on similar objectives can lead to better results. You can get better insights into the preference and the behavior of the sample population.


Creative questions: Asking creative questions, keeps the audience engaged. Monotonous and boring questions may wear out the interests of the audience. Thus, you might get distorted answers. Always use interactive or fun questions to keep the respondent’s attention.


Try using opposite poles of options: The main feature of the Likert scale is how it has equal positive and negative ends. So, keeping that intact is very important. It definitely ensures more or less accurate results as well.


Consistent scales: Staying with consistent scales, ensures that you can evaluate on a specific level. With same scales, the analysis process becomes way easier.


Opt out neutral: Opting out neutral can avoid indecisive options. But it creates a great disadvantage as when a respondent is actually indecisive he does not get the liberty to answer accordingly.


One at a time: Prefer asking only about one topic at a type. Otherwise, it gets difficult to answer.

How to analyze Likert scale responses?

Likert scales can be of two kinds:

A) One where the difference between two consecutive options may not be equal. The difference is not quantifiable. For example, in yes, no, and maybe options. These are Likert type questions.

B) Another is the numerical rating. This is the scale. Here, the difference between each of the consecutive numbers is same. It is quantifiable. For example, 1 to 10 rating. The difference between 1 and 3 is equal to that of 8 to 10.

Likert scale can be put for analysis statistically. By quantifying the amount of responses towards a side can help to determine the preference or frequency of the statement. Statistically defining the data may lead to understanding what the majority of the population may want.

  1. You may want to assign scores to each question while conducting the survey. Then the scores of each response can be summed up to get the total score of each. Then find the average of all the scores of the responses and deduce the findings.
  2. Otherwise, you can use graphs, bar charts or pie charts to get the frequency of each option of each question. The chart shows which is the most preferable answer. Then you can deduce your findings.

Problems that you can face :

In most of the cases, respondents tend to not go for any of the two extreme ends of the scale.
• Due to ignorance or disinterest, respondents may choose the indecisive option.
• Respondents may answer in a way to avoid being judged.

Conclusion:

The Likert scale is a very reliable source to obtain statistical data. The majority of the online surveys are conducted in this way. It may have some difficulties while taking up this type of scale. But the results from it can be more or less accurate.

Disha Sarkar
About author

Blogger for Fynzo. Passionate about reading, writing, and new technological advancements.

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