The Likert scale is a common tool used to determine your respondents’ actual attitudes when conducting research. Often in survey research, it serves as an effective way for measuring opinions, attitudes, and perceptions. This scale presents a series of statements to which respondents express their level of agreement or disagreement on a symmetric agree-disagree scale. Thereby, subjective data can be quantified. This article provides a close look at its construction, use, pros, and potential cons.
Definition: Likert scale
A Likert scale is a psychometric scale used in research that uses questionnaires and surveys. It is named after Rensis Likert, who developed it as a tool to measure opinions and attitudes. A Likert scale typically consists of several statements to which respondents answer their level of agreement or disagreement on a symmetric scale. The scale generally has five-seven points, ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” with a neutral point in the middle depicting “neither agree nor disagree”. By quantifying these responses, the Likert scale allows researchers to convert subjective opinions into measurable, numerical data.
Creating a Likert scale
The questions are phrased as statements rather than questions, and each answer option is assigned a number.
Also, you should avoid double negatives when phrasing your questions
Questions or statements
- A Likert scale question is used to measure the opinions of your respondents, while statements are used to give them a chance to express their views.
- Using a Likert scale statement instead of a question is appropriate if you want to find out what your readers think about something without measuring their opinion with numbers.
- On the other hand, Likert scale questions should be used when you want to measure the opinions of your respondents on a particular topic, such as whether or not they think it is essential for children to be able to read before the age of 8.
Use positive formulations
A positive and negative formulated Likert scale is a scale in which a respondent can select one of two possible answers to an item on the scale, such as “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree.”
Keep it simple
As you create your survey, consider making it as clear as possible by asking only one question at a time.
Answer options in the Likert scale
Besides measuring degrees of agreement or disagreement, a 5-point scale can also be used to measure quality and probability.
Typical answer options
Choosing the correct answer option for your scale can be tricky. So, here are some of the most common alternatives to consider:
Unipolar and bipolar answers
A unipolar scale survey is a survey that asks respondents for their opinions on one topic. This could be a survey asking people about their favorite ice cream flavors. This is different from a bipolar scale survey, which asks people to answer multiple questions about the same topic:
Ordinal data vs. Interval data
Ordinal data is a type of data that can be ranked or ordered, but the differences between the data values are not necessarily equal.
By contrast, interval data has a specific value that can be measured.
- Testing statistics determine whether or not there is a significant relationship between two variables.
- The most common testing statistic is the correlation coefficient, which can be used for interval data and is expressed as a number between -1 and 1.
- A higher value means a more substantial relationship exists between the two variables. In comparison, a lower value means less of a relationship between them.
Likert scales gather information about how people feel about different topics.
Descriptive statistics are used to summarize the collected data.
To analyze Likert scale data you could use descriptive statistics like:
Pros and cons of the Likert scale
Understanding each option’s pros and cons is essential before deciding what scale to use.
|• Scales that use Likert-type questions are straightforward.
• The Likert scale can measure people's opinions, feelings, and attitudes.
• Likert-type scales are easy to construct, administer, and score.
• It's a great way to understand what people think about a topic.
• You can have multiple questions on one page that you can use to see how people respond differently.
|• You must be sure how respondents interpret the questions in your Likert scale.
• Likert-type scales are not well suited for survey questions requiring various responses.
• Knowing how much people agree or disagree with you can be challenging.
• You can only get a complete picture if you ask enough questions and are clear about what your audience is looking for.
• There's a risk of bias in favor of one side of an issue.
A Likert scale question uses a five or 7-point scale to help researchers better understand their respondents’ beliefs.
Likert scales are used to measure attitudes and opinions.
The response options for most Likert scales are 1 (Strongly Agree), 2 (Agree), 3 (Neutral), 4 (Disagree), and 5 (Strongly Disagree).