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What are Likert Scales and How do I Use Them?

Likert scales are used in almost all online surveys, although most people don’t actually know what they are. It is important, however, to not confused Likert scales with Likert items. The items are the actual points on the scale, whereas the scale is the sum total of all the items. So, for instance, if you ask respondents to rate something on a scale of 1 to 5, this is a Likert scale.

When should I use Likert scales?

If you want to truly measure an opinion, a specific topic and an experience using online surveys, Likert scales can be very useful. It allows you to not just measure the data you are interested in, but because you involve online surveys, you can look into all the contributing factors.

More often than not, these scales are used to measure how a customer enjoyed their shopping experience. However, this is also where it goes wrong. Within online surveys, these scales only provide relevant data if the questions are related to each other and when the answers have been scaled. So, asking an exact price cannot be compared to how well people experienced the service that they received.

You must look at Likert scales as you would at any other type of question that uses rating and scales. Your survey will start to look messy and will be hard to understand if you use a variety of different scales. A simple example found in numerous online surveys is that people are asked to rate a service on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being best and 10 being worst. Several questions later, they are asked to rate a different part of their experience on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being worst and 5 being best. They may seem different (one being 1 to 10 and the other 1 to 5), but they are actually the exact same scale in reverse order. This makes it hard to answer the online questionnaire and it makes it impossible to compare your data.

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