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Asking the Right Questions with Likert Scale Response Anchors

Gratitude in the Workplace

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The Likert Scale

In 1932, Rensis Likert, as a part of his thesis on measuring the extent of a person's attitudes and feelings towards international affairs, developed the "Likert Scale" known and still used today1. Today the Likert Scale still stands as the most widely-used approach to scale responses.

Respondents use Likert questionnaire items to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement on a symmetric agree-disagree scale for a series of statements. Each item offers a range for the intensity of their feelings toward specific items. Multiple items can be tallied and made into a simple sum to use Likert items to create a scale.

Asking great Likert Scale Questions

Write Clear Questions

Providing specific and clear questions ensures a scale gathers the information needed. For example, "How satisfied are you with your travel experience" is a different question than "How satisfied are you with the speed of your travel experience." Know and understand what information is most vital before crafting questions to write specific, targeted questions.

Use Consistent Language

When choosing anchors for Likert question responses, there are many choices for what language to use. However, if you select an adjective to precede your statements measuring agreement, use the same adjectives for that item. The same logic applies to the agreement statement. For example, Strongly Agree = Strongly Disagree, Strongly Agree ≠ Strongly Oppose, or Extremely Disagree.

Bipolar vs. Unipolar

A bipolar scale offers both negative and positive ends of a spectrum. If asking respondents to weigh an item, the range could go from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, with Neutral in the middle. A unipolar scale offers a range that's easy to follow, asking for respondents to provide an answer ranging from a scale of zero to an extreme. Both scales offer benefits and value but may be better suited for specific questions.

Additionally, with bipolar scales, consider whether there is more value in forcing respondents to choose a positive or negative end of the spectrum or value in providing a neutral option.

Questions vs. Statements

Language can persuade results. Asking for a level of agreement with a statement rather than asking a question outright may lead respondents to a biased answer. Consider the value of using questions or statements in your scale.

The Likert Scale Response Anchors

Below are some popular Likert-type scales that you can use in your surveys and questionnaires2.

Level of Acceptability Level of Appropriateness Level of Importance
1. Totally unacceptable
2. Unacceptable
3. Slightly unacceptable
4. Neutral
5. Slightly acceptable
6. Acceptable
7. Perfectly Acceptable
1. Absolutely inappropriate
2. Inappropriate
3. Slightly inappropriate
4. Neutral
5. Slightly appropriate
6. Appropriate
7. Absolutely appropriate
1. Not at all important
2. Low importance
3. Slightly important
4. Neutral
5. Moderately important
6. Very important
7. Extremely important
Level of Agreement Knowledge of Action Reflect Me?
1. Strongly disagree
2. Disagree
3. Somewhat disagree
4. Neither agree or disagree
5. Somewhat agree
6. Agree
7. Strongly agree
1. Never true
2. Rarely true
3. Sometimes but infrequently true
4. Neutral
5. Sometimes true
6. Usually true
7. Always true
1. Very untrue of me
2. Untrue of me
3. Somewhat untrue of me
4. Neutral
5. Somewhat true of me
6. True of me
7. Very true of me
My beliefs Priority Level of Concern
1. Very untrue of what I believe
2. Untrue of what I believe
3. Somewhat untrue of what I believe
4. Neutral
5. Somewhat true of what I believe
6. True of what I believe
7. Very true of what I believe
1. Not a priority
2. Low priority
3. Somewhat priority
4. Neutral
5. Moderate priority
6. High priority
7. Essential priority
1. Not at all concerned
2. Slightly concerned
3. Somewhat concerned
4. Moderately concerned
5. Extremely concerned
Priority Level Level of Problem Effect on (X)
1. Not a priority
2. Low priority
3. Medium priority
4. High priority
5. Essential
1. Not at all a problem
2. Minor problem
3. Moderate problem
4. Serious problem
1. No effect
2. Minor effect
3. Neutral
4. Moderate effect
5. Major effect
Level of Consideration Level of Support/Opposition Level of Probability
1. Would not consider
2. Might or might not consider
3. Definitely consider
1. Strongly oppose
2. Somewhat oppose
3. Neutral
4. Somewhat favor
5. Strongly favor
1. Not probable
2. Somewhat improbable
3. Neutral
4. Somewhat probable
5. Very probable
Level of Agreement Level of Desirability Level of Participation
1. Strongly disagree
2. Disagree
3. Neither agree or disagree
4. Agree
5. Strongly agree
1. Very undesirable
2. Undesirable
3. Neutral
4. Desirable
5. Very desirable
1. No, and not considered
2. No, but considered
3. Yes
Frequency – 5 point Frequency Frequency of Use
1. Never
2. Rarely
3. Sometimes
4. Often
5. Always
1. Never
2. Rarely
3. Occasionally
4. A moderate amount
5. A great deal
1. Never
2. Almost never
3. Occasionally/Sometimes
4. Almost every time
5. Every time
Frequency – 7 point Amount of Use Frequently used
1. Never
2. Rarely, in less than 10% of the chances when I could have
3. Occasionally, in about 30% of the chances when I could have
4. Sometimes, in about 50% of the chances when I could have
5. Frequently, in about 70% of the chances when I could have
6. Usually, in about 90% of the chances I could have.
7. Every time
1. Never use
2. Almost never
3. Occasionally/Sometimes
4. Almost every time
1. Level of Familiarity
2. Not at all familiar
3. Slightly familiar
4. Somewhat familiar
5. Moderately familiar
6. Extremely familiar
Level of Awareness Level of Difficulty Likelihood
1. Not at all aware
2. Slightly aware
3. Somewhat aware
4. Moderately aware
5. Extremely aware
1. Very difficult
2. Difficult
3. Neutral
4. Easy
5. Very easy
1. Extremely unlikely
2. Unlikely
3. Neutral
4. Likely
5. Extremely likely
Level of Detraction Good / Bad Barriers
1. Detracted very little
2.
3. Neutral
4.
5. Detracted very much
1. Very negative
2.
3. Neutral
4.
5. Very positive
1. Not a barrier
2. Somewhat of a barrier
3. Moderate barrier
4. Extreme barrier
Level of Satisfaction – 5 point Level of Satisfaction – 5 point Level of Satisfaction – 7 point
1. Very dissatisfied
2. Dissatisfied
3. Unsure
4. Satisfied
5. Very satisfied
1. Not at all satisfied
2. Slightly satisfied
3. Moderately satisfied
4. Very satisfied
5. Extremely satisfied
1. Completely dissatisfied
2. Mostly dissatisfied
3. Somewhat dissatisfied
4. Neither satisfied or dissatisfied
5. Somewhat satisfied
6. Mostly satisfied
7. Completely satisfied
Level of Quality – 5 point Comparison of Two Products Level of Responsibility
1. Poor
2. Fair
3. Good
4. Very good
5. Excellent
1. Much worse
2. Somewhat worse
3. About the same
4. Somewhat better
5. Much better
1. Not at all responsible
2. Somewhat responsible
3. Mostly responsible
4. Completely responsible
Level of Influence
1. Not at all influential
2. Slightly influential
3. Somewhat influential
4. Very influential
5. Extremely influential
References

  1. Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 22 140, 55. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1933-01885-001
  2. Vagias, Wade M. (2006). Likert-type scale response anchors. Clemson International Institute for Tourism & Research Development, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Clemson University. http://media.clemson.edu/cbshs/prtm/research/resources-for-research-page-2/Vagias-Likert-Type-Scale-Response-Anchors.pdf.

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