Even though there are endless ways to ask survey questions – rating scales have always been the most popular. But why?
The best thing about Rating Scale Questionnaires is that they are recognizable and easy to understand. So people will not get frustrated when they see your surveys.
This question format is so popular that you must have answered a rating scale question yourself — think about the time when you had to rate your UBER driver or when you checked for “star ratings” before buying your favorite pair of jeans online.
So if you wish to use rating scales for your research but have no idea where to start, this blog will offer all the help you need. In this blog, we will gain a deep understanding of rating scales — what they are, how you can use them, and explore some of their advantages and disadvantages when creating surveys.
What is a Rating Scale?
A rating scale is a popular closed-ended question type where you can assign different weights to each answer option.
Survey takers are typically asked to choose from multiple options scaled between two extremes such as Unsatisfied to Satisfied. The rating scale can help you quantify subjective sentiments such as satisfaction, experience, perception, loyalty, etc.
Some common themes in rating scale questions are:
- A person’s satisfaction level with something
- Their likelihood of recommending a product/service
- How much do they agree with a statement
- How much easy do they find doing something
Why Should You Use a Rating Scale?
Rating scales can help you quantify abstract concepts and allow you to assign a rating to every response option. For example, you can attempt to understand to what degree customers are satisfied with your products or services. Here, every response option (Extremely satisfied, dissatisfied, etc.) holds a certain value.
Unlike other question formats, rating scales can help you understand your target survey audience’s degree of satisfaction, agreement, frequency, interest, importance, etc.
Therefore, if you wish to go beyond multiple-choice questions and make your surveys more intuitive, flexible, and interactive, rating scales can be a good bet.
Types of Rating Scales
Rating scales come in different shapes and sizes to achieve your unique research goals. Let’s look at the leading types of rating scales for questionnaires.
1. Graphic Scale
In these types of rating scale survey questions, the survey participants are required to respond to graphics/images instead of numbers. For example, you must have seen star ratings (1 to 5) given by existing customers while shopping online. The same can be seen in movie review platforms such as IMDB, where you can give star ratings for a movie.
The facial expression/smiley face is another popular example that is used to measure a person’s satisfaction or discomfort. Such pictorial or graphical scales are helpful, especially when you have to take feedback from people who are not fluent in your language.
2. Slider Rating Scale
The slider scale allows people to respond by dragging a slider to an answer option that they find the most appropriate. Such questions save your respondents’ time as they are not required to enter any text or number.
You can use this question when you wish to give respondents the option to choose from a wide range of options. For example, instead of selecting a number between 1-5, the respondents can even adjust the slider to decimal points such as 1.5 or 3.25 and share the most accurate answer. Moreover, answering a slider rating scale question can be a fun and interactive experience for your target audience.
3. Frequency Scale
This type of rating scale question can help you understand how frequently a respondent performs a particular behavior. This data can prove to be quite helpful for marketing experts who wish to understand customer interactions, touchpoints, and product developers who wish to decode product usage patterns.
Depending on the nature of your study, you can provide specific answer options such as “every day”, “once a week”, or go for more general options such as “sometimes”, “rarely”, etc. Overall, this is a great question to understand consumer behavior towards your product or service.
4. Comparative Scale
This type of rating scale question allows respondents to compare between options and then select the one that best meets the criteria of the question. For example, you can ask your customers, “Which feature do you find the most useful in our product?” The customers can compare between two options and go for the feature that they find the most beneficial.
Comparative scale questions can prove to be an extremely valuable part of your competitor analysis process. You can even gain in-depth insights about your business rivals by allowing customers to compare your company’s products/services/features with that of your competitors.
Examples of Rating Scale Questions
Writing a rating scale question from scratch can be a daunting task. But don’t worry as we have done the heavy lifting for you. Here are 10 rating scale question examples that you can start using right away:
Q1. How difficult or easy was it to use our new product feature?
☐ Very Difficult
☐ Very Easy
Q2. How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend or family member?
☐ Extremely Unlikely
☐ Extremely Likely
Q3. How disinterested or interested are you in becoming a member of our loyalty program?
☐ Very Disinterested
☐ Somewhat Disinterested
☐ Somewhat Interested
☐ Very Interested
Q.4 How would you rate your recent customer service experience?
☐ Very Poor
☐ Very Good
Q5. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement, “The company encourages employees to talk about mental health.”
☐ Strongly Disagree
☐ No Idea
☐ Strongly Agree
Q6. How often do you go out to eat with your friends, family, or colleagues?
☐ More than once a week
☐ Once a week
☐ Once a month
Q7. Which of the following options best describe your shopping experience on our website?
☐ Very Unpleasant
☐ Neither Pleasant nor Unpleasant
☐ Very Pleasant
Q8. On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this brand to a friend or colleague?
*0-10 NPS Scale (0- Extremely Unlikely, 10 – Extremely Likely)*
Q9. How would you rate your recent stay at our hotel?
*5 Star rating scale*
Q10. How satisfied are you with our services?
*Smiley face rating scale*
Read More: Survey Question: 250+Examples, Types & Best Practices
How to Create a Rating Scale Question
A poorly created rating scale question can potentially confuse your audience, hamper your analysis, and increase costs. Here are three steps to create the best rating scale questions for any audience:
Step 1: Choose the Right Rating Scale
As we discussed above, there are different types of rating scales available. Depending on your research goals, you can choose a rating scale that best fits your needs. For instance, if your goal is to identify loyal or at-risk customers, you can go for the traditional NPS rating scale. Similarly, if you wish to create surveys for your international audience, you can use graphic or pictorial scales.
Step 2: Choose the Right Response Options
Choosing the right response options is as important as the question itself. The scale should offer enough answer options for the respondents to easily choose the most valid answer. Depending on your objectives, you can go for a 1-5 or 1-7 rating scale depending on your objectives. Make sure the listed options are clear, easy to understand, and free from any technical jargon.
Bonus Tip: You can include a text box question after your rating scale question so that respondents can get the opportunity to expand on their previous answers. This will help you better understand why someone gave you the rating they did.
Step 3: Share on the Best Channels
Once you are happy with the look and feel of your rating scale questionnaire, you must share it with your target audience. With ProProfs Survey Maker, you can share your survey as a link via email, social media or embed it directly on your website. Moreover, you can even monitor your responses in real-time.
Read More: How to Send My Survey to Respondents
Advantages of Rating Scale
The advantages of rating scales greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Let’s see what makes this question format so popular.
1. Easy to Understand
Rating scales are one of the universal methods of data collection. They are not only easy to create but also pretty easy to understand. This means that irrespective of your target audience, you can easily share these surveys and capture maximum responses in a short period.
Whether you wish to understand how frequently customers use your products or are satisfied with your customer service, rating scale surveys can meet your different needs. Due to this versatile nature, such questions have become a popular choice for businesses and research experts.
2. Monitor Brand Loyalty
Every business wants to know how loyal their customers are. But most have no idea how to gauge customer loyalty. With a popular rating scale question such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), you can monitor brand loyalty and identify at-risk customers.
A simple NPS rating question such as “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our product to your friends and family members?” can help you identify loyal, neutral, and churning customers.
Read More: How to Calculate Net Promoter Score
3. Quick Analysis
Rating scales can save your team tons of time as they are quite easy to analyze and study. Unlike open-ended questions that can be tricky due to their wide variety of responses, there is only a fixed number of responses that you can obtain from rating scale questions.
With an online survey tool such as ProProfs Survey Maker, you can view reports in real-time, analyze responses, and make necessary conclusions. Once you are happy with the captured data, you can create presentation-ready reports and share them with key stakeholders.
Disadvantages of Rating Scale
Now, let’s examine some of the serious drawbacks of using rating scales for research.
1. Answer Options Can Lack Specificity
Rating scales often include answer options such as “sometimes”, “rarely”, “occasionally”, etc. Imagine if you are a business trying to understand your product usage, it becomes difficult to know what a customer really means when they respond “sometimes”. For some people, “sometimes” can mean once a week, while it can mean once a month for others.
Therefore, for easier rating scale assessment, you should provide more specific answer options (once a day, twice a week, etc.) to your respondents.
2. Error of Central Tendency
It has been observed that whenever people are in a hurry to finish a survey, they tend to choose their answer options without giving much thought. The central tendency error means that respondents are more likely to choose midpoints of the scale.
So if you share a 1-5 rating scale question, many people will choose 3 as their response option. There can be a lot of reasons why people do this – they are in a hurry, not interested, or simply wish to be on the safer side.
3. Generosity Error
Generosity error means that many people would not give genuine ratings to the people they know or the places that are dear to them. For example, if you visit a restaurant your friend owns, you will be more generous to share a positive rating on Google or other review platforms.
Similarly, when a cab driver shares stories of his struggles, you might feel emotional and give him a good rating irrespective of his driving skills. Such cases of generosity error are common and can hamper your research efforts.
Get Started With Rating Scales
The rating scale is a common question format that is accepted universally. In fact, they are the quickest and most straightforward way to engage customers with surveys.
To create the best rating scale questions, you must choose your answer options carefully and ensure they are easy to understand and free from technical jargon. Moreover, it’s wise to add an answer box after the rating scale so that you can understand the “why” behind an individual’s ratings.
With the help of the rating scale examples shared in this blog, we are sure you will be able to get started in no time. With ProProfs Survey Maker, you can choose from thousands of ready-to-use questions, including rating scales, multiple-choice, checkbox, etc., and hundreds of templates. Happy surveying!
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