How to Write Effective Likert Scale Questions

Likert scale questions are some of the most commonly used question types in surveys. From customer satisfaction to employee performance, they can be extremely effective in understanding the attitudes and opinions of respondents.

However, there is a delicate balance in writing Likert scale questions to ensure that the data you collect is high quality.

What is a Likert scale?

A Likert scale is a type of rating scale used to measure people’s attitudes, opinions, or perceptions toward a subject.

Likert Scale Question

Likert questions typically consist of a series of statements about a particular topic, followed by a range of response options. For example:

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

Participants are asked to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree with each statement by selecting a response.

How to analyze Likert scale data

The responses are assigned numerical values, ranging from 1 to 5 or 1 to 7, with higher values indicating stronger agreement or more positive attitudes.

Likert scale responses are considered ordinal data, which means that the categories have a natural order but the distance between the categories is not consistent.

The ordinal nature of the data means that it is appropriate to use central tendency measures such as the median or mode, but not the mean.

It’s also important to note that Likert scales do not have an interval level of measurement, meaning that the distance between response categories is not uniform.

How to write effective Likert scale questions

Writing survey questions can be tricky business, there’s definitely a knack to it. But, we’re here to help with that.

Take a look at our top 5 tips to help you craft effective Likert scale questions:

#1 Be clear and precise

First and foremost, you need to use clear language and be as precise in your wording as possible. If you use confusing or vague language, your respondents might not complete your questionnaire according to what they actually feel or think.

Instead, they will struggle to interpret your questions correctly and answer them accordingly.

Avoid using words or phrases that could have double meanings. Likewise, avoid words and phrases that are rarely used or require a high level of education. Opt for simpler synonyms instead.

When wording your questions, be precise and specific. If you create questions that are too general in nature, your respondents may not be able to answer them honestly.

Here are some examples of how to improve poorly-worded Likert scale survey questions:

  • DON’T: “How satisfied are you with this product?”
  • DO: “How satisfied are you with the price of this product?”
  • DON’T: “Do you consider X celebrity hot right now?”
  • DO: “Do you consider X celebrity popular right now among your colleagues?”
  • DON’T: “How often do you use public transportation?”
  • DO: “How often did you use public transportation on weekends throughout this year?”

#2 Prioritize consistency

Consistency is another aspect of your questionnaire that you have to pay a lot of attention to. If your wording is inconsistent, you could be confusing your respondents. Moreover, you could be confusing yourself. When your questionnaire is inconsistent, you can’t make accurate conclusions about your results.

If you’re worried about consistency, you can hire experienced writers and editors from Trust My Paper to help you design your survey.

This way, you can be certain that all the wording in your questions is precise and there are no inconsistencies throughout the questionnaire that could negatively impact results.

#3 Use questions over statements

Some surveys ask respondents to state the extent to which they agree with statements or consider them true, etc. Whilst it is a little easier to add bulk statements, it’s actually best to avoid them and stick to questions.

The truth is that wording plays a critical role in the responses you get from respondents. Using statements may can lead to a tendency in respondents to agree with them, as opposed to critically analyzing them. Which is to say, Likert scale statements can lead to response bias.

Luckily, it’s quite easy to turn statements into questions most of the time. So, if you’re itching to use a particular statement and ask your respondents whether they agree or not, you can easily turn it into a question and get more accurate responses instead.

Here are some examples of how you can change statements into questions:

  • STATEMENT: “I am satisfied with the quality of this product?”
  • QUESTION: “How satisfied are you with the quality of this product?”
  • STATEMENT: “The organization invests time and money to keep the employees updated with technology.”
  • QUESTION: “Are you satisfied with the amount of time and money the organization invests in keeping employees updated with technology?”
  • STATEMENT: “I am likely to recommend X brand’s products to my family members.”
  • QUESTION: “How likely are you to recommend X brand’s products to your family members?”

#4 Try unipolar and bipolar questions

There are two main types of Likert scale questions: unipolar and bipolar.

Unipolar scales are most appropriate for questions that could have a response from zero to an extreme. Whereas bipolar scales work best with questions that have positive, native and neutral answer options.

Here are some examples to give you an idea of which types of scales you should use for which types of questions:

  • UNIPOLAR: “How appealing does this product look to you?”
  • BIPOLAR: “How likely are you to purchase this product?”
  • UNIPOLAR: “How much attention do you pay to influencers promoting brands?”
  • BIPOLAR: “How satisfied are you with our customer support?”
  • UNIPOLAR: “How satisfied are you with your performance during the past year?”
  • BIPOLAR: “How likely are you to seek a second job?”

#5 Update previous questionnaires

Last but not least, don’t forget to update your previous surveys. This is particularly important for those who conduct the same surveys consistently.

For example, if you are performing customer satisfaction surveys every year, then you should probably make at least some adjustments every time you do so.

Of course, if you decide to make major changes to your survey, you will no longer be able to compare your results with the past surveys you did.

However, small adjustments and improvements based on your past experiences conducting surveys will help you get more accurate results the next time you perform the same survey.

How to write effective Likert scale questions: wrapping up

All in all, by using the tips in this article, you can create more accurate and effective Likert scale questions for your surveys. Don’t hesitate to experiment with your wording, but try to follow best practices for the best results.

This article was written by Frank Hamilton.