Attitudinal scales: Likert, Questionnaire designing


Attitude is a group of opinions, values and dispositions to act associated with a particular object or concept.  Measuring attitude in your survey can be difficult because it requires a series of questions to evaluate it effectively.  Here are some examples of subjects that an attitude survey might attempt to measure.

  • Attitude on Immigration
  • Attitude on Space Exploration
  • Attitude on Stem Cell Research

There are four factors that influence the responses:

(1) There is bias to respond with ‘agree’ categories rather than ‘disagree.’

(2) There is bias to select categories to the left of the scale rather than the right side.

(3) There is a tendency to select responses towards the center of the scale and avoid extremes of “strongly” agree or disagree.

(4) There is a tendency for respondents to fall into a pattern of response such as all “agree” or “no opinion.”

Likert Scale Questions – How It Helps Measure Respondent Attitude

Likert Scale is a psychometric scale where questions based on this scale are normally used in a survey. It is one of the most widely used question types in a survey. In a Likert Scale Survey respondents simply don’t choose between “yes/no”, there are specific choices based on “agreeing” or “disagreeing” on a certain question in the survey.

Likert scale survey questions are essential in measuring a respondent’s opinion or attitude towards a given subject. Likert Scale is typically a five, seven, or nine point agreement scale used to measure respondents’ agreement with a variety of statements. Organizational psychologist Rensis Likert developed the Likert Scale in order to assess the level of agreement or disagreement of a symmetric agree-disagree scale. In general, a series of statements each designed to view a construct from a slightly different perspective are leveraged. The power of this technique is that it works across disciplines—it is just as applicable to a social science construct as it is a marketing one.


Perhaps the most important part of the survey process is the creation of questions that accurately measure the opinions, experiences and behaviors of the public. Accurate random sampling and high response rates will be wasted if the information gathered is built on a shaky foundation of ambiguous or biased questions. Creating good measures involves both writing good questions and organizing them to form the questionnaire.

Questionnaire design is a multistage process that requires attention to many details at once. Designing the questionnaire is complicated because surveys can ask about topics in varying degrees of detail, questions can be asked in different ways, and questions asked earlier in a survey may influence how people respond to later questions. Researchers also are often interested in measuring change over time and therefore must be attentive to how opinions or behaviors have been measured in prior surveys.


Unipolar Likert Scale Examples

Unipolar scales are more contoured, allowing users to instead focus on the absence or presence of a single item. The scale measures the ordinal data, but most of the times unipolar scales generate more accurate answers. An example of a unipolar satisfaction scale is: not at all satisfied, slightly satisfied, moderately satisfied, very satisfied, and completely satisfied.

Likert Scale Questions (Unipolar)

A unipolar Likert scale question type indicates a respondent to think of the presence or absence of a quality. For example, a common unipolar scale includes the following choices: not at all satisfied, slightly satisfied, moderately satisfied, very satisfied, and completely satisfied. It is arranged on a 5 point scale. A to E. Also, Unipolar question types lend themselves where there is a maximum amount of the attitude or none of it. For instance, let’s say, how helpful was the apple pie recipe? Very helpful, somewhat or not at all. From there, we can safely assume there is something in between–like “sort of” helpful.

Bipolar likert scale examples

A bipolar scale indicates a respondent to balance two different qualities, defining the relative proportion of those qualities. Where a unipolar scale has one “pole,” a bipolar scale has two polar opposites. For example, a common bipolar scale includes the following choices: completely dissatisfied, mostly dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, somewhat satisfied, mostly satisfied, and completely satisfied. That is a scale with 0 in the middle (-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3).

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