Attitude Scaling Techniques- Concept of Scale – Rating Scales Viz. Likert Scales

Attitudes are individual mental processes which determine both the actual and potential response of each person in a social world. An attitude is always directed toward some object and therefore, attitude is the state of mind of the individual toward a value.


(a) Paired Comparison

This method requires the respondent to choose one of stimuli that has more of some property over the other with respect to some designated property.

Example: Hero Honda motor cycle dominates all other motor cycles.

(b) Ordered Category Sorting

It requires the respondent to order stimuli w.r.t. Some designated property of interest.

Example: “A” Represents a set of dozen car tyres in terms of high grip, moderate grip and low grip etc.

(c) Ranking Method

This determines the perceived order of six brands of tyres w.r.t. gripness on application of brakes.

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Each respondent is asked to rank the tyre brands w.r.t. gripness.

(d) Rating Techniques

Rating of different brands of motor cycles in terms of reliability, and fuel efficiency i.e., kms/litre of petrol etc.


Rating scale is defined as a closed-ended survey question used to represent respondent feedback in a comparative form for specific particular features/products/services. It is one of the most established question types for online and offline surveys where survey respondents are expected to rate an attribute or feature. Rating scale is a variant of the popular multiple-choice question which is widely used to gather information that provides relative information about a specific topic.

Researchers use a rating scale in research when they intend to associate a qualitative measure with the various aspects of a product or feature. Generally, this scale is used to evaluate the performance of a product or service, employee skills, customer service performances, processes followed for a particular goal etc. Rating scale survey question can be compared to a checkbox question but rating scale provides more information than merely Yes/No.

Types of Rating Scale

Broadly speaking, rating scales can be divided into two categories: Ordinal and Interval Scales.

An ordinal scale is a scale the depicts the answer options in an ordered manner. The difference between the two answer option may not be calculable but the answer options will always be in a certain innate order. Parameters such as attitude or feedback can be presented using an ordinal scale.

An interval scale is a scale where not only is the order of the answer variables established but the magnitude of difference between each answer variable is also calculable. Absolute or true zero value is not present in an interval scale. Temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit is the most popular example of an interval scale. Net Promoter Score, Likert Scale, Bipolar Matrix Table are some of the most effective types of interval scale.

There are four primary types of rating scales which can be suitably used in an online survey:

  • Graphic Rating Scale
  • Numerical Rating Scale
  • Descriptive Rating Scale
  • Comparative Rating Scale


A Likert Scale is a scale used to measure the attitude wherein the respondents are asked to indicate the level of agreement or disagreement with the statements related to the stimulus objects.

The Likert Scale was named after its developer, Rensis Likert. It is typically a five response category scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. The purpose of a Likert scale is to identify the attitude of people towards the given stimulus objects by asking them the extent to which they agree or disagree with them.

Often, the respondents are presented with questionnaires containing the set of statements to rate their attitude towards the objects. For example, the respondents might be asked to rate their purchase experience with shoppers stop by assigning the score as (1= strongly disagree, 2= disagree, 3= neither agree nor disagree, 4= agree, 5= strongly agree) to the series of statements given below:

  • Shoppers stop sell high-quality merchandise.
  • I like to shop from shoppers stop.
  • It offers several credit schemes.
  • It charges fair prices.
  • I like the way shoppers stop advertises its products.

The data obtained from the Likert Scale are typically treated as the interval. Thus, we can say that Likert scale possesses description, order and distance characteristics. Description means the unique labels or tags designated to each value of the scale; Order means the relative position of the descriptor and Distance implies that the absolute differences between the descriptors is known and can be expressed in units.

For the purpose of analysis, each statement is allotted a numerical score ranging from either 1 to 5 or -2 to +2. The analysis could be done item wise, or a total score can be computed by summing up all the items for each respondent. One of the advantages of a Likert scale is that it is easy to construct and administer.

The major limitation of this scaling technique is that it is time-consuming and requires much more time as compared to other itemized scaling techniques. This is because each respondent is required to read every statement given in a questionnaire before assigning a numerical value to it. Another limitation of a Likert scale is that it could be misunderstood at times, especially when the responses are unfavorable.

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