What is a Likert Scale?

April 24, 2024 |
6 min read

Surveys are the backbone of market research, acting as a window into the thoughts and preferences of consumers. They allow us to gather valuable data on everything from brand perception to product satisfaction. But how do we effectively measure something as nuanced as opinions and attitudes? This is where Likert scales come in. Widely used in surveys, Likert scales provide an effective tool for gauging the sentiment of your target audience.


What is a Likert Scale?

Let's break down the structure of a Likert scale. In essence, it's a psychometric tool used to gauge an individual's level of agreement or disagreement with a particular statement. Developed by social scientist Rensis Likert, this scale presents respondents with a series of statements or questions.

The key element lies in the answer choices. Likert scales typically offer a range of response options, often 5 or 7 points, that capture the varying degrees of opinion on the presented statement. For instance, a 5-point Likert scale might offer a choice of scale from "Strongly Agree” to "Strongly Disagree”. This structured format allows researchers to quantify the qualitative data of opinions and attitudes.

How does Likert Scale Work?

Now that we understand the core concept, let's explore how Likert scales function in practice. As mentioned earlier, a typical Likert scale presents respondents with a statement or question followed by a range of answer choices. These choices are usually phrased along a spectrum of agreement or disagreement, such as "Strongly Agree," "Agree," "Neutral," "Disagree," and "Strongly Disagree." This format allows respondents to pinpoint their sentiment on the issue at hand.

But Likert scales offer an additional layer of functionality for researchers. Each response option can also be assigned a numerical value. For example, in a 5-point scale, "Strongly Disagree" might be assigned a value of 1, while "Strongly Agree" receives a 5. This numerical coding allows researchers to analyze the data statistically. By calculating averages or using more sophisticated techniques, researchers can gain deeper insights into the overall sentiment of the target audience towards a particular topic.

What are the Benefits of Using Likert Scale Questions?

Likert scales have become a staple in the researcher's toolkit for a multitude of reasons. Their simplicity is a key advantage. Both researchers designing the survey and respondents taking it can easily grasp the concept and navigate the format. Likert scales go beyond the limitations of simple yes/no answers, allowing respondents to express the intensity of their feelings on a particular issue. This nuanced data provides a richer picture of public opinion.

Perhaps the greatest strength of Likert scales lies in their ability to be translated into quantitative data. By assigning numerical values to each response choice, researchers simplify the statistical analysis. This allows them to identify trends and patterns within the collected data, uncovering valuable insights into customer satisfaction, brand perception, and a multitude of other research questions.


What are the variations of Likert Scale Questions?

While the classic 5-point Likert scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) is widely used, it's important to recognize there's flexibility in design. Researchers can adapt the scale to best suit their needs. For instance, a situation might call for a simpler 4-point scale to capture more definitive opinions. Conversely, a more nuanced 7-point scale might be appropriate when capturing subtle variations in sentiment is crucial.

Another key variation lies in the inclusion of a mid-point option. Often phrased as "Neutral" or "Neither Agree nor Disagree," this option allows respondents to express a lack of opinion on the presented statement. The presence or absence of a mid-point can influence the data collected, so it's important to consider the research question at hand when designing your Likert scale.

Tips for Creating Effective Likert Scale Questions

Now that we've explored the strengths and variations of Likert scales, let's look at some tips to craft effective questions to maximize the value of your research. Here are some key tips to remember:

1. Clarity and Brevity

Strive for clear and concise statements in your Likert scale questions. Ambiguous wording can lead to misinterpretations and ultimately, unreliable data. Ensure your target audience can easily understand the statement and the opinion it's trying to gauge.

2. Capturing the Spectrum

When designing the answer choices, aim to encompass the full range of potential opinions. Whether you choose a 5-point or 7-point scale, ensure the options capture the varying degrees of agreement or disagreement on the issue. For instance, if your question is about customer satisfaction, you wouldn't want to miss out on capturing lukewarm feelings with options like "Very Satisfied" and "Extremely Dissatisfied." Consider including a neutral option as well, depending on your research goals.

3. Avoiding Bias

Be mindful of wording that might nudge respondents towards a particular answer. Phrases loaded with emotion or leading language can skew your data. Focus on neutral and objective statements that present the issue fairly. By following these tips, you can create Likert scale questions that are clear, unbiased, and effective in capturing the true sentiment of your target audience.


When to Use Likert Scale Questions?

Likert scales aren't one-size-fits-all tools, but they excel in certain situations. Here's when you should consider incorporating them into your surveys:

- Gauging Public Perception

Likert scales are perfect for gathering opinions on products, services, experiences, or brand image. Imagine you're launching a new product and want to understand customer sentiment. Likert scale questions can reveal how people perceive its features, value, and overall appeal.

- Measuring Satisfaction and Engagement

These scales are instrumental in measuring customer satisfaction, employee engagement, or program effectiveness. By presenting statements about these areas and using Likert scales to capture responses, you can gain valuable insights into how well your offerings are meeting expectations and fostering positive experiences.


Likert scales are an essential tool in the researcher's arsenal. We've explored their core concept, how they work, and the benefits they offer. Key takeaways include their ease of use, ability to capture nuanced opinions, and the potential for quantitative analysis. This translates into valuable insights into customer satisfaction, brand perception, and a multitude of research questions.

When crafting Likert scale questions, remember to prioritize clear statements, comprehensive answer choices, and unbiased wording. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your Likert scales effectively tap into the opinions and attitudes of your target audience!

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