The Likert Scale: What It Is and How to Use It in Your Surveys

Escala Likert

The Likert Scale is a survey tool that evaluates a person’s opinions, attitudes, and perceptions regarding a specific topic. It is presented through a series of statements, and respondents express their degree of agreement or disagreement through predefined options.

This is one of the most used response options due to its simplicity and effectiveness in offering detailed insights into attitudes and feelings.

Also, it allows companies and researchers to accurately quantify subjective responses, thus facilitating the analysis and interpretation of results.

Without a doubt, it’s a fundamental tool for any professional in the people area who seeks to deeply understand their team!

What is the Likert Scale?

In short, the Likert Scale is a measurement scale. It is used as a response model in surveys to evaluate the degree to which the respondents’ opinions coincide with the statements provided by the interviewer.

The most common gradation is the following:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree

But why is it so special? Well, unlike a simple “yes” or “no” question, the Likert Scale captures the intensity of a person’s feeling, allowing you to get a more complete and nuanced picture.

Types of Likert Scale

The Likert Scale can vary in the number of response options it offers, although traditionally it has five levels.

However, there are various variants available, such as those with 4, 6, 7, or even 9 points. Each has its own purpose and context for use. Here are some of the most common types:

  • 5-point Likert Scale : This is the most traditional version and includes options from “Strongly disagree” to “Strongly agree.”
  • 4-point Likert Scale : This version omits a neutral point, forcing respondents to take either a positive or negative position.
  • 6-point Likert scale : Adds an additional point to offer more response options, but, like the 4-point scale, omits the neutral point.
  • 7-point Likert Scale : Provides even more degrees of agreement or disagreement, offering greater specificity.
  • 9-point Likert scale : It offers a greater variety of options and is used when a very detailed differentiation in the answers is sought.

Beyond the scoring type, the versatility of the Likert Scale allows it to be adapted to a wide variety of contexts and purposes. Leaving aside the traditional level of agreement, here are some other variants you can use:

  • Frequency: Instead of asking about the degree of agreement, this variant seeks to know how frequently a behavior or feeling occurs.
    • Always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Rarely
    • Never
  • Probability: This version is used to measure expectations of an event that will occur.
    • Always
    • Almost always
    • Occasionally
    • Seldom
    • Never
  • Importance: Here, the interest is in the assessment of the relevance of a topic or issue.
    • Very important
    • Important
    • Neutral
    • Unimportant
    • Very unimportant
  • Quality: In contexts where the perception of quality is essential.
    • Very good
    • Good
    • Acceptable
    • Poor
    • Very poor
  • Satisfaction: In satisfaction surveys, the degree of contentment or dissatisfaction with a product, service, experience or initiative.
    • Very satisfied
    • Satisfied
    • Neither satisfied or dissatisfied
    • Dissatisfied
    • Very dissatisfied

How to implement the Likert Scale effectively in your surveys?

The correct application of this measurement tool demands attention to specific key details. Below are some best practice recommendations to help you implement the Likert Scale successfully in your surveys:

  • Clarity in statements: Each statement must be clear and one-dimensional. Avoid using jargon or ambiguous language that could confuse respondents.
  • Maintain consistency: Make sure all the options on your scale maintain the same order, whether from positive to negative or vice versa, to avoid confusion.
  • Be careful with intermediate options: In odd option scales, such as 5 or 7, there will always be a middle point. This allows respondents to have a neutral option. However, this could become a double-edged sword, as too many neutral responses may not provide conclusive data.
  • Avoid bias: Make sure statements are objective and do not lead to a particular answer. Questions should be phrased in a way that does not suggest a “correct” or “desired” answer.
  • Use a balanced scale: If you are using a scale with a midpoint, make sure there is a balance in the number of positive and negative options.
  • Test the scale: Before launching the survey to the target audience, test it with a small group to ensure that the questions are understood and the answers are consistent.

The importance of analysis

Once the answers have been collected, the interpretation game begins.

When trying to understand the answers, it is vital to not only focus on what the majority thinks, it is also crucial to look at the answers that might simply be “off.” And, sometimes, it is these less heard voices that can shed light on areas of improvement that you had not considered.

Look for patterns in the answers. Is there a specific demographic that tends to respond similarly? Are there correlations between certain questions or topics? These relationships can reveal details to you that a general overview might miss.

Trends are equally essential. If you conduct surveys regularly, do you notice changes in responses or perceptions over time? These changes could be reflecting transformations in the culture of your organization, in the perception of an initiative or even in the general work environment.

Use the Likert Scale in Team Insights

The Likert Scale, in its simplicity, is a powerful tool that allows companies to gain a deep understanding of people’s opinions and attitudes. When used correctly, it not only gives you data; It offers you valuable insights that help you guide your decisions and strategies effectively and with authentic results.

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the world of surveys with the Likert Scale? In Team Insights you can create completely free surveys and send them to your entire staff easily and conveniently. You just have to sign-up and start using the application!

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