When it comes to questionnaires, Likert scale is one of the most popular tools by far. Originally, Likert scale was invented to measure attitudes, but it can be adjusted for any type of questionnaires. Likert scale is also known by other names such as Likert-type scale or simply “rating scale”, although the last term isn’t synonymous.
5 Point Likert Scale
Here is one famous 5 point Likert Scale example. Dr. David Burns, M.D. used this particular format for his scale called The Disfunctional Attitude Scale in his book Feeling Good. “Neutral” is given 0 points, “Agree Slightly” is given -1, “Agree Strongly” is given -2. On the other side, “Disagree Slightly” is given 1 (positive) point, “Disagree Very Much” is given 2 points.
Disagree Very Much
The example above demonstrates a classic example of a well-designed Likert scale. It contains same number of positive and negative values, as well as a zero (“neutral”) value that allows respondents to withhold their opinion.
While symmetry and balance are considered to be among the best practices when it comes to Likert scale, not every scale follows this rule. For example, the example below also uses Likert. While there is no symmetry, it allows respondents to assess the severity of their symptoms.
Q: Do you have crying spells?
not at all
This particular scale was also used by Dr. David Burns in his Burns Depression Checklist. Zero is assigned to “not at all”, 1 is assigned to “somewhat”, 2 – “moderately”, 3 – “a lot”, 4 – “extremely”.
Here is another example that was used here:
Q: How often do you smoke just to get through the day?
This one is similar to the one above, just a little different choice of words:
This one can be used to measure importance:
of little importance
4 Point Likert Scale
Although most examples of Likert Scale seem to look like 1-5 rating scale, having five points isn’t a rule. Sometimes you may come across scales with only four points. For example, the scale below was used by Dr. Phillip McGraw in his book Self Matters.
As you may have noticed, in this particular example there is no zero value (or neutral value).
Alternatively, you can use Likert scale to evaluate two opposite statements at the same time.
|I fear making decisions.||I enjoy making decisions.|
T++L True All of The Time (Left)
T+L True Most of The Time (Left)
T++R True All of The Time (Right)
T+R True Most of The Time (Right)
Like in the previous example, this four point scale doesn’t have a zero value. Four is an even number, and if we were to add a zero value to a four point scale, it would lose its symmetry.
7 point Likert scale
You won’t see seven point scales very often, but we have actually used one on this site. It looked like this:
A+ agree strongly
A- agree slightly
|I almost never plan things in advance.||I would be lost without my to-do list.|
We needed as many as seven points, because we wanted to compare between two opposite statements. You can see it in action here.