Likert Scale – How To Use It In Your Research

22.01.23 Collecting data Time to read: 5min

How do you like this article?

0 Reviews


The Likert scale is a common tool used to determine your respondents’ actual attitudes when conducting research. Often in survey research, it serves as an effective way for measuring opinions, attitudes, and perceptions. This scale presents a series of statements to which respondents express their level of agreement or disagreement on a symmetric agree-disagree scale. Thereby, subjective data can be quantified. This article provides a close look at its construction, use, pros, and potential cons.

Likert Scale – In a Nutshell

  • Likert scales are crucial tools in research methodology to assess detailed opinions.
  • The most common scale used in Likert-type rankings is a 1-5 scale
  • A Likert scale can quantify opinions, attitudes, and behaviours.

Definition: Likert scale

A Likert scale is a psychometric scale used in research that uses questionnaires and surveys. It is named after Rensis Likert, who developed it as a tool to measure opinions and attitudes. A Likert scale typically consists of several statements to which respondents answer their level of agreement or disagreement on a symmetric scale. The scale generally has five-seven points, ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” with a neutral point in the middle depicting “neither agree nor disagree”. By quantifying these responses, the Likert scale allows researchers to convert subjective opinions into measurable, numerical data.

Review your dissertation format for a perfect finish
Before printing your dissertation, polish and fine-tune its formatting with our 3D preview feature. This offers a precise virtual representation of the final physical product, ensuring it matches your expectations.

Creating a Likert scale

The questions are phrased as statements rather than questions, and each answer option is assigned a number.


“How often do you eat lunch?”

  • 1 for “every day”
  • 2 for “3 times a week”
  • 3 for “once per month”
  • 4 for “never” and
  • 5 for “sometimes”

Also, you should avoid double negatives when phrasing your questions


X “Do you not eat cereal?”

“Do you eat cereal?”

Questions or statements

  • A Likert scale question is used to measure the opinions of your respondents, while statements are used to give them a chance to express their views.
  • Using a Likert scale statement instead of a question is appropriate if you want to find out what your readers think about something without measuring their opinion with numbers.
  • On the other hand, Likert scale questions should be used when you want to measure the opinions of your respondents on a particular topic, such as whether or not they think it is essential for children to be able to read before the age of 8.

Use positive formulations

A positive and negative formulated Likert scale is a scale in which a respondent can select one of two possible answers to an item on the scale, such as “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree.”

Keep it simple

As you create your survey, consider making it as clear as possible by asking only one question at a time.

Answer options in the Likert scale

Besides measuring degrees of agreement or disagreement, a 5-point scale can also be used to measure quality and probability.

Typical answer options

Choosing the correct answer option for your scale can be tricky. So, here are some of the most common alternatives to consider:

Agree: Quality: Probability: Experience:
  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Slightly disagree
  • Slightly agree
  • Agree
  • Very low quality
  • Low quality
  • Moderate quality
  • Good quality
  • Very high quality
  • Never happens
  • Low probability
  • Happen sometimes
  • High probability
  • Always happens
  • Negative experience
  • Neutral experience
  • Positive experience

Unipolar and bipolar answers

A unipolar scale survey is a survey that asks respondents for their opinions on one topic. This could be a survey asking people about their favorite ice cream flavors. This is different from a bipolar scale survey, which asks people to answer multiple questions about the same topic:


  • “Do you prefer ice cream that’s creamy or crunchy?”
  • “Do you prefer ice cream in cones or sundaes?”

In most cases, surveys will be bipolar because the answers are nuanced and not just one-dimensional.

Analyzing Likert scale data

When analyzing data, it’s essential to know whether you have ordinal data or if you are dealing with interval data.

Ordinal data vs. Interval data

Ordinal data is a type of data that can be ranked or ordered, but the differences between the data values are not necessarily equal.


If you want to measure how easy it is for people to do something, ask them to rate their ability from 1-5 (1 being easiest and five being hardest).

By contrast, interval data has a specific value that can be measured.


If you wanted to know how tall someone is in inches or centimeters, you could measure their height in inches or centimeters.

The Likert scale is an example of ordinal data because it asks respondents to rank their agreement or disagreement with statements.

Testing statistics

  • Testing statistics determine whether or not there is a significant relationship between two variables.
  • The most common testing statistic is the correlation coefficient, which can be used for interval data and is expressed as a number between -1 and 1.
  • A higher value means a more substantial relationship exists between the two variables. In comparison, a lower value means less of a relationship between them.


Let’s say you were interested in the relationship between how much your students like their school and how much they learn in class.

You could take two classes of students, give them a survey on how much they like their school, and then provide them with a test on what they learned in class. Then, you could calculate the correlation coefficient between these two variables

Descriptive statistics

Likert scales gather information about how people feel about different topics.
Descriptive statistics are used to summarize the collected data.
To analyze Likert scale data you could use descriptive statistics like:

Avoid losing marks on your final paper
Improper citation or paraphrasing often leads to mark deductions. Ensure your work's integrity by using our online plagiarism checker tailored for students in India. Within just 10 minutes, submit your paper confidently.

Pros and cons of the Likert scale

Understanding each option’s pros and cons is essential before deciding what scale to use.

✓ Pros:
X Cons:
• Scales that use Likert-type questions are straightforward.
• The Likert scale can measure people's opinions, feelings, and attitudes.
• Likert-type scales are easy to construct, administer, and score.
• It's a great way to understand what people think about a topic.
• You can have multiple questions on one page that you can use to see how people respond differently.
• You must be sure how respondents interpret the questions in your Likert scale.
• Likert-type scales are not well suited for survey questions requiring various responses.
• Knowing how much people agree or disagree with you can be challenging.
• You can only get a complete picture if you ask enough questions and are clear about what your audience is looking for.
• There's a risk of bias in favor of one side of an issue.


A Likert scale question uses a five or 7-point scale to help researchers better understand their respondents’ beliefs.

Likert scales are used to measure attitudes and opinions.

The response options for most Likert scales are 1 (Strongly Agree), 2 (Agree), 3 (Neutral), 4 (Disagree), and 5 (Strongly Disagree).