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Smart Survey Design

typically recommended to use a seven–point scale for these types. It is also good to keep the statements on the opposite ends short and precise (Brace 2004, 89-90).

NOTE: Currently SurveyMonkey does not provide this format in our available question types. We are working on some feature requests and hope to have this offered in the future. You could create a Rating/Matrix question and label the columns 1 – n and add descriptive text only to the first and last column, but you won’t be able to put descriptive text on the left and right side of the scale.

General Example of a Semantic Differential Scale:

Please answer the following items and indicate on which end of the scale you mostly agree in regards with the way you feel about SurveyMonkey:

Improved 1 2 3 4 5 6

7

Unimproved

4. Balanced vs. Unbalanced-Rating Scales:

A five-point rating scale typically gives sufficient discrimination and is easily understood by survey participants. This is usually recommended for most survey settings (Brace 2004, 82). However, there is no set limit on the number of categories to use. Using too few could give less-cultivated information, while using too many could make the question hard to read and answer. Related to this setup is the decision of incorporating a “middle category.” The content and analytical purpose of the question will determine if you want to create a balanced vs. an unbalanced rating scale. If a rating scale is balanced, it means it is composed of an equal number of positive and negative labels anchored by opposite poles, with or without midpoints (Meric, H. and J. Wagner 2006, 4).

Poor

Average

Good

Very Good

Excellent

1

2

3

4

5

In Example 1 you see 2 positive and 2 negative statements with a neutral midpoint. For this case, respondents are not led in either direction. However, in Example 2 there are 3 positive statements and only 2 negative statements. In this case, the more positive

Very Poor

Poor

Average

Good

Excellent

1

2

3

4

5

Example 1 Balanced:

Example 2 Unbalanced:

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