When carrying out a systematic investigation, the researcher may need the respondents to rate his or her knowledge or degree of satisfaction with a particular product or service. To do this objectively, he or she may need to include different types of rating scales in the questionnaire or survey. 

With a rating scale, the researcher can easily quantify respondents’ knowledge and opinion in terms of specified values which can be numerical or otherwise. A rating scale is typically used in quantitative and qualitative observation methods to evaluate different opinions about a research subject. 

What is a Rating Scale? 

A rating scale is a common method of data collection that is used to gather comparative information about a specific research subject. Specifically, a rating scale is a  type of multiple-choice question and it allows survey respondents to assign a value to a product or service. 

This method of data collection enables survey respondents to measure their feelings, perceptions, interests, and preferences. There are different types of rating scales including numerical scales, heart rating scales and Likert scales, and each of these scales has specific features that differentiate one from the other. 

Types of Rating Scale 

  • Numerical Scale

A numeric scale is a type of rating scale that requires the respondent to provide his or her feedback in terms of numerical values. This type of rating scale equates comparative survey response options to an ordered set of numerical values so that respondents can quantify their opinions. 

This type of rating scale allows the researcher to view survey responses as quantitative symbolizations. A numerical rating scale is typically used to quantify qualitative data such as pain, feelings, product satisfaction, likelihood to recommend, customer loyalty and the like. 

Usually, the researcher labels the endpoints of the numerical rating scale in terms of the value that is being measured so that both ends represent the extremes of this value. Examples of numerical rating scales include Single Ease Questions and Likelihood to Recommend Questions.  

Read Also: 7 Types of Data Measurement Scales in Research

Samples of a Numerical Rating Scale

  1. How likely are you to recommend our product or service? (1 = Very Unlikely; 5 = Very Likely)
  2. How easy or difficult did you find this test? (1 = Very Difficult; 7 = Very Easy)


  • Likert Scale

A Likert scale is a type of rating scale that allows survey respondents to indicate how much they agree or disagree with an assertion or a statement. It is used to measure a survey respondent’s psychological disposition or attitude towards a specific subject matter. 

A likert scale  is typically in the form of a 5-point or 7-point rating system that allows you to objectively rate the survey respondent’s opinions, perceptions, and behaviors. It also includes a moderate or neutral rating that caters to opinions that are neither here nor there. 

This type of rating scale is un-dimensional in nature and it can also be used to measure agreement, frequency, quality, likelihood, and importance. It was developed in 1932 by the social psychologist Rensis Likert and it is a useful tool for market research. 

Guttman scale, Bogardus scale and, Thurstone scale are also common variations of the Likert scale. 

Question Samples of a Likert Scale

How satisfied are you with our product?

  1. Very satisfied
  2. Satisfied
  3. Neutral
  4. Dissatisfied
  5. Very Dissatisfied

I found the website difficult to navigate.

  1. Strongly Disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly Agree


  • Radio Frequency Scale

A radio frequency scale is a type of rating scale that is used to measure the number of occurrences of an assertion or statement. The radio frequency scale allows the researcher to know how often the respondent performs a particular action. 

This type of rating scale can either be used to measure the frequency of an action in terms of a specific number of times such as monthly, weekly and yearly. It can also be in terms of general time frames such as seldom, always, rarely, and the like. This is also known as a verbal frequency scale. 

When creating a frequency scale, it is important for you to arrange the frequency values accordingly. 

Question Samples of Frequency Scale

  1. How often do you use our product?
  2. Daily
  3. Weekly
  4. Monthly
  5. Annually
  6. I read instructions before using a product.
  7. Never
  8. Rarely
  9. Sometimes
  10. Always


  • Paired Comparison Scale

A paired comparison scale is a type of rating scale that requires the survey respondent to choose between 2 alternatives. This type of rating scale is typically used to compare the specific qualities or features of a product, brand or service. 

A paired comparison scale allows the survey respondent to communicate his or her preferences and it is a great way of gathering customers’ feedback on a product’s packaging. Pictures and videos can also be presented in a paired comparison scale. 

Question Samples of a Paired Comparison Scale

  1. What package do you prefer?
  2. Lite
  3. Business
  4. What website works for you?
  5. User-focused
  6. Business-focused


  • Comparative Scale

A comparative scale is a type of rating scale that is used to measure a survey respondent’s preferences in terms of popular external benchmarks such as well-known service providers. It is also referred to as a comparative intensity scale. 

This type of rating scale allows a respondent to rate his or her preferences in terms of the different attributes of a specific item. It is a non-metric scale that allows respondents to evaluate 2 items simultaneously using a range of parameters. 

Sample of a Comparative Scale

How does the following influence your purchase decision?

  1. Price
  2. Features
  3. Brand
  4. Popularity


  • Multi Checkbox Scale

A multi checkbox scale is a type of rating scale that lists different positive and negative attributes that describe a survey respondent’s perception of a product, service or experience. Survey respondents are allowed to choose the different options that reflect their dispositions towards the item under consideration.

The multi checkbox scale is often used to assess a brand’s attitude, rate a user’s experience or to determine the quality of a product. The positive and negative parameters are usually listed sporadically, that is,  in a randomized order of presentation. 

Question Sample of a Multi Checkbox Scale

Which of the following options best describes your experience? 

  1. Exciting
  2. Professional
  3. Easy-to-use
  4. Difficult
  5. Inaccessible
  6. Dissatisfying


  • Star Rating Scale

A star rating scale is a type of rating scale that allows the respondent to register his or her satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a product or service based on the number of stars. It makes use of ranked attributes that are represented with stars on a scale instead of checkboxes, numbers or radio buttons. 


In a star rating scale, each star represents a numerical value so that it is somewhat similar to a numerical rating scale. This type of rating scale is commonly used by organizations for movie reviews, customer satisfaction surveys and questionnaires. 

Samples for a Star Rating Scale

  1. How would you rate our service delivery?
  2. How would you rate the movie script?


  • Image Choice Scale

An image choice scale is a type of rating scale that is commonly used for image choice questions. It allows respondents to provide feedback on the visual quality of a product, service or item such as an advertisement or a logo. 

An image choice scale is also referred to as a visual or pictorial rating scale and it is often used for medical surveys. It is most appropriate for research contexts in which the respondent may not be fluent in the target language. 

Image Choice Scale Sample

  • Heart Rating Scale

A heart rating scale is a type of rating scale that makes use of ranked parameters that are represented as hearts instead of checkboxes, radio buttons or numbers. Just like a star rating scale, the hearts here represent a numerical value for each attribute on the scale. 

A heart rating scale is used to measure a respondent’s level of satisfaction with a product or service and it is a common means of collecting customer feedback objectively. A heart rating scale is a common type of pictorial rating scale. 

Question Samples for a Heart Rating Scale

  1. How would you rate our service delivery?
  2. How would you rate this event?
  • Smiley Scale 

A smiley scale is a type of rating scale that uses emojis to represent emotions ranging from negative to neutral and positive. It is a 5-point rating scale that swiftly communicates the emotions of the respondent and it is used for qualitative data collection. 

It allows the respondent to communicate his or her feedback, opinions and experiences in terms of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a product or service. This scale can also be used to determine the likeability of an item and it is a type of visual rating scale. 

Question Sample of a Smiley Scale

How satisfied are you with our delivery service? 

  1. Very satisfied
  2. Somewhat satisfied
  3. Neutral
  4. Dissatisfied
  5. Very Dissatisfied

How to Create a Rating Scale with Formplus 

Formplus allows you to collect a variety of information from respondents the way you like, using our dynamic online forms. You can add different types of rating scales to your online survey form in the Formplus form builder by simply dragging and dropping rating fields into your form. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a rating scale in your survey form using Formplus. We will show how to create 2 types of rating scales which are the Likert scale and the star rating scale: 

On the Formplus builder, you can easily create a likert scale or star rating scale by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on “Create Form ” to begin. 

  • Click on the “Ratings” option under the “Inputs” section of the form builder. This will reveal a drop-down menu of available rating scale options in the form builder.

  • Click on the “Star” rating option to add it to your form. You can also drag and drop this field into your online survey form. The star rating will automatically be added to your form.
  • If you want to add a Likert scale to your form, click on the “scale” rating option in the drop-down menu.
  • Next, click on the edit icon beside the form field to modify your rating scale in line with your survey question. You can modify the field to be read-only or hidden too.
  • Click on “Save”
  • Preview form.

Advantages of a Rating Scale

A rating scale is a useful tool for quantitative and qualitative observation and data collection. There are different types of rating scales and each of these can be adapted for qualitative or quantitative observation.

If you wish to collect feedback in terms of numerical value, you can make use of a numerical rating scale. On the other hand, if you wish to collect data relating to a user’s experience with a product or service, you can make use of a smiley rating scale. 

  • A rating scale helps to simplify data collection and analysis in research.
  • In quantitative observation, a rating scale can be used for comparative data analysis, especially when it has to do with market research.
  • It is easy to administer and it reduces the chances of survey bias and survey response drop-out. This is because it is easy to understand and survey respondents do not need to spend a lot of time trying to decipher the focus of the survey?
  • Using a rating scale for data collection helps you to save time; especially when creating an online survey using data-gathering platforms like Formplus.
  • A rating scale is also a convenient method of opinion sampling.

Disadvantages of a Rating Scale 

  1. It is subject to data limitations. A rating scale does not allow you to gather specific data about a respondent’s experiences. While it may reveal a respondent’s overall disposition to a product or service, it doesn’t collect any information about the reason for such behavior
  2. A rating scale addresses the focus of the research comparatively rather than individually. Hence, while it can tell you about the feeling and perceptions of the respondent, it does not let you in on the reason for this perception.
  3. A rating scale is subject to limited reliability. This means that it cannot be totally relied on in research; especially in qualitative research.
  4. It is also subject to substantial variations.
  5. Because it is easy to use, a rating scale can easily be misinterpreted; especially when the data analysis process is not handled by a professional.
  6. It is not an effective business management tool.


When choosing a rating scale, it is important to take your research process and the overall purpose of the systematic investigation into consideration. This is because some rating scales are better suited for certain types of research than others, for example, a numerical rating scale is better suited for quantitative research. 

There are different types of rating scales including the Likert scale, radiofrequency scale, and the heart rating scale. You can create these different scales easily in the Formplus builder by clicking on or dragging and dropping your preferred rating scale fields into your form. 

  • busayo.longe
  • on 11 min read


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