Using Rating Scales in Your Surveys

Transform your insight generation process

Use our in-depth online survey guide to create an actionable feedback collection survey process.


Rating Scale Net Promoter Score
Table of Contents

Rating scales have been popularly used by brands to collect customer feedback on product or service reviews. These questions are easy to recognize and understand and sometimes respondents don’t even need to read the question. We see smiley or star ratings and know what to do. 

In this blog, we will discuss the different types and how you can use them in your surveys to collect customer feedback. 

What is a Rating Scale?

This type of scale is one of the most commonly used questionnaire types for online and offline surveys. It consists of close-ended questions along with a set of categories as options for respondents. It helps gain information on the qualitative and quantitative attributes.

The most common example is the Likert scale, star rating, and slider. For instance, when you visit an online shopping site, it asks you to rate your shopping experience. 

It is a popular choice for conducting market research. It can gather more relative information about a product or certain aspects of the product. Leverage the best market research software that offers you various types of rating scale questions. 

The scale is commonly used to gain feedback or to evaluate. It can be used to gain insight into the performance of a product, employee satisfaction or skill, customer service performance, etc.

Rating Scale Net Promoter Score

What are the two categories of rating scale data?

It is divided into two categories: ordinal scale and interval scale. Some data are measured at the ordinal level, and some at the interval level.

👉Ordinal Scale: An ordinal scale gathers data by putting them in a rank without a degree of difference.

👉Interval Scale:  An interval scale measures data with equal distance between two adjacent attributes.

Robust online survey tools should allow you to create interactive surveys with rating questions to keep the respondents engaged. 

Now that we have learned what it is and the two categories of the collected data, let’s look into the different types. 

What are the types of rating scales?

You can use this type of scale in your survey in six different ways. These six scales gather data based on the categories mentioned above. 

  1. Numeric scale. 
  2. Verbal scale. 
  3. Slider scale. 
  4. Likert scale.
  5. Graphic scale. 
  6. Descriptive scale. 

Researchers should ensure that the survey software they use enables them to create surveys with various question types. We have explained these six types in detail to help you determine the right time to use the right question. 

1. Numeric rating scale or NRS

  • A numeric scale uses numbers to identify the items in a scale. However, not all numbers need to have an attribute attached to them.
  • For example, you can ask your target audience to rate your product from 1 to 5 on a scale. You can put 1 as totally dissatisfied and 5 as totally satisfied.

2. Verbal rating scale or VRS:

  • Verbal scales are used for pain assessment. Also known as verbal pain scores and verbal descriptor scale compiles a number of statements describing pain intensity and duration.
  • For instance, when you go to a dentist, you are asked to rate the intensity of your tooth pain. At that time, you receive a scale with items like “none,” “mild,” “moderate,” “severe,” and “very severe.”

3. Visual analog scale or Slider scale:

  • The idea behind VAS is to let the audience select any value from the scale between two endpoints. In the scale, only the endpoints have attributes allotted to numbers, and the rest of the scale is empty. 
  • Often just called a slider scale, the audience can rate whatever they want without being restricted to particular characteristics or rank.
  • For example, a scale rating ranges from extremely easy to extremely difficult, with no other value allotted.

Transform your insight generation process

Create an actionable feedback collection process.

Rating Scale Net Promoter Score

4. Likert scale:

  • A Likert scale is a useful tool for effective market research to receive feedback on a wide range of psychometric attributes. The agree-disagree scale is particularly useful when your intention is to gather information on frequency, experience, quality, likelihood, etc.
  • For example, to evaluate employee satisfaction with company policies, a Likert scale is a good tool to use.

5. Graphic rating scale:

  • Instead of numbers imagine using pictures, such as stars or smiley faces to ask your customers and audience to rate. 
  • The stars and smiley faces can generate the same value as a number.

6. Descriptive scale:

  • In certain surveys or research, a numeric scale may not help much. A descriptive scale explains each option for the respondent. 
  • It contains a thorough explanation for the purpose of gathering information with deep insights.

You can use these six types in your surveys to make it an engaging and fun experience for the survey takers. Robust online survey tools offer a diverse range of question types, such as rating scales, ranking scales, MCQs, etc.

What are the advantages of using rating scales in surveys?

We have discussed the factors that contribute to the popularity of this question type, among others. 

  • It is a simple and easy-to-understand question type for both the researcher and the audience. 
  • It doesn’t take too much of the respondents’ time. 
  • There are various types of scales to help you create an engaging survey. 
  • In terms of marketing surveys, this scale is a valuable tool for data analysis. It can gain product review for evaluation and a further improvement in marketing strategy.

What are the disadvantages of rating scales?

Let’s also see the disadvantages of using this scale in surveys. 

  • It does not help collect the reason behind a customer review. 
  • It gets access to the overall experience but not the reason behind the audience’s perception.
  • In the case of VRS, the scale may oftentimes overestimate the patient’s pain experience. In addition, patients with limited vocabulary may not understand the statements in a verbal descriptor scale.

Looking for the best Survey Platform?

Voxco is the leading online survey tool that annually powers more than 50Mn+ surveys.

Rating Scale Net Promoter Score

When to use the rating scale in your survey questionnaire?

The scale allows you to gather a large volume of quantifiable responses. The data you gather can help you identify patterns in feedback and determine what needs priority. 

You can use it to gather information on a particular topic. For example, you can use it in market research surveys to collect the following data:

  • Customer review about an app they are using.
  • Customer satisfaction with the delivery service of a courier company.
  • Likelihood of recommending a café to a friend.
  • Rate a list of brands from least to most favorite.

You can use it to gather information about a service or product from the target audience for the purpose of comparison and analysis.

For instance, if you plan to start a business, this scale will give you awareness of the current market demand. With the information gained, you can strategize your scheme.

Wrapping up;

This sums up all you need to know about rating scales. However, here are some tips to ensure that your scale questions are easy to understand for the audience. 

  1. Assign clear and precise labels to the endpoints of your scale. 
  2. Avoid response bias by including both endpoints in your question ( satisfied/dissatisfied, easy/not easy, likely/not likely, etc.).
  3. It’s better to make 1 the negative and the other end 5 or 10 as the positive point. 
  4. Use odd scales to offer a neutral point for the audience. 

Various rating scale question types are available in Voxco’s market research software, each serving a different purpose. Hence, before selecting a scale, it is important to figure out the purpose of the survey and the kind of information you wish to gain.

Read more

Good Net Promoter Score NPS CVR

Net Promoter Score Program

Net PromoterScore® Program See what question types are possible with a sample survey! Try a Sample Survey Table of Contents 01 What is Net Promoter

Read More »