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The Use of Thurstone Scales in Surveys

Market research 04 12
Table of Contents

What is a Thurstone Scale?

Thurstone Scale in Surveys1

A Thurstone scale can be defined as a unidimensional scale that can be used to track respondent behavior, feelings, or attitude toward a particular subject. It does so using a format of ‘agree-disagree’ statements.

The scale presents statements about certain issues or subjects, and each statement is associated with a numerical value. This numerical value indicates whether the respondent’s attitude toward the subject is favourable or unfavourable. Once respondents indicate their feelings toward a statement, a mean score of agreements and disagreements is calculated. This score is meant to be reflective of a respondent’s attitude on the topic. 

The Thurstone scale is similar to the likert scale, however it takes into account the value of each category on the scale while evaluating the final attitude score, and also caters to neutral items.

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Example of a Thurstone Scale Survey

Surveys that employ the use of the Thurstone scale will often present a series of related, dichotomous statements on a particular subject. Here are a few questions that reflect the way statements in a Thurstone scale survey may look:

  1. I enjoy extra curricular activities.
  • Agree
  • Disagree

     2. I am motivated to participate in extracurricular activities.

  • Agree
  • Disagree

     3. I am often so involved in my extracurricular activities that the day goes by quicker.

  • Agree
  • Disagree


How is the Thurstone Scale used?

Thurstone Scale in Surveys2

Thurstone scales are most commonly used in the following surveys:

  • Surveys that measure opinions: The Thurstone scale can produce quantifiable data on the strength of respondents’ opinions in regard to a specific topic.
  • Surveys that gauge sentiment: The Thurstone scale can be used to predict things such as employee turnover rate, or repeat purchases. This scale is often used while measuring customer satisfaction levels and employee engagement.


Steps to Create a Thurstone Scale

  • Outline your Research Question

The first step to create your Thurstone scale is to identify and outline your research question. As you are using a Thurstone scale, you must keep in mind that the statements have to indicate a person’s attitudes on a particular subject.

  • Create a Series of Agree-Disagree Statements

The next step is to generate a series of agree-disagree statements that support the subject in varying degrees. It is helpful to include many statements as it will provide you with clearer and more useful data. 

  • Assign a Score to each Statement

Once you’ve generated your agree-disagree statements, it is now time to assign each statement a score between 1 to 11 based on how strong you believe the statement is. A high score reflects a more supportive position and a low score reflects a more neutral position. Although you can choose to score the statements yourself, you can achieve a lower bias by employing the consensus of a study group. 

  • Ask each Member to Assign a Score

If you’ve employed the use of a study group, you should have each member score the statements based on how strong they believe them to be. You can then calculate the median score of each question and then order the statements in ascending order, from lowest median statements to highest median statements.

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How do you Interpret the Responses of a Thurstone Scale?

Each “agree” answer must be assigned a score between 1 to 11, as discussed above, and each “disagree” answer must be assigned a score of 0. The final score of each respondent’s quiz represents the strength of their opinion. The higher the score, the more supportive their opinion.


Why Choose Voxco for a Thurstone Scale Survey?

These are a few benefits you can enjoy by choosing Voxco to create your Thurstone Scale Survey:

  • Perfect for Thurstone Scale Surveys

Voxco’s survey software facilitates the use of a range of scales, including the Thurstone scale. With Voxco, you not only are able to seamlessly integrate Thurstone scales within your survey, but you can also calculate the median of your scores with just a click.  

  • Omnichannel Survey Solution

Voxco’s omni channel platform allows for centralised survey authoring. This saves time re-programming surveys as you just need to script your survey once and then deploy it across all your channels. Additionally, all survey results are stored and displayed on a single integrated platform.

  • Powerful Dashboards

Voxco’s powerful dashboards create compelling real-time visual data stories as soon as survey responses come in.

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