Rank Order Thurstone scale

Survey Features

Rank Order Questions

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When a person makes a decision that is impacted by several circumstances, each of these aspects has a distinct priority in the decision-making process. To establish how they were prioritized, you can use a rank order question.

Market researchers typically utilize ranking questions to identify what product, feature, or service is more popular with buyers. It is utilized for market research during the pre-and post-production phases.

Let’s see how you can use rank question types in your surveys.

What is a rank order question?

A ranking question asks respondents to compare and arrange a list of things in order of preference. 

It is essentially used in product development before a new product’s launch to gauge the product’s potential success. Before launching a new product, a company must first understand what its target market values the most.

Additionally, you can also use rank survey questions before upgrading a product or app to understand what consumers desire in an upgrade.

But other than product development, rank order question is used in many aspects of market research, such as in competitor analysis, product demand, product popularity, and more.

How are the rank order question points determined?

The ranking question asks respondents to rank items in order of preference, giving you comparative data. You may use this question type to 

  • have respondents rate numerous things in order of preference; 
  • utilize your customers’ help to pick which products to add to your store or offer first;
  • understand which products your consumers like and want most; 
  • understand where your brand stands in the competition.

What are the benefits of rank order scales?

The rank survey question is a simple yet engaging question type. While the respondent does not have to spend much time on the question, you can gather insightful data at the end. 

Apart from survey benefits, the question also contributes to business benefits. Here are the benefits of using the rank order scale;

  • Ranking scales provide insight into what is important to your respondents. 
  • This is a useful business tool since it provides a statistical breakdown of your target audience’s preferences depending on what you need to know. 
  • If you are making a business choice and have several options to consider, data from a ranking scale may give you a better understanding of how to please your audience, depending on their priority.

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What are the uses of the rank order scale?

Here you will learn about the uses of the ranking scale;

  • Rank order questions are useful for swiftly gathering input. Respondents find it simple to answer and do not have to spend time typing their responses as they would with open-ended questions.
  • Your team may have numerous ideas to improve the customer experience, but all cannot be implemented at the same time. They can design a rank order poll and ask their consumers to assess the ideas on a scale of “least” to “extremely” important.
  • Rank order surveys can help set the foundation of secondary research. For example, you can identify the potential areas for product development which creates a foundation for validating the findings with follow-up secondary research.

What are the various rank-order question types?

We have listed 4 types of rank-order questions here. Let’s take a look. 

1. Radio buttons

A radio button question in the format shown in the image can help you discover customers’ choices or preferences. 

Rank Order Thurstone scale

2. The star scale

You can also use a star rating to make the survey engaging and fun. The greatest number of checked stars decides the difference in this scenario. Furthermore, the more the number of stars, the higher the priority.

Rank Order Thurstone scale

3. The constant sum

A constant sum question invites responders to give numerical values for each variable under consideration.  These values, however, must add up to a certain total. It is used when the intention is to compare rank.

Rank Order Thurstone scale

Each entry the responder makes is tallied up and displayed to the respondent. It is most commonly used when asking for financial or percentage inquiries.

4, Using drag and drop

Respondents can re-order their preferred choice by dragging and dropping them in this type of rank order question. It allows the respondent to arrange the answer selections in the order that best suits their preferences.

Rank Order Thurstone scale

Market researchers utilize drag-and-drop questions because they are the most interactive.

What is the major distinction between rating and ranking scales?

Consider the following two possibilities.

“How much do you like to eat ice cream?”


This is a rating scale since the strength of a choice is shown here.

The following…

“How would you rank ice cream, pastry, and pies in terms of likeness?” 

“1st choice = Ice cream, 

2nd choice = Pies, 

3rd choice = Pastry.”

This is a ranking scale since we can see the priority of all alternatives here.

That is the main distinction between the two scales. One assesses the strength quantitatively, while the other displays a priority among all accessible possibilities.

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Undoubtedly, rank order questions are one of the most crucial components of a market research survey. It assists market researchers and organizations determine their customers’ preferences and priorities.

It enables survey respondents to compare different goods by arranging them according to how they score (or rank) in a given attribute, such as design, pricing, utility, or importance.

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Rank Order Thurstone scale

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