Market Research Training

The Importance of Scale Selection in Questionnaire Design

It’s widely accepted among market research professionals that scale choice is a critical part of the questionnaire design process. Unfortunately, not all of us have this planning process down pat. The good news is that you can learn this skill, but it takes both proper guidance and practice.

Like many things in life, we tend to put more emphasis on end results than the preliminary work and prep it takes to achieve ideal outcomes. If you’re not careful, the same can be true with questionnaire design.

Making the wrong choices or not putting enough effort into scale selection can doom a survey’s ultimate data quality. With this in mind, here are some initial questions to ask yourself when determining if you have thoroughly vetted your chosen scales:

  • Are the chosen scales worded and formatted clearly?
  • Are the chosen scales too complicated for the target population?
  • Are the chosen scales precise enough to yield actionable data?
  • Will the chosen scales encourage honest, candid responses?

This last point is critical, as part of professional questionnaire design also requires selecting scales and wording questions to mitigate the risks of bias. The most common types of bias that can sneak into questionnaires include:

  • Social desirability bias
  • Acquiescence bias
  • Extreme response bias

It’s crucial that you can navigate this risk pool when designing successful survey projects. If this area is new to you, or if you would just like to brush up on your survey design skills, don’t fret…Research Rockstar is here to help. Beginning on Thursday, October 5th, we are offering a 4-week training program covering this very topic: Questionnaire Design 201: Scale Selection.

Course Details

During this course, Instructor Greg Timpany covers various ranking and rating scales, including Likert, semantic differential, constant sum, and more. The class also delves into decisions related to the choice of even versus odd scales, number of points (5? 7? 10? 11?), and related topics. Instructor Timpany will also cover scale selection considerations for both online and telephone data collection. Join our 4-week course, and learn:

  • What are scales?
  • What scales and answer option types (with examples) are used by professional researchers?
  • What types of survey bias exist and how can scale selection address them?
  • What data analysis limitations do different scales have?
  • What considerations do I need to account for by data collection mode?
  • What best practices can I use in my next project?

This course meets once a week for 90 minutes per day, for 4 consecutive weeks.

Not for you? Consider this…

If this course breakdown seems a bit more than you need at the moment, then we have a separate option available for you. For survey project newbies, our own Kathryn Korostoff is teaching, 10 Point Checklist for Questionnaire Design: Practical Tips for Market Researchers, on November 3rd. Be sure to check out this one-off, 90-minute crash-course.

We’ll see you in class!

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This post is from the Research Rockstar team. We want everyone to have access to the training and resources they need to become Research Rockstars!

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