Question
Asked 20th Jan, 2015

Should we use a 5 or 7 point Likert scale? What's better and why?

As researchers do not agree with the appropriate number of point Likert scale (5, 7...?), I would like to know the main contributions or papers to support both options.

Most recent answer

27th Dec, 2021
Mayada Alkasem
Mardin Artuklu Üniversitesi
مقياس ليكرت هو مجموع الإجابات المحصلة حول "فقرات ليكرت". أما "فقرات ليكرت" (Likert item) فتتألف من قسمين: الجذع (stem) وهي جملة تحدد سلوكية ما، و"السلم" وهو مقياس يستعمل لتحديد درجة الموافقة والاختلاف مع جملة الجذع. مثال:
الجذع: أعتقد أن حكم الإعدام هو حكم جائر
السلم:
أعارض بشدة أعارض لا أعارض ولا أوافق أوافق أوافق بشدة
وعلى الشخص الذي يأخذ الاختبار، اختيار مربع واحد من السلم الذي يماثل ما يقتنع به. والمربع المتوسط هو المربع المحايد. وعادة يتألف السلم من عدد مفرد من الخيارات كما أظهرت الأبحاث أنه من الأفضل استعمال 5 أو 7 خيارات. كما يمكن استعمال رسومات لتحديد مستوى الموافقة. ويعتمد الأسلوب على القياس الثنائي القطب الذي يقيس إما إيجابية أو سلبية الإجابة. وفي بعض الحالات، يحذف الاحتمال المحايد للحث على اتخاذ موقف واضح "مع" أو "ضد" فقرة الجذع.

Popular Answers (1)

Deleted profile
  • In current practice, most rating scales, including Likert-type scales and other attitude and opinion measures, contain either five or seven response categories (Bearden, Netmeyer, & Mobley, 1993; Peter, 1979; Shaw & Wright, 1967).
  • FIVE – POINT
  • A 5 - point Likert-type scale was used to increase response rate and response quality along with reducing respondents’ “frustration level” (Babakus and Mangold 1992). Source Buttle, F. (1996). 
  • A few researchers have, however, reported higher reliabilities for five-point scales (Jenkins & Taber, 1977; Lissitz & Green, 1975; McKelvie, 1978; Remmers & Ewart, 1941),
  • A five-point scale rather than a seven-point scale was chosen for a number of reasons, one being that it became possible to compare reliability coefficients with other research using five-point Likert Scales. Saleh, F., & Ryan, C. (1991).
  • Cox (1980) concluded that the ideal number of item alternatives seemed to be centered on seven, with some situations calling for as few as five or as many as nine. Also of importance was that an odd number of alternatives, i.e., allowing for a neutral response, were preferable. Cox III, E. P. (1980).
  • Previous research has found that a five-point scale is readily comprehensible to respondents and enables them to express their views (Marton-Williams, 1986).
  • The literature suggests that five-point scale appears to be less confusing and to increase response rate (Babakus and Mangold, 1992; Devlin et al., 1993; Hayes, 1992). It has also been suggested that a five-point scale is more appropriate for European surveys (Prentice, 1998). Source Bouranta, N., Chitiris, L., & Paravantis, J. (2009).
  • With a Five - point scale, it is quite simple for the interviewer to read out the complete list of scale descriptors (‘1 equals strongly disagree, two equals disagree …’). Dawes, J. G. (2008). Do data characteristics change according to the number of scale points used? An experiment using 5 point, 7 point and 10 point scales. International journal of market research, 51(1).
  • SEVEN – POINT
  • Symonds (1924) was the first to suggest that reliability is optimized with seven response categories, and other early investigations tended to agree (see Ghiselli, 1955, for a comprehensive review of early research). Source Colman, A. M., Norris, C. E., & Preston, C. C. (1997).
  • Miller (1956) argued that the human mind has a span of absolute judgment that can distinguish about seven distinct categories, a span of immediate memory for about seven items, and a span of attention that can encompass about six objects at a time, which suggested that any increase in number of response categories beyond six or seven might be futile. Colman, A. M., Norris, C. E., & Preston, C. C. (1997).
  • Lewis (1993) found that 7-point scales resulted in stronger correlations with t-test results. Lewis, J. R. (1993).
  • Seven-point Likert scales appear to be more suited to electronic distribution of usability inventories. Finstad, K. (2010).
  • Research confirms that data from Likert items (and those with similar rating scales) becomes significantly less accurate when the number of scale points drops below five or above seven. Johns, R. (2010). Likert items and scales. Survey Question Bank: Methods Fact Sheet, 1.
  • In the light of findings, there is some support for seven-point scales, but the popularity of five-point scales seems to be less justified. Preston, C. C., & Colman, A. M. (2000). 
81 Recommendations

All Answers (67)

20th Jan, 2015
Manfred Hammerl
Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
do you mean rating scale (the response format)?
i prefer 6 point rating scales, because for most purposes there is no need for the middle category.
22nd Jan, 2015
Mohd. Asif Gandhi
NITIE-National Institute of Industrial Engineering
A higher point Likert scale makes it more time consuming for the person answering the questions to take decision. % point scales a quick to discriminate between the different options. Even numbered scales donot have centering. Odd numbered scales have a centering.
22nd Jan, 2015
Emre Sezgin
Nationwide Children's Hospital
It is hard to assess and conceptualize the difference between large scales for participants. If you are not measuring objective results and conducting a social study, thus seeking for individual subjective responses, i recommend you to use 5 points. 
23rd Jan, 2015
Justin P Boren
Santa Clara University
This all depends on the psychometric properties of the measure that you are using. There is much debate over the use of a 5-point scale vs. a 7-point scale (note that a Likert scale is technically 5-points, from strongly agree to strongly disagree...any modification to that is a Likert-type scale). That said, the biggest reason why you would want to go with 7-points (or 9) would be to increase the variance in your measure. However, caution should be taken to avoid distortion due to extreme score bias (many respondents are not inclined to respond to high and low points). 
All that said, you should use the scaling that the authors of the original measure report, as that would be the most valid (and potential reliable) method, since that is what they used to test the psychometric properties of the measure itself. 
3 Recommendations
23rd Jan, 2015
Conrad Ziller
University of Duisburg-Essen
5-point scales are better, here is why http://smr.sagepub.com/content/43/1/73.abstract
2 Recommendations
23rd Jan, 2015
Sameer Virani
Mumbai Educational Trust , SPSS South Asia Pvt ltd
I would suggest odd point , 5 or 7 so that respondents can have neutral opinion, which may be the case in many instances.
1 Recommendation
23rd Jan, 2015
Matt Jans
ICF
Look at John Krosnick's work on this. I don't have the citation handy but he has at least one paper on it, and a relatively recent chapter with Stanley Presser on related questionnaire design questions.
23rd Jan, 2015
Rajasekharan Pillai
Manipal Academy of Higher Education
No hard and fast rule. BUt many researchers use five point scale.
I personally endorse seven point scale.
A Seven point scale is better than five point as the former offers much wider range of stimuli.
23rd Jan, 2015
Robert James McClelland
RMIT International University Vietnam
What matters is that the scale is validated. For example service quality is typically measured using 7 point scales, in technology studies perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness are typically measured using 5 point scales, countless thousands of repeated measures have endorsed the validity of the scales. A researcher cannot really have free choice to have preference IF they are to undertake research with validated scales. The free choice option (if researcher designs) means that the scale is not (yet) validated?
In my institution of HE researchers cannot undertake surveys unless they obtain ethical approval from the institutional ethics committee. If the research involves a survey the first question from the ethical approval committee is "Are the scales to be used validated?"
1 Recommendation
24th Jan, 2015
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
I endorse Matt  Jans suggestion about Jon Krosnik's work (it is Jon). He is the only person I have found who has actually researched this topic.  (Though if you are going to use scales I also suggest you read Scwarz and Hippler's work on the influence of value range on responses.)
A very crude summary of Krosnik is that you should use 5 oint scales for unipolar items and 7 point scales for bipolar items.  Further, you should use item specific scales rather than agree-disagree.  Have a look at some of the work referenced here
1 Recommendation
25th Jan, 2015
Alan Mead
Talent Algorithms Inc.
I don't think you will find vastly different results using 5 or 7 (or 6 or 8) response points. I base that conclusion on my own experiences but also on the lit. review in this chapter co-authored by Krosnik:
I also reviewed the 2014 Revilla, Saris & Krosnick paper referenced by @Ziller above.  I was skeptical about the results--after all there are many contradictory findings (including Alwin & Krosnick, 1991). On one hand, the results shown in Revilla et al are strong and consistent and decline from 5- to 7- to 11-points. On the other hand, the 7- and 11-point conditions were tacked on the end of a 200+ item survey.
So my guess is that Revilla et all actually found that when you ask people 200 questions and then start repeating your questions, respondents respond inattentively, which would be consistent with research on inattentive survey responding (e.g., Meade & Craig, 2012).
Also, if you examine their Table 4, almost all the difference is in "validity" (you can ignore "quality" because q=r*v) and this "validity" is like Cattell's "direct concept validity" but not like any kind of validity recognized by the joint guidelines for psychological tests. Table 4 shows that: (a) the reliability of 5- and 7-point scales were almost identical (0.717 vs. 0.716); (b) 11-point scales were only slightly less reliable (0.709 vs 0.717/0.716); and (c) all three response scales had adequate reliability. So, I don't accept that there are big differences between different scales.
Finally, I'd like to bring up a completely different issue, which is the expected skew of the responses. If respondents are likely to use all five responses of a 5-point scale, then five points is probably plenty.  However, on many kinds of instrument, you can expect a degree of skew in the distribution of responses across the anchors. I once analyzed a colleague's cultural gender ideology scale with questions like "Women's only important role is to be homemakers." and in western samples almost all the sample used one or two of a 5-point response scale (e.g., almost everyone disagreed with the question above). The same thing happens when you measure most facets of job satisfaction (most people are fairly satisfied, except with pay) or supervisor's perceptions of performance (there is a clear ceiling effect). On such scales, it would have been handy to have administered that scale with anchors that are also asymmetrically skewed to try to create more variation in highly skewed responses. It's conceivable (i.e., this is a conjecture) that using more response points would help in this situation.
30 Recommendations
Deleted profile
  • In current practice, most rating scales, including Likert-type scales and other attitude and opinion measures, contain either five or seven response categories (Bearden, Netmeyer, & Mobley, 1993; Peter, 1979; Shaw & Wright, 1967).
  • FIVE – POINT
  • A 5 - point Likert-type scale was used to increase response rate and response quality along with reducing respondents’ “frustration level” (Babakus and Mangold 1992). Source Buttle, F. (1996). 
  • A few researchers have, however, reported higher reliabilities for five-point scales (Jenkins & Taber, 1977; Lissitz & Green, 1975; McKelvie, 1978; Remmers & Ewart, 1941),
  • A five-point scale rather than a seven-point scale was chosen for a number of reasons, one being that it became possible to compare reliability coefficients with other research using five-point Likert Scales. Saleh, F., & Ryan, C. (1991).
  • Cox (1980) concluded that the ideal number of item alternatives seemed to be centered on seven, with some situations calling for as few as five or as many as nine. Also of importance was that an odd number of alternatives, i.e., allowing for a neutral response, were preferable. Cox III, E. P. (1980).
  • Previous research has found that a five-point scale is readily comprehensible to respondents and enables them to express their views (Marton-Williams, 1986).
  • The literature suggests that five-point scale appears to be less confusing and to increase response rate (Babakus and Mangold, 1992; Devlin et al., 1993; Hayes, 1992). It has also been suggested that a five-point scale is more appropriate for European surveys (Prentice, 1998). Source Bouranta, N., Chitiris, L., & Paravantis, J. (2009).
  • With a Five - point scale, it is quite simple for the interviewer to read out the complete list of scale descriptors (‘1 equals strongly disagree, two equals disagree …’). Dawes, J. G. (2008). Do data characteristics change according to the number of scale points used? An experiment using 5 point, 7 point and 10 point scales. International journal of market research, 51(1).
  • SEVEN – POINT
  • Symonds (1924) was the first to suggest that reliability is optimized with seven response categories, and other early investigations tended to agree (see Ghiselli, 1955, for a comprehensive review of early research). Source Colman, A. M., Norris, C. E., & Preston, C. C. (1997).
  • Miller (1956) argued that the human mind has a span of absolute judgment that can distinguish about seven distinct categories, a span of immediate memory for about seven items, and a span of attention that can encompass about six objects at a time, which suggested that any increase in number of response categories beyond six or seven might be futile. Colman, A. M., Norris, C. E., & Preston, C. C. (1997).
  • Lewis (1993) found that 7-point scales resulted in stronger correlations with t-test results. Lewis, J. R. (1993).
  • Seven-point Likert scales appear to be more suited to electronic distribution of usability inventories. Finstad, K. (2010).
  • Research confirms that data from Likert items (and those with similar rating scales) becomes significantly less accurate when the number of scale points drops below five or above seven. Johns, R. (2010). Likert items and scales. Survey Question Bank: Methods Fact Sheet, 1.
  • In the light of findings, there is some support for seven-point scales, but the popularity of five-point scales seems to be less justified. Preston, C. C., & Colman, A. M. (2000). 
81 Recommendations
Deleted profile
  • A positive relationship exists between the number of scale points and the reliability of the measure over the normal range. Churchill Jr, G. A., & Peter, J. P. (1984). 
  • A seven-point instead of a five-point Likert-type scale was used. Such a change should help reliability (Churchill and Peter, 1984) and has no effect in a factor analysis (Barnes et al., 1994). Source Pitt, L., Caruana, A., & Berthon, P. R. (1996).
  • Barnes et al. (1994) argue that a switch to seven-point scales has no effect on principal components analysis but often improves the reliability of answers.
  • Consequently, it was decided to adopt the commonly used seven-point Likert-type scoring (Likert, 1932a, 1932b) for all items, since the use of seven-point scales may improve reliability and validity (Churchill and Peter, 1984) as well as all response rates (Malhotra, 1993). Source Ogbonna, E., & Harris, L. C. (2000).
4 Recommendations
31st Oct, 2016
Malek Sghaier
Institut Supérieur de Gestion de Tunis
Several papers discussed how to determine the number of scale points in a Likert-type scale.
- Effect of the number of scale points on reliability: A Monte Carlo approach. Lissitz, Robert W. and Green, Samuel B.
- Do Data Characteristics Change According to the Number of Scale Points Used? An Experiment Using 5 Point, 7 Point and 10 Point Scales. John G. Dawes
- Why we should not use 5-point Likert scales: The case for subjective quality of life measurement. Cummins, R.A. and Gullone, E.
- The mid-point on a rating scale: Is it desirable. R Garland
Good luck!
3 Recommendations
8th Nov, 2017
Sriyogi Kottala
Depends on your target respondents, if your respondents have wide knowledge on questionnaire items you can go with 7 scale. wider the scale you expect respondents have more knowledge as even in some cases scale of 13 are used.. But to get more responses/accuracy generally 5 scale is used.... how ever game of perception...
2 Recommendations
9th Nov, 2017
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
There is a lot of useful information in this thread, particularly Alan's very insightful analysis of the research and his challenge about how to deal with issues where most respondents will go to one extreme of a scale. However, there are a number of implicit issues that probably need to be teased out: the number of points (still not resolved), the difference between psychometric scales and sociological use; what kinds of analysis are appropriate.
Much of the discussion appears to assume, and in one instance state, that people weigh a range of options and choose the one that best matches their experience, preferences etc. Cognitive research suggests this is not what happens at all. Ostrom argues that in fact our cognition is largely categorical, we assess phenomena, including ourselves as belonging in a category or not. Schwarz and Hippler showed how that worked with scales; people categorise themselves as being in certain groups in relation to the question (I watch more TV than most; I support equality for women; I am a Republican; I support freedom of expression; etc.) and then use the range provided in the scale to find a position on the scale that matches their self-perception. In other words people generally use the information provided by the anchor points of the scale as information about the range of social behaviours and then find a point that fits their self-perceived categorisation.
For this reason, I really don't see much point in going beyond a 7 point scale for any question.
Nor should the data in sociological uses be treated as scalar (despite Krosnik's arguments that anchoring works to provide scale).
I also think one has to be careful about framing questions to avoid the sort of 'skew' to which Alan refers, unless of course one want to identify how many people do NOT want to present as adhering to the social norms. The more one's questions reflect the range of social responses, the more 'accurate' the answers will be. (This of course poses a chicken and egg question for researcher.)
An important inference from the research is that most self-reported data is about self-presentation and not some underlying 'true' state. In so far as we analyse the data it should be seen as evidence about self-presentation (to oneself as much as to others) not necessarily as evidence of behavioural or attitudinal preferences (the women's role question is a good example of why this is an issue).
Finally, the paragraph above also points to the value of scales in psychometric use. In psychometric usage an individual's responses are analysed as a whole (or at least in groups of questions around a concept) to come to a conclusion about the individual's mental state or preferences. Similarities and differences in responses to related items are core data for the analysis.
The sociological use of scales is more problematic because it rarely does anything of the kind. (The use of factor analysis, or principal component analysis are rare in sociological uses - though moderately common in market research.) Often there is only one question (occasionally two) on each separate concept; and the data from each scale is usually treated as if it is, by itself, a more or less accurate representation of some personal attribute. Few researchers analyse the pattern of an individual's responses or use that analysis to assess how to interpret and assess the response (some use weightings when 'bias' is observed but even then the assumption is largely that each item is separately valid data with a 'bias' that can be 'corrected'). And, despite our knowledge that individuals have different preferences in responding to questions (affirmation bias; tendency to the middle, tendency to extremes), it is also rare for researchers to use the pattern of an individual's responses to weight the answers given.
3 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2018
Eldard Mukasa
Cavendish University
It will depend on what you exactly want to measure. On issues of service delivery, quality of output, a 7 scale can suffice. However, when you come to consolidation( combining), they all lead to the same as lower scales. But you must be sure to avoid repetitions and mixing answers
2 Recommendations
11th Jul, 2018
Abdullah Noori
Kabul University
Hi,
Although there is a debate about what Likert scale to use in the questionnaires, I personally prefer 5 point Likert Scale comparing to 7 or 10 point Likert Scale.
According to Dawes (2008), with a Five - point scale, it is quite simple for the interviewer to read out the complete list of scale descriptors, and it is also quite simple to analyze the research data.
Reference: Dawes, J. (2008). Do data characteristics change according to the number of scale points used? An experiment using 5-point, 7-point and 10-point scales. International journal of market research, 50(1), 61-104.
Best
3 Recommendations
23rd Aug, 2018
Riaz Ahmad
Universiti Utara Malaysia
There is large debate on the 5 point and 7 point scale. According to Olakunke (2003) 5 point scale is better as it provides a better way to communicate with the respondents.
28th Sep, 2018
Mohammad Akhtar
In my opinion 7 point scale is better as it provide more wide option. The drawback of 5-point scale is that respondent many a time prefer to tick middle (i.e.3) which is neutral option (neither dis-satisfied nor satisfied) whereas in 7-point scale due to increase in option, likelyhood of such option gets reduced comparatively. You can use 1-10 scale which is also being used by many surveys!
9th Aug, 2019
Jigeesh Nasina
ICFAI Business School
The main factor that can decide whether to go with 5- or 7- point scale depends on the knowledge and clear understanding of the extant of sensitive difference between agreement levels among the neighboring points on the scale. In my opinion, in order to avoid confusion and get reliable answer, 5- point scale is better than 7- point scale.
1 Recommendation
13th Aug, 2019
Zaphaniah Isa
University of Jos
There is no preferred measurement in likert scale.You can use 4,5,6,7 or 8 will give you the same result.
1 Recommendation
14th Aug, 2019
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
Zaphaniah Isa Its lovely to see a post from someone at Jos, I was born there and visited in March this year. I hope things are going well for you.
But turning to the content of this thread, I sometimes feel as if some researchers are more interested in simplifying their analysis than getting the most reliable results. I often read or hear researchers talking about forcing people to answer one way or another (commonly when arguing for even numbered scales or for not giving "Don't know" options). I question the ethical basis for such a position. Further, such an approach seems to me to be totally against the idea of objective and/or rigorous research. Physicists who try to force experiments to give particular answers would never get published.
More generally, I suggest you read the posts in this thread and the accompanying references from Malek Sghaier and the anonymous post which has the most views. Despite Alan Mead's argument I think you do get different results depending on the number of points in the scale. I take his point about respondent fatigue affecting the Revilla, Saris and Krosnik work, but by the same token, respondent fatigue does appear to increase with increases in the number of points above 7. Having a mid-point is also important. By 2012, and despite the 2010 Chapter he co-wrote with Stanley Presser, Krosnik (personal communication) certainly thought 5 points for a uni-polar scale and 7 points for a bi-polar scale were preferred and gave the most reliable results (though it says nothing about the validity of the answers).
The other issue with Likert scales is understanding what they tell you. Schwartz and Hippler's work shows that what you get from Likert scales is a self-assessment of where the respondent sits in relation to other people ( "I watch more TV than most", "I am more satisfied than most" etc.) This is an example of 'satisficing', the process which involves people giving a 'satisfactory' answer rather than consciously working out the answers to the questions. The finding is consistent with the work of cognitive scientists which suggests that people's responses to questions are largely an expression of one dominant answer that emerges after the brain has generated multiple possible answers automatically by implicit cognitive processing (Kahneman calls it the "shotgun"). Sometimes we get two or three "dominant answers" and spend some time deciding between them. But conscious consideration of possible answers is usually limited to what seems fair enough. More significantly, respondents are not aware of the implicit cognitive processes.
So, what does the cognitive science mean for using Likert scales? First, of course, you need to interpret them as indicating self-perception of social position rather than as a direct reflection of the concept asked in the question. Second, five points in a unipolar scale and seven points in a bipolar scale probably give people enough range to feel comfortable locating themselves socially and may explain why one gets more reliable data.
5 Recommendations
14th Aug, 2019
Robert Young
Independent Scholar
You need to remember that what a numerical scale does is to produce a measure on, usually, an interval scale from an essentially qualitative underlying reality, or at best, in subject matters that strictly permit it because of their nature, an underlying rank order reality.
It is true that many factors can be taken into account when deciding how many points of comparison to use (3,5,7 etc), and these allow some estimates to be made of responding characteristics or tendencies of participants in the research, such as extreme avoidance or extreme preference, but the behaviours being observed are response selection behaviours, not differences in the underlying theorised construct. Much of the differences in number of scaling points can be attributed to factors other than validity factors, such as reliability, ease of enumeration of results or calculation of patterns.
When you are turning feelings/preferences/ways of thinking etc into numbers you are simply creating an artefact, a useful artefact, but still only a proxy for what you really want to measure. Never forget that is what you are doing and always remember where all this psychometric stuff came from - from the desire to ape the natural sciences, to produce 'instruments', scales, enumerable outcomes, of a communicative interaction between researcher and subjects or subjects and subjects (whether written, spoken, or based on observation of communication among subjects).
Don't get me wrong. The ability to create sets of numbers allows powerful manipulations and analyses of data which can throw light on underlying human processes of meaning making, action/interaction creation etc. But there is an intervening process of interaction/creation etc in the process of ticking the boxes.
This was brought home powerfully to me when I sought to validate a scale developed in North America with research subjects in Papua New Guinea. I ran a 5 point Likert scale and after each question was answered I asked each subject why they had chosen the answer they had chosen. Content analysis wasn't really necessary, but I did it anyway. The groups I tried the scale with were from about 15 different cultural groups and it showed, in their interpretation of the meanings of questions, of what 'agreeing' and 'disagreeing ' meant, and what the difference between a 1 and a 5 meant, and so on. Salience too was an issue. Some 'topics' were known to respondents only by rumour not by acquaintance. Had I provided a 'we don't think that way in our village' option instead of 'don't know', it would have been used a lot. Some could answer 'hypothetically'. They had heard of this 'issue' and if they were living in a big city they would probably have answered the way they think they would if that were true..but they weren't sure what it was all about, really.
I thought these phenomena might be confined to a naive, multicultural group of respondents, but when genuinely 'open-ended' follow up probes were used in the same way in validating a scale for use in a 'monocultural' study in the metropolis, quite a lot of the same stuff appeared - depending on subject matter there were differences in meaning, salience, significance of responding style etc among people with differing educational levels, age, rural/urban backgrounds, religion, religiosity etc. But those variables were ones I wished to use later to explore differences among subjects and here they were determining the reliability and validity of the scale I was intending to use to collect my data.
Don't talk about creating numbers from the fluidity of meanings and interpretations as if you were comparing lengths against a standard metre rod kept at constant temperature in Paris. Remember what is actually happening, inconvenient though it is.
4 Recommendations
14th Aug, 2019
Bo Zhang
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
28th Jan, 2020
Dr-Imran Latif Saifi
The Islamia University of Bahawalpur
Dear Noelia Sánchez Casado
Can we have a research study on the question mentioned above?
Kindly accept me on linked in, so we can start working togather.
1 Recommendation
4th Mar, 2020
Aysheh Abu Ayyash
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
it is easier for respondents
1 Recommendation
4th Mar, 2020
Dr-Imran Latif Saifi
The Islamia University of Bahawalpur
Respected Aysheh Abu Ayyash
If your population is less than 100 than you can use 7 point likert scale but if it is more than 100 than you may use 5 point likert scale.
6 Recommendations
4th Mar, 2020
Dr-Imran Latif Saifi
The Islamia University of Bahawalpur
10th May, 2020
John Agyekum Addae
Ghana Communication Technology University
2 Recommendations
23rd May, 2020
Harasit Kumar Paul
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University
I feel comfortable with a 5-point Likert scale.
4th Jun, 2020
Hilary Omatule Onubi
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Lissitz, R.W., Green, S.B., (1975), Effect of the number of scale points on reliability: a Monte Carlo approach,  Journal of Applied  Psychology, 60, 10-13.
4 Recommendations
15th Nov, 2020
Nasser Khalufi
Jazan University
I am using a 5-point Likert scale.
1 Recommendation
16th Nov, 2020
Alexis D. Souchet
French National Centre for Scientific Research
7-point or 9-point scales seem better according to Maydeu-Olivares et al. (2017):
"We recommend using a large number of response alternatives (≥ 5) to increase the power to detect incorrect substantive models."
--
Alberto Maydeu-Olivares, Amanda J. Fairchild & Alexander G. Hall (2017) Goodness of Fit in Item Factor Analysis: Effect of the Number of Response Alternatives, Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 24:4, 495-505, DOI: 10.1080/10705511.2017.1289816
11th Dec, 2020
Debaraj Das
Xavier University, Bhubaneswar
Can I change the scale from a 7-point to 5-Point Likert?
2 Recommendations
11th Dec, 2020
Dr-Imran Latif Saifi
The Islamia University of Bahawalpur
I think 7 point Likert scale is better as it give freedom to respondents to record the response with liberty.
12th Dec, 2020
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
Debaraj Das I am not quite sure about the intent of your question. If it is about which is better, have a look at some of the other posts in this thread for a detailed discussion of the pros and cons.
In short, Krosnik and Sara's research suggests that 7 points is better for a bi-polar scale (i.e. Disatisfied to Satisfied) and 5 points is better for a uni-polar scale.
If the question is whether one can change an existing scale from 7 to 5 points, the answer is more complicated. Yes you can: but if the scale has been validated as a 7 point scale, changing to 5 points will invalidate the scale.
1 Recommendation
12th Dec, 2020
Robert Trevethan
Independent author and researcher
David Glyn Roberts, you draw what is probably an important distinction between contexts in which 7-point versus 5-point response options are preferable. Could you provide a reference for Krosnik and Sara, please?
Apart from that, I wonder whether moving from a 7-point to a 5-point range of options automatically invalidates a scale, as you seem to indicate in your post. Might it be the case that there is merely a risk (not a certainty) of invalidating the scale?
I ask mainly because I think a lot of scales possess goofy attributes that possibly invalidate them, and researchers do things with scales that are a lot more goofy than altering the nature of the response options - so in terms of the validity of scales, altering the number of response options is pretty low on the list of priorities.
Please feel free to disagree with me!
12th Dec, 2020
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
As indicated in some of my earlier posts on this question, I think "goofy" is a good description of many of the uses of Likert scales. I have serious reservations about the way Likert scales are used in sociological or opinion research. Not least that:
  • most such scales should be used as a battery of items around one concept
  • the cognitive processes underlying a response to a scale are very different to those assumed by most researchers (see Schwarz and Hippler, Kahneman and others), sorry don't have references with me at the moment, and as a result Likert scales present self-judgements about where the respondent sees herself compared to others. It is NOT good data about how a person might actually behave in other contexts
With regard to the citations I don't have them with me at the moment, and one of them was personal communication from Krosnik. You can however, find them through the other answers to this question or pprg.stanford.edu/.
2 Recommendations
12th Dec, 2020
Robert Trevethan
Independent author and researcher
David Glyn Roberts, thanks for getting back - and I'm glad we can agree about the goofiness of some research(ers). When it doesn't frustrate me, at least it amuses me.
Thanks, also, for the Stanford site. The reference you referred to might be the following:
Revilla, M. A., Saris, W. E., & Krosnick, J. A. (2014). Choosing the number of categories in agree-disagree scales. Sociological Methods and Research, 43, 73-97.
Is that correct?
3 Recommendations
12th Dec, 2020
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
Yes that is one of them. Please note Alan Mead's comments about that research as well. I disagree with him about the implications but he makes some good points.
1 Recommendation
24th Jan, 2021
Hoshiar Mal
Savitribai Phule Pune University
Debaraj Das, you can change from 7 points to 5 points easily: '
If you just collapse 1-2 and 6-7 this supposes that these folks would have ticked the anchors on a 5 point scale.
27th Jan, 2021
Debaraj Das
Xavier University, Bhubaneswar
Thanks to David Glyn Roberts and Hoshiar Mal for your comments. The discussions are interesting. I am mused by the word "goofy" and probably agree to Robert Trevethan. Interestingly, I find the difficulties the respondents face in differentiating. In the following scale, some (or many) may struggle with the choice of 2 vs 3 and of 5 vs 6.
1 – Never true
2 – Rarely true
3 – Sometimes but infrequently true
4 – Neutral
5 – Sometimes true
6 – Usually true
7 – Always true
To me, a 5-Point scale could be a better differentiator. Of course, I agree that converting a validated scale from 7 to 5-point scale may require re-validation.
By the way, I did a pilot study after converting the 7-Point Likert scales to 5-Point. All scale reliabilities look good.
27th Jan, 2021
Robert Trevethan
Independent author and researcher
Debaraj Das, I'm glad my use of "goofy" amused you. I really couldn't think of a better word to describe the kinds of things I see too frequently in publications.
Here is an interesting point that I think is worth pondering: What does the option of "neutral" at #4 above mean when respondents choose it? Might it mean a number of things, including undecided, don't know, or don't understand? I confess that I'm troubled by that kind of option because it could mean a variety of things but is happily fed into analyses.
Incidentally, I think that options 2 and 3 might be a bit difficult to distinguish from each other, but 5 and 6 seem quite different to my eye. Finding the best words for response options is often difficult - but worth trying to get right.
2nd Feb, 2021
Sabri Elkrghli
University of Benghazi
I think that the answer depends on some important issues such as the nature of the respondent (qualification level, age, IQ etc) rate and the culture as well. Each society has its own characteristics that might play a role in providing the more accurate response to the issue being investigated.
2 Recommendations
4th Sep, 2021
Niranjala Tennakoon
Wayamba University of Sri lanka
An interesting and fruitful dialogue. Thank you for all the contributors.
1 Recommendation
5th Sep, 2021
Prakash Kumar Gautam
Shankerdev Campus, Faculty of Management, Tribhuvan University
In my experience, if the dimensions are too vague and the respondents have good understanding on degree of variation in their realization, higher scale would be better. But, many respondents cannot easily differentiate between 6 and 7. In such situation, 5 point would be appropriate. Again, many researchers suggest that respondents may have central tendency orientation, specially in South Asian Society. So, they suggest to use even scale like 4 or 6.
11th Sep, 2021
Maria Esteban
Swinburne University of Technology
From my very brief research and reading into psychological research methods, there seems more agreement that reducing a 10-point Likert scale questionnaire to 7-point scale would provide more accurate responses? And, according to Krosnick & Presser (2010), they also share the same opinion. Can anybody provide any further comments on this? @
11th Sep, 2021
Robert Trevethan
Independent author and researcher
Maria Esteban, the research on this issue has produced inconsistent results, but my experience leads me to favour a 7-point set of response options (even, if possible, with an extra two options to indicate Don't know and Not applicable), but I think it's important to also consider how the options are labelled.
In other words, it's important to consider the overlap of response option features, not each feature independently.
A colleague and I currently have an article under review in which we have demonstrated that a scale with 7 response options that are labelled on the odd-numbered points (i.e., four labels) produces a range of more desirable psychometric attributes than does a scale with 9 response options that has labels only at the extremes.
I hope that this article will be accepted for publication soon - and, if so, it will be in an open-access journal.
11th Sep, 2021
Maria Esteban
Swinburne University of Technology
Thank you Robert Trevethan for your prompt response. Hopefully your article is given approval and I would be keen to read it. I agree it is not so much whether it is a 5 or 7 or 10 point but how the questions are loaded. Thanks again.
11th Sep, 2021
Robert Trevethan
Independent author and researcher
Maria Esteban, you're welcome. If the article is published, I'll try to remember to come back to this thread and provide the citation.
18th Sep, 2021
Olakotan Olusegun
Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Science and Technology Ikere-Ekiti
A 7-point Likert scale will be better since it gives a better reflection of respondents' true evaluation.
18th Sep, 2021
Maria Esteban
Swinburne University of Technology
Thanks Olakotan for your answer. I've decided to go with the 7-point Likert scale option for my study.
18th Sep, 2021
Robert Trevethan
Independent author and researcher
Maria Esteban, the article that I referred to a few posts above here has been accepted for publication. I am currently dealing with the galley proofs, but the citation for it is already available:
Trevethan, R., & Ma, K. (2021). Influence of response-option combinations when measuring sense of efficacy for teaching: Trivial, or substantial and substantive? Frontiers in Education, 6, Article 723141. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2021.723141
I hope the full article will be available soon; only the abstract is currently available, but from the journal's site it's possible to ask to be notified when the full version has been published.
18th Sep, 2021
Mohialdeen Alotumi
Sana'a University
Robert Trevethan, the furnished DOI seems non-functional. The article is on my reading list, I wonder if it is going to be functional soon.
Best,
18th Sep, 2021
Robert Trevethan
Independent author and researcher
Mohialdeen Alotumi, thanks for taking an interest in our research and whether the DOI was working or not. I've just entered the DOI (the one I put into my post above) and it enabled me to find the abstract for our article.
However, it is necessary to do a bit of looking. Sorry for not providing a warning about that. Please go to the lower left-hand corner of the first screen that appears, press View all, then our article should appear among the articles on the next screen that opens up.
If you are interested in seeing the final version. as I mentioned above, it's possible to click on the "Notify me" tab - and the journal will let you know when it's finalized.
'Thanks, again, for your interest.
2 Recommendations
18th Sep, 2021
Robert Ramesh Babu P
Central University of Tamil Nadu
Likert's 5 point scale is much better in my opinion, though at times there is a chance of maintaining neutral answers. Would be happy to get more insight from this discussion...
Babu
1 Recommendation
27th Sep, 2021
Vladimir Vega
Universidad Regional Autónoma de los Andes (UNIANDES Ecuador) + Universidad de Matanzas "Camilo Cienfuegos"
Another option is to use an endecadary scale (11 values), as is often used in fuzzy logic, although its use is much less widespread.
6th Oct, 2021
Jeffrey Martin
Wayne State University
Given there are lots of answers here this topic might have been covered but: if you are using a scale that is already developed it will have predetermined scoring options so there is no choice to make. If you change from a 7 to 5 or vica versa and note this (as you should) in a research submission then it is likely that good reviewers will ask you to justify why you changed the scoring scheme from the original scale developers choice.
2 Recommendations
22nd Oct, 2021
Kenneth Ikenwa
University of Lagos
In my view a 7-point Likert scale improves the sensitivity of the scale and this results from improving the respondent stimuli and non-biased responses. Where this is the case, both respondents biased, confirmation bias and common method biased is reduced in data collection and data analysis processes. Overall, a 7-point Likert scale increases the methodological robustness of a study. But this doesn’t come without some data collection challenges on the part of respondents.
30th Nov, 2021
Mosharop Hossian
7-point scales are a little better than 5-points—but not by much (Nunnally 1978). But, you should seek help from existing literature before forming your questionnaire.
If you are overwhelmed with low frequencies for some of the options, be practical. You can re-categorize the options depending on the closeness of the options (like what Jorge Ortiz Pinilla suggested here - https://www.researchgate.net/post/How_to_convert_or_deminish_a_7point_likert_scale_to_5point_likert_scale_in_SPSS).
30th Nov, 2021
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
There is research by Saris and Krosnik that shows that 5-point scales are best for Agree-Disagree questions and 7 points for item specific questions
2 Recommendations
30th Nov, 2021
David Glyn Roberts
University of Melbourne
yep
27th Dec, 2021
Mayada Alkasem
Mardin Artuklu Üniversitesi
مقياس ليكرت الخماسي الأكثر استخداما في قياس الاتجاهات في البحوث الإنسانية مصمم خماسي وليس سباعي

Similar questions and discussions

Which method should I use to present the Mean of a 5-point Likert scale?
Question
90 answers
  • Amal MohammedAmal Mohammed
Hi everyone. I am working on my quantitative chapter of my thesis and I would like to ask you about handling close ended questions using 5-point Likert scale questionnaire. My questionnaire is looking at students’ perspective towards a course called (Intensive English as a foreign language).
I have been looking at literature and I find it more confusing when it comes to cell range. I came across two methods of Mean distribution of the findings.
First method:
To determine the minimum and the maximum length of the 5-point Likert type scale, the range is calculated by (5 − 1 = 4) then divided by five as it is the greatest value of the scale (4 ÷ 5 = 0.80). Afterwards, number one which is the least value in the scale was added in order to identify the maximum of this cell. The length of the cells is determined below:
  • From 1 to 1.80 represents (strongly disagree).
  • From 1.81 until 2.60 represents (do not agree).
  • From 2.61 until 3.40 represents (true to some extent).
  • From 3:41 until 4:20 represents (agree).
  • From 4:21 until 5:00 represents (strongly agree).
Second method is the traditional way:
  •  mean score from 0.01 to 1.00 is (strongly disagree);
  •  to 2.00 is (disagree);
  • from 2.01 until 3.00 is (neutral);
  • 3.01 until 4:00 is (agree);
  • mean score from 4.01 until 5.00 is (strongly agree)
My questions are:
1             Which method should I use to present findings?
2             When and why the first method is used?
My intention is to apply a descriptive analysis by presenting: Frequencies, Mean and Standard Deviation of the questions them the total mean of each theme.
I really appreciate your help in this manner.
Best regards,
Amal

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