Survey Rating Scales – Good to Bad

survey rating scales - good to bad or bad to good

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Survey Rating Scales: Good to Bad or Bad to Good?

Have you ever stopped to think about how the order of the rating options on a survey can influence someones answers? It’s true! We often get asked the pros and cons of having good to bad vs bad to good survey scales. SurveyStance has received millions of feedback rates and the impact the survey response scale has on the feedback rate is shocking.

First off, there are no rules you are required to follow when crafting surveys.  There are so many factors that impact the feedback survey results, the input answer scale is just one of many. We’ll share some tips for crafting effective questions and provide a few examples to help get you started.

Spoiler Alert…

The average human is more likely to select survey responses toward the left side of the scale. This means, if you have a survey scale that starts with something like Excellent or Strongly Agree then the user is more likely to select those as their survey response.

In some cases we even found that happy customers who gave negative feedback admitted to doing so for reasons like “..answering quickly and just selected the first response I saw”. This is compounded for surveys that have survey questions in the double digits. Survey respondents get in the mode of ‘get this survey over with’ and often will keep clicking away until the survey is over. This is something we can totally relate with and have been guilty of doing this on long surveys as well.

Horizontal Survey Scales

Survey rating scales that are horizontal likart based where the survey responses read from left to right tend to have the biggest effect in the Good to Bad survey scale.

Emoji Survey Scales

Using emoji responses can help survey respondents quickly associate their feedback with one of the question answers. We have also found that using colors to associate good vs bad can help this even further. For example, using bright red to indicate bad or poor responses and using greens to indicate excellent or positive feedback. Even emoji based surveys had a big impact of the survey rating scales.

What is a survey rating scale?

A survey rating scale is a set of defined survey responses that can be used to quickly answer a survey question. The survey rating scale can be numeric (example: 1-10) or qualitative (example: Always – Never). Survey scales can also be picture or emoji based, for example very mad emoji – very happy emoji.

Survey rating scales can be used to collect feedback on anything from customer satisfaction to employee engagement. The survey rating scale is very simple to use in all types of surveys. Ask your respondents to rate a particular topic on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. You can then use the numeric score in various calculations, reports and dashboards to summarize the feedback about the topic in question.

Popular 1-5 rating scale examples for surveys

The rating scale 1-5 poor to excellent can also be used excellent to poor. This is one of the most popular survey scales. Below are some example rating titles for this scale. The 5 point rating scale is also referred to as a likert scale.

  • Excellent, Good, Average, Bad, Terrible
  • Outstanding, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Poor
  • Exceptional, Satisfactory, Neutral, Unsatisfactory, Unacceptable
  • Superb, Good, Fair, Poor, Very Poor
  • Excellent, Very Good, Neutral, Fair, Poor
  • Highly Satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral, Dissatisfied, Highly Dissatisfied

Popular 1-4 rating scale examples for surveys

  • Excellent, Good, Bad, Terrible
  • Highly Effective, Effective, Ineffective, Highly Ineffective
  • Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree
  • Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Always, Often, Rarely, Never
  • Above Expectations, Meets Expectations, Below Expectations, Far Below Expectations

Key Takeaways – Survey Rating Scales

  • Order bias is real. The order in which you present response options can absolutely sway the users choices. For instance, if you offer “strongly agree” first, followed by “somewhat agree,” people might be more likely to pick the former even if their true opinion falls somewhere in between.
  • Ascending scales remove bias while descending scales boot ratings. To minimize bias SurveyStance recommends using an ascending order for response options. This means starting with the most negative or neutral option and moving up to the most positive one since this is the most common. However, if you’re looking to juice up those ratings then start with the positive rating first.
  • Clarity is key. Confusing and ambiguous wording scales will skew results. Ensure your questions are clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid industry jargon and technical terms that might go over the user’s head.

Let’s face it, the hard part of creating a survey is crafting the questions. We find a lot of people asking for ideas around questions to include and recommendation on the survey rating scale survey. Whether you are launching a satisfaction survey or an internal employee feedback survey, rating scale questions are an absolute must and by far the most efficient way to get feedback.

So there you have a comprehensive overview of survey rating scales and how it can impact the results of your next survey outcome. Now get out there and start collecting some feedback! If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to SurveyStance for professional guidance on crafting the perfect survey question and scales anytime.

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