How to Analyze Likert Scales


Likert scales, frequently used in survey research, measure respondents' attitudes by asking how strongly they agree or disagree with a set of questions or statements. A typical scale might consist of the following response categories: strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree, and strongly disagree. Numerical coding of the responses allows researchers to analyze Likert scale data with descriptive and inferential statistical methods.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with spreadsheet software
  • Statistics book or manual

Analyzing Likert Scale Data

  • Code the responses by assigning a numerical value to each. Suppose, for example, we ask respondents how much they agree or disagree with ten actions taken by Congress. The response categories are strongly agree, agree, unsure/undecided, disagree, and strongly disagree. We might code the responses as follows: strongly agree = 1, agree = 2, undecided = 3, disagree = 4, and strongly disagree = 5. You can enter these data on an Excel spreadsheet for analysis.

  • Depict the range of responses visually with bar charts that display the number and percentage of respondents who expressed agreement, disagreement, etc., with each position covered in your survey.

  • Summarize your Likert scale data using descriptive statistics. Exercise caution in this step. A common mistake is to calculate a numerical average, or mean value of the coded responses. This is not a valid method for analyzing Likert scale data, which are ordinal in nature. As an alternative, summarize your Likert scale data with the mode, or the most frequent response. For example, if "agree" was the most frequent response to an item, the mode would be the numerical value assigned to that response.

  • Explore the data further with inferential statistical techniques. Many such techniques exist, and the most appropriate one will depend on the exact nature of your study. Analysis of variance is one approach. For the example in Step 1, you could analyze responses with the respondent's gender as an independent variable, examining the difference in responses between male and female survey participants. Factor analysis, which tries to explain responses as a function of underlying factors, is also used frequently.

Tips & Warnings

  • Excel is a suitable tool for analyzing Likert scale data. The spreadsheet program can create bar charts and other graphics, and can conduct descriptive statistical analyses. It can perform some, though not all, inferential analyses.

Related Searches


  • The Practice of Social Research, Earl Babbie, 1998
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • How to Convert Likert Scales

    Likert scales are scales that measure agreement with a statement in a survey. For example, a statement might be “Caravaggio was a...

  • How to Use the Likert Scale in Statistical Analysis

    If you want to understand how effective students or parents think a teacher is across several different categories, a survey using a...

  • How to Use Data Analysis in MS Excel

    Excel, the spreadsheet program in Microsoft’s popular Office software package, is a powerful application used to manage various types of data. Excel’s...

  • How to Average Likert Scales

    Likert scales are commonly used tools in research. This type of evaluation method consists of numbers 1 through 5, which correlate with...

  • How to Interpret Likert Surveys

    Many graduate-level research projects involve distributing surveys and analyzing the results that come in. The Likert scale is one of the more...

  • How to Create Bar Charts From Likert Scale Results

    Presenting survey results accurately and clearly is just as important as how you conduct the survey. Presented well, the results of a...

  • Types of Likert Scales

    Likert scales are used in research interviews to measure the responses of survey participants. The researcher gives a statement or question and...

Related Searches

Check It Out

Can You Take Advantage Of Student Loan Forgiveness?

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!