Likert scales

A list of attitude statements about the topic under investigation is generated from depth and semi-structured interviews. This list is then tested on a sample of, say, 100 respondents. Each respondent is asked to score every statement on a five-point scale:

1. agree strongly

2. agree slightly

3. neither agree nor disagree

4. disagree slightly

5. disagree strongly.

Results from the sample are analysed and some statements are eliminated from the scale, so that the statements remaining are those which discriminate best in measuring attitudes to the topic under test. The scale is then administered to a representative sample of respondents, usually as part of a wider questionnaire survey. Responses are scored from 1 to 5. The final result is an average score that represents overall attitude on the subject and measures the degree of respondents' feeling about it. However, since the score total can be arrived at in a number of ways, it is usually useful to look at the pattern of responses as well as the total. (In the example shown in Figure 6.1, it would be interesting to see how different age or social class groups in the sample answered the question, as well as looking at the overall response.)

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Figure 6.1: Likert scales. These are used to qualify the respondents' reaction to a question on a scale ranging from one extreme to the other; for example, from 'very good' through 'good', 'fair', 'poor' to 'very poor'

Statistical analysis (see Chapter 10, Section 10.3.3) of this multidimensional data can also identify groups of responses that have something in common. If these grouped responses are held by a sufficient number of the sample, they can indicate separate market segments. Since the attitude clusters of these segments are different, it follows that they are likely to respond to different marketing approaches. This information is extremely useful to the marketing planner.

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