Survey Scale

A Survey scale is an ordered series of response options, presented verbally or numerically from which the respondents select to indicate their level of feeling about the measured attribute. More properly this type of questioning calculates a composite score of a number of questionnaire questions that each measure the same attribute.


This guide will teach you the following types of survey scales:

  1. Dichotomous Scales
  2. Rating Scales
  3. Semantic Differential Scales

1. Dichotomous Scales

A dichotomous scale is a two-point scale that presents options that are absolutely opposite to each other. This type of response option does not give the respondent an opportunity to be neutral on his answer to a question.


  • Yes - No
  • True - False
  • Fair - Unfair
  • Agree - Disagree

2. Rating Scales

Three-point, five-point, and seven-point scales are all included in the umbrella term “rating scale”. This questioning provides more than two options, in which the respondent can answer in neutrality over a question being asked.


3. Semantic Differential Scales

A semantic differential scale is only used in specialist questionnaires in order to gather data and interpret them based on the connotative meaning of the respondent’s answer. It uses a pair of clearly opposite words, where the respondent is asked to rate an object, person, or any concept by putting a mark on one of the spaces along each dimension.

Examples of a semantic differential scale:

  • Inexpensive [  ]  [  ]  [  ]  [  ]  [  ] Expensive
  • Effective [  ]  [  ]  [  ]  [  ]  [  ] Ineffective

Survey Scale- example of semantic differential scale

Try out Rating and NPS question types in Pointerpro.


Check out the entire glossary list in a printable list.

What's next?

  • Discrete scale like counts, are numeric data that have a finite number of possible values and can only be whole numbers. Discrete data arise from observations that can only take certain numerical values. Fractions are meaningless. In some situations, mathematical functions or calculations are not possible either. 
  • Interval scale has intervals which each have the same interpretation and do not have a "true" zero point, therefore it is not possible to make statements about how many times higher one score is than another. One unit represents the same magnitude on the trait or characteristic being measured across the whole range of the scale. 
  • Likert scale questions present the respondent with a statement and asks for his/her level of agreement with the statement by selecting a rating point. These points have often verbal statements or numbers attached to them. The values should be balanced between positive and negative agreement options.
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