Using the Likert Item on Forms

A Likert item is a measurement that offers respondents choices on a scale. Scales typically go from three to seven choices. There are three key components of an effective Likert item.

  1. Instructions: The instructions guide respondents to read the prompt statement and select from among the choices which best represents their opinion or view (i.e. “Please select which of the following best represents your opinion of OrgSync.”).
  2. Stem: This is the statement of attitude or opinion that respondents consider when responding (i.e. “OrgSync is awesome.”).
  3. Scale: These are the scaled responses in order from lowest to highest. Check out Clemson’s list of types of scales for Likert items for different types of Likert scales (i.e. "Strongly disagree, disagree, neither disagree or agree, agree, strongly agree).

Why Use a Likert Item?

Likert items are used to measure a response on a scale. You would use this for measuring attitudes, satisfaction, frequency, importance, learning, etc. The Likert item allows respondents to consider both if, and to what extent, they may have an opinion or experience related to a specific topic.

Tips for Best Practices

  1. Only include one item of measurement in the stem statement. Including more than one makes it difficult for a respondent to use one scale to rate more than one item. Incorrect: The OrgSync Connect Conference was helpful to my work and I plan to come back next year. Correct: The OrgSync Connect Conference was helpful to my work. I plan to come back next year to the OrgSync Connect Conference.
  2. Either use an odd number of responses on the scale so you have a neutral response in the middle or an even number if you want to create a forced choice by eliminating the neutral response.
  3. Try to avoid using Likert items to measure a respondent’s opinion on controversial issues because respondents may not want to take an extreme side. This is called central tendency bias


How to Set Up a Likert Item in OrgSync

  1. Start by editing the form you’d like to add the element to. At the bottom of each page is the option to add a new question. This displays the full list of question-types available to you when building your form. Choose the Likert option from this list.
  2. Next, input your instructions in the box labeled Question Text.
  3. Then, click the box to open your Instructions box and type in your stem (or prompt).
  4. By default, Likert items automatically populate with five answer choices ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. Feel free to customize these answer choices with different text and with a different number of options. You are limited to a minimum of three answer choices and a maximum of seven answer choices when using a Likert element.
  5. To finalize your question, click Done at the bottom of the element builder and save your form. 

Exporting your Data

When exporting data from OrgSync, Likert items will appear in two different columns, one as text responses (strongly agree, agree, etc.) and another as numerical responses (1 for strongly disagree or lowest level response and increasing by the value of one for each response). This will allow you to calculate findings easily with the data presented.

Interpreting Likert Data

There are many ways to interpret Likert data. Mean, median, and mode provide three different, yet common, ways to make meaning of the data.

  • Mean: To calculate the mean, you simply total the numerical value of the responses and divide by the total number of responses. Each Likert item would have an associated mean value. However, calculating the mean value of all responses for each Likert item does not have significance in and of itself because numerical values do not have assigned meaning (for example, a mean of 3.2 has no meaning alone). But, comparing Likert item response means for two different questions can help you evaluate which response might have higher favorability.
  • Median: The median is the response in the very middle if you were to lay out every individual response (by number) in numerical order. Comparing median values is a better way to assess central tendency than using means because it is less influenced by outlier responses.
  • Mode: The mode is the response given most. Think of it like voting for a response. This is one of the best ways to interpret Likert data.

Excel Formula Examples to Calculate Mean, Median, and Mode

For a column with numerical data from A1 to A20, follow these steps:

  • Excel Formula: In cell A21, enter: =AVERAGE(A1:A20)
  • Excel Formula: In cell A21, enter: =MEDIAN(A1:A20)
  • Excel Formula: In cell A21, enter: =MODE(A1:A20)
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