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Labeling of scales

I've seen so many different values for 5-point scales that claim to be best practice. But there is no consistency. And some seem unbalanced. I haven't been able to find what the real "best practice" is with this. For example, for a 5-point importance scale I've seen:
1 = Not at all important
2 = Somewhat important
3 = Neither important nor unimportant OR Moderately important
4 = Important
5 = Very Important

Or I've seen:
1 = Not at all important
2 = Slightly important
3 = Moderately important
4 = Somewhat important
5 = Extremely important

For this one, ratings 2, 3, and 4 could mean the same thing.

Or:
1 = Very unimportant
2 = Somewhat unimportant
3 = Neither important nor unimportant
4 = Somewhat important
5 = Very important

I've seen other variations too. I'm not sure what the best choice is. Any thoughts?

Likert Scales

I am not a 'neutral' scale person so prefer option 2, however, I believe most would say this is more a personal preference than based on any statistical basis.

BTY, if you are saying than "Neither important nor unimportant OR Moderately important" is the same then not so, IMHO!

If you search the archives I think you might find some studies relating to this.

Labeling of scales

I just had a thought and an idea about yet another way of labeling scales, please dont get frustrated I am trying to offer clarity

1 Not at all important
2 Somewhat important
3 Important
4 Very important
5 Extremely important (Critical)

Let me know what your thoughts are

Cheers Ashish Maheshwari

Likert Scale

A common scale but would drop the "critical" else also add something like "worthless" to the other end

Labeling of Scales

We've found in practice this one best descriminates among respondents - use ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. If you're trying to measure importance, I would use Max Diff as a first choice.

1 Not at all important
2 Somewhat important
3 Important
4 Very important
5 Absolutely critical