Ranking Questions

Although often confused and referred to interchangeably, ranking questions differ from rating questions in one important way; respondents are provided with a list of objects and they have to place these in order (to measure relative likes and dislikes, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, etc).

For instance, with a rating question in a restaurant, people will be asked to rate the food, the service, the value for money and the ambiance. With ranking questions, they might be provided with four items (food, service, value, ambiance) and asked to list these in order of how much they enjoyed them.

As such, ranking questions are often more limiting than their rating counterparts, because you can score everything equally when rating them, whereas elements have to take precedence when ranked.

When to use ranking vs rating questions

Many people struggle to understand the distinct difference between rating questions and ranking questions in online surveys, yet it is vital that you know how to tell them apart in order to conduct proper research. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each question and the best use of them in your online surveys.

Rating questions look at how respondents feel about individual items, measuring positive or negative responses to a question or statement. For instance, they will rate a specific area of service on a Likert rating scale.

Example of rating questions

Ranking questions compare individual elements to each other. This question type allows respondents to rank items, in order of preference, by selecting a numeric value for each answer choice.

Example of ranking questions

Pros and cons of ranking questions

Ranking questions are a useful way to get respondents to tell you their choice between preferred items.

Each item in ranking questions will have a completely unique value. This type of question is a good option when you want to rank things in order of preference.

However, people may be forced to make one item worse or better than another, when they actually find them equal. Also, the data here is not statistical, meaning you can’t use it to calculate averages.

Setting up rating and ranking questions

1. On the design page of the survey you are creating, click ‘Add Question’.

Set up rating or ranking question step 1

2. On the next page, enter the question text and select the type of question you wish to use from the Question Type drop-down menu. In this guide, we will use Ranking. Select Enable Editor if you would like to use the text editor to format your question text.

3. If you are not sure which type of question to use, then please refer to our help guide; ‘How do I know which question type to use?‘.

4. The page will extend once the question type has been selected, allowing you to add the answer choices and apply any custom settings. Enter your answers in the Answer Choices box, or alternatively, you can select your answers from the Pre-made menu.

5. Below the answer choices section you will be able to add extra question settings, such as a comments field, answer validation and more.

Set up rating or ranking question step 2

When you have finished creating the question, click ‘Add Question’.

The best types of online questionnaires use both ranking questions and rating questions. This way, people have to compare individual items, as well as reviewing each individual part. Furthermore, by designing your survey in this way, the online questionnaire tends to stay more interesting, meaning people don’t lose interest in the survey and simply answer without even thinking about their answers.

Please contact our support team if you would like any more information.

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