While the question at hand might seem straightforward, it’s actually a relatively complicated matter. The Semantic Differential Scale and Likert Scale are two of the most popular scales used in research to measure feelings, perceptions, and opinions.
In this blog, we will cover the differences between two of the most commonly used survey design types: Semantic Differential Scale and Likert Scale.
What are Semantic Differential Scale and Likert Scale?
Semantic differential scale and Likert scale are two types of scales that are used to measure different aspects of a person’s personality.
Semantic differential scale is used in survey to let people rate a products, a companies, a service, a brand or any entity within a multi-point rating structure.
Likert scales represent a set of agree or disagree answer options, related to the questions in numeric or verbal form.
A semantic differential scale is the most common survey or questionnaire rating scale and covers a wide variety of subjects. While a likert scale is also a rating scale, it’s slightly different because it does not ask respondents to rate an “entity”.
Difference 1: The Scale Range
The main difference between the semantic differential scale and the Likert scale is the range of the scale.
The semantic differential scale has a range from -3 to +3, while the Likert scale has a range from 1 to 5.
The semantic differential scale is more detailed than the Likert scale, and it is better suited for measuring attitudes. The Likert scale, on the other hand, is better suited for measuring opinions.
Difference 2: The Bipolarity
The bipolarity of the semantic differential scale is one of its main differences when compared to the Likert scale.
The Likert scale is unipolar, meaning that there are only two poles (for example, “agree” and “disagree”).
The semantic differential scale, on the other hand, is bipolar, meaning that there are three or more poles (for example, “good”, “okay”” and “bad”).
The bipolarity of the semantic differential scale allows for more nuanced responses. It also makes it more difficult to interpret results, as there is no clear “middle ground” response.
The semantic differential scale is also more versatile than the Likert scale. It can be used to measure a wide range of concepts, from attitudes and opinions to emotions and perceptions.
Difference 3: The Response Scaling
The main difference between semantic differential scale and likert scale is that:
Semantic differential scale measure attitudes, feelings, and preferences on a scale from 0 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) or sometimes in negative depending on question.
Likert scales measure responses on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Another key difference is that semantic differential scale tends to produce more accurate results than likert scale. This is because semantic differential scale take into account the variability of responses while likert scales do not.
Difference 4: Formulaic Design
There are two main types of scales: semantic differential and likert scales.
The semantic differential scale is a type of scale that uses words to represent different levels of a particular attribute. For example, the semantic differential scale might use the terms “high,” and “low” to represent the levels of stress a person is experiencing.
The likert scale is a type of scale that uses numerical or verbal values to represent different levels of a “agree or disagree” / “satisfied or dissatisfied” from respondents on particular questions. For example, the likert scale might use the terms “1,” “2,” “3,” “4,”and “5” to represent the levels of stress a person is experiencing.
The main difference between semantic differential and likert scales is their formulaic design. With semantic differential scales, each term in the scale corresponds to a specific word or number, while with likert scales, each term in the scale corresponds to a specific number. This difference can have a major impact on how accurately the scale measures an attribute.
Semantic differential scales are typically more accurate than likert scales, but they require more effort to construct. Likert scales are easier to construct, but they are less accurate than semantic differential scales.
Difference 5: The Nature of the Measurement Data
The semantic differential scale is a widely used measure of anxiety. It is a seven-point scale that ranges from 0 (no anxiety) to 6 (severe anxiety). The semantic differential scale was developed by psychologist Charles E. Osgood (1916–91) and it has been used in many different research studies.
The likert scale is a widely used measure of stress. It is a five-point scale that ranges from 1 (no stress) to 5 (extreme stress). The likert scale was developed by psychologist Rensis Likert and it has been used in many different research studies.
The main difference between the semantic differential scale and the likert scale is that the semantic differential scale measures anxiety in terms of severity, while the likert scale measures stress in terms of intensity.
Although they both measure the same thing, there is a main difference between the semantic differential scale and the likert scale.
The semantic differential scale is more complex because it allows for different degrees of meaning to be assigned to items on the scale. This makes it better suited for measuring subjective phenomena, such as attitudes or emotions.
The likert scale, on the other hand, is simpler because all items on it have one specific value. This makes it better suited for measuring objective phenomena, such as personality or thinking.
As a result of these differences, the use of these scales in different research fields may lead to different conclusions depending on which scale they use.