Label or Position: Which Has the Greater Impact on Subjects’ Responses to a Rating Scale?

Journal of International Marketing and Marketing Research, 28(2), 2003, 77-81

12 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2014

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Dvora Cohen

City University of New York (CUNY) - Brooklyn College

Taiwo Amoo

City University of New York (CUNY) - Department of Finance

Date Written: April 1, 2003

Abstract

A study was conducted with 175 college students to determine whether different overall satisfaction and interest rating scales would produce different results. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group answered questions with the following descriptors for the rating scale: “Completely Dissatisfied,” “Very Dissatisfied,” “Dissatisfied,” “Neither Satisfied Nor Dissatisfied,” “Satisfied,” “Very Satisfied,” and “Completely Satisfied.” (For the interest question, the rating scale was labeled: “Completely Disinterested,” “Very Disinterested,” “Disinterested,” “Neither Interested Nor Disinterested,” “Interested,” “Very Interested,” and “Completely Interested.”). The second group was given the questions with a slightly different rating scale. This rating scale was labeled as: “Completely Dissatisfied,” “Dissatisfied,” “Somewhat Dissatisfied,” “Neither Satisfied Nor Dissatisfied,” “Somewhat Satisfied,” “Satisfied,” and “Completely Satisfied.” (a similar scale was employed for the interest related question). Results showed that the adjective label was a key determinant of subjects’ responses. That is, when respondents showed a strong preference for rating a stimulus with a particular descriptor (e.g., “satisfied”), changing the scale did have a significant effect on the distribution of responses.

Keywords: Rating scale, measurement problems, label vs. position effects, hedonic scales

JEL Classification: C00, C10, C40, I20

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Hershey H. and Cohen, Dvora and Amoo, Taiwo, Label or Position: Which Has the Greater Impact on Subjects’ Responses to a Rating Scale? (April 1, 2003). Journal of International Marketing and Marketing Research, 28(2), 2003, 77-81, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2429520

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York ( email )

Dvora Cohen

City University of New York (CUNY) - Brooklyn College ( email )

2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210
United States

Taiwo Amoo

City University of New York (CUNY) - Department of Finance ( email )

2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210
United States

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