Foundations of Research

Ranking and rating are methods that can successfully be employed when conducting a survey or research with the aim eliciting feedback from the respondents. Ranking and rating is commonly conducted using questionnaires using a predetermined scale. A ranking question allows survey respondents to rank items in order of preference by assigning a numeric value to each answer. However each number numeric value can be used only once. On the other hand, a rating question is designed to elicit different responses to a particular question (Allen, 2005). The different responses are then evaluated to see whether the feedback is positive or negative and what should be done.





An example of a rating system is seen above. As opposed to the ranking system, it allows fro the respondents to give their personal views.


An example of a ranking system is shown above. The questions are rigid and usually designed to give certain responses.

One of the major differences between ratings and rating systems is that rating systems tend to be subjective, while ranking systems are largely objective. Rating systems are subjective due to the fact that the questions are open ended and therefore can elicit a wide range of responses depending on the feelings, biases and preferences from the individual respondent (Allen, 2005). One of the most prominent examples of a rating system is eBay comparison rating system. eBay has used this rating system to determine the number of  goods auctioned through its site.

Rating systems are more useful in evaluating customer satisfaction. This stems from the fact that   most rating systems are designed to rate content based on the responses of the users. Ranking scales are usually rigid as the respondent cannot give an opinion different from that given on the question paper. The rating system is more flexible and this gives the users the opportunity to express his personal views on a particular item and are thus said to be subjective. They therefore give a more appropriate view in terms of customer satisfaction.


















Luce, R.D. (1959). Individual Choice Behaviors: A Theoretical Analysis. New York: J. Wiley.

Krus, D. J. & Ney, R. G. (1978) Convergent and discriminant validity in item analysis. Educational and Psychological Measurement.


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