Insightlink Home

Employee Surveys Blog

Why You Should Never Mix Scales in Your Employee Survey

Posted by Insightlink on 08/24/23

Mixing scales in a survey refers to using different types of response scales (e.g., Likert scales, semantic differential scales, numeric scales) for different questions within the same survey. While it might seem like a small detail, this practice can actually introduce biases and inaccuracies into the survey results. Here's why mixing scales in a survey is considered a mistake:

 survey likert scale

Image by: Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

1. Inconsistency in Measurement:

Using different scales makes it difficult to compare responses across different questions. Each scale has its own range and interpretation, making it hard to assess the relative importance of different issues or the overall sentiment of respondents. This inconsistency reduces the survey's reliability and validity. 

2. Respondent Confusion:

Respondents may become confused when they encounter various response formats throughout the survey. Different scales require different mental processes and interpretations. This confusion can lead to inaccurate responses and potentially skewed data. 

3. Response Bias:

Respondents might unknowingly adjust their responses based on the scale being used. For instance, if one question uses a scale with more positive options and another question uses a scale with more negative options, respondents might subconsciously moderate their answers to fit the perceived tone of the scale. 

4. Limited Analytical Opportunities:

Mixing scales can limit your ability to perform meaningful analyses on the survey data. It becomes challenging to conduct statistical comparisons, correlations, or factor analyses when the data is collected using various scales. 

5. Increased Cognitive Load:

Respondents have a limited cognitive capacity when answering survey questions. Different scales require different cognitive efforts, which can exhaust respondents and reduce the quality of their answers. 

6. Reduced Data Quality:

Mixing scales can result in inconsistent and less reliable data. This diminishes the overall quality of the survey results and undermines the credibility of any conclusions drawn from them. 

7. Complicated Reporting:

When presenting survey results, it's much easier to create clear, concise, and coherent reports when using consistent scales. Mixing scales can make the reporting process more convoluted and harder to interpret. 

8. Difficulty in Trend Analysis:

Consistency in survey scales is crucial for tracking trends over time. If scales change from survey to survey, it becomes challenging to accurately compare results and identify changes in employee attitudes or perceptions. 

9. Professional Appearance:

Using a consistent scale throughout the survey enhances the professionalism and legitimacy of the survey. It demonstrates that the survey was well thought out and designed with care. 

10. Standardization and Benchmarking:

If you're interested in comparing your survey results with industry standards or benchmarks, it's important to use standardized scales. Mixing scales makes these comparisons inaccurate and less meaningful. For more information learn how to avoid common mistakes when creating an employee survey.

In summary, maintaining a consistent response scale throughout your survey is essential for ensuring the validity, reliability, and interpretability of your results. It provides a standardized and unbiased way to collect and analyze data, leading to more accurate insights and informed decision-making. For further information check out 


comments powered by Disqus

Employee engagement is linked to profits
Employee Survey Demo
Employee Survey Pricing

Where does your company stand on each of the critical "4Cs" of employee engagement and satisfaction?
  • Commitment
  • Culture
  • Communications
  • Compensation
Find out with a benchmarked and validated 4Cs Employee Survey from Insightlink. Since 2001, one of the most trusted research companies in North America.

How many of each do you have?
  • Committed Loyalists
  • Change Seekers
  • Dissatisfied Compromisers
  • Satisfied Opportunists
Only the Insightlink 4Cs Employee Survey can give you the full picture and let you hear how your employees feel about their experience at your organization.


Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

4Cs Blog Home

4Cs Blog Archives

Recent Posts

Enhancing Team Dynamics: Creative Strategies for Boosting Collaboration in Your Workplace

Building a Resilient Organizational Culture through Employee Programs

Why Friendships at Work Matter for Employee Engagement

Elevating Employee Engagement: Financial Training for a Happier, More Productive Workforce

5 Reasons Why LinkedIn Will Revolutionize Recruiting Process

Favorite Links

Employee Survey
Insightlink's Acclaimed 4Cs Employee Survey

Advanced Online Survey Platform for Pros

Quick & Easy Online Surveys

Home of the Gallup Q12

World at Work


Insightlink on SHRM

Engaged Employees Blog

HR ToolKit Guide to Employee Surveys
Good info on how to write surveys.

Insightlink 360
Makes 360 assessment surveys easy.

Online Employee Exit surveys.


Copyright © Insightlink Communications. All rights reserved.