Survey Rating Questions vs. Ranking Questions

What is the difference between a survey ranking question and a rating question?

Often times, people use the terms ranking question and rating question interchangeably, when in fact, there is a distinct difference between the two question types.

Rating Question

A rating question asks survey respondents to compare different items using a common scale (e.g. “Please rate each of the following objects on a rating scale of 1-10, where 1 is ‘not at all important’ and 10 is ‘very important.’”). The example below uses a rating scale of 0 to 5 to rate the aspects of service in a restaurant.


Ranking Question

A ranking question on the other hand asks survey respondents to compare a list of different objects to one another (e.g. “Please rank each of the following items in order of importance with #1 being the most important object to #10 being the least important object.”). The example below uses a ranking scale of #1 to #4 where 1 is the most important and 4 is the least important.


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