Semantic differential

Semantic differential questions use a rating scale to determine the associative, emotional or evaluative meaning of an object or concept. A semantic differential is similar to a matrix question, but is labelled on both sides of the row. These labels have to include opposite pairs of properties for an object or concept, such as: fast – slow, cheap – expensive (see image below). The survey participants can then judge the object or concept on the basis of these opposite properties. They can evaluate the object or concept for each opposite pair. The neutral value is 0 (the mid value).

Example: You want to assess product A and you would like to know what associations this product evokes in the participants. You may wonder whether they find the product fast, cheap, friendly, innovative and unique. You can easily capture this using a semantic differential.

Based on the data in the image above, you may conclude that the corresponding participant rated the product as somewhat slow, somewhat innovative and as very unique.

A participant is required to select one answer per row, when the box next to Force response (mandatory question) has been ticked. If you fail to select an answer per row (e.g. fast – slow), the message ‘Please answer this question before you continue’ will be presented on the screen.

Updated on January 28, 2022

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