How and when to use slider questions 🔗

We generally don't recommend using sliders. Slider questions should be used only when there is a particularly good reason to do so. Situations in which it is a good idea to use a slider question include:

  • Questions where you have a large numerical scale that would be impractical to translate into a Likert scale, and...
  • Questions where a slider scale will be much more intuitive (or otherwise aligned with the way a participant thinks about their responses) than other options

However, outside of cases like those listed above, we recommend not using sliders. This is for a number of reasons:

  • They increase the time taken to respond (due to the respondent needing to click, drag, and submit).
  • Despite the many different points available along a sliding scale, they can make it difficult for people to provide accurate responses because some people are operating on small screens (such as a phone or small laptop screen), making the mechanics of slider scale responses difficult.
  • They can introduce bias based on the starting point of the slider.
    • When a slider's default position is on one side of the scale, it can bias the data in that direction.
    • When a slider's default position is in the middle, it can also bias responses to the default position. To avoid this, GuidedTrack doesn't allow participants to submit their response until after they have moved the slider somewhere and repositioned it. However, this can then create a different bias instead, because although it is possible for participants to move the slider away from the middle and then back to the middle, some participants may assume they can't do that, and may then give a response away from the center, despite the center of the scale representing their true response. This can create artificially bimodal data (with relatively few responses in the middle of the scale).

Good slider question example 🔗

Here's a good example of an appropriate use of a slider question:

>> scalePoliticalSelfPosition = [["Far Left", -5], ["Very Left", -4], ["Left", -3], ["Moderately Left-leaning", -2], ["Left of Center", -1], ["Center", 0], ["Right of Center", 1], ["Moderately Right-leaning", 2], ["Right", 3], ["Very Right", 4], ["Far Right", 5]]

*question: In political matters, where do your views generally fall on the scale from "left" (progressive) to "right" (conservative)?
	*tip: The left is more often associated with progress, equality, reform, rights, corporate regulation, and global cooperation; the right is more often associated with tradition, responsibility, corporate deregulation, order, hierarchy, nationalism, and duty.
	*type: slider
	*before: Left
	*after: Right
	*answers: scalePoliticalSelfPosition
	*save: politicalSelfRightPositionScore

Bad slider question example 🔗

Here's a bad example of an unnecessary use of a slider question:

*maintain: Please indicate the degree to which you agree or disagree with the following statement.

*question: I tend to be reserved and quiet.
	*type: slider
	*before: Strongly disagree
	*after: Strongly agree
	*min: 0
	*max: 100

The above example would enable someone to choose any number from 0 to 100 to indicate their level of agreement with the statement. This adds detail that would not be likely to be very useful. (Also see here .)


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