Ranking Questions 101

Blocksurvey blog author
Mar 8, 2024 · 4 mins read

If you have reached this blog, chances are high that you have searched for Ranking questions in google. If you are still wondering about the usage of the ranking question, I am here to help you.

You can try this ranking questions template in parallel as you read to get hands-on.

What are Ranking Questions?

With ranking questions, respondents will have the option of re-ordering the options into the desired order and then submit the reordered list as a single response. This is helpful in use cases where stack ranking is needed on a set of subjects and objects. Unlike other types of evaluation questions, ranking questions help to measure and compare multiple objects on a single scale.

Ranking questions are sometimes also referred to as sorting and ladder questions.

Now, let's dive to see in detail.

What is the difference between a rating and a ranking?

There is a niche difference between rating and ranking. Let me explain this to you with IMDB as an example. IMDB is a movie database that movie buffs refer for details.

A rating is a comparison based on quality or opinion. So, for example, if we are talking about a movie, the rating would be based on quality and type of movie (horror, comedy, action, tragedy, etc.). Rating and ranking are often used interchangeably.

IMDB ratings on movies

A ranking is a comparison based on placement. For example, if we are talking about the top 50 movies in IMDb, the ranking is by IMDb's user votes and would be based on popularity.

IMDB ranking survey

What are some good ranking question examples?

Color Ranking

Favorite Cities

How to create a Ranking Question using BlockSurvey?

When you select a ranking question for the first time, you may go clueless. Of course, some people may be aware of its use. We are trying to help people here who remain clueless.

To create a ranking question - Go to ‘Design’ in BlockSurvey Builder and select the ranking question type.

Suppose you have a question in your survey to rank the result based on birth date in ascending order. Let us say you have 3 options. Option 1 is Elon Musk, Option 2 is Steve Jobs and Option 3 is Abraham Lincoln.

This is what the question looks like.

To rank the options you have to place the mouse cursor over the option, you will get a sizer pointer.

Now you can drag and drop the options and place them in the right order. You will see the below result after drag and drop.

Want to play with the ranking question live? Try here 👇 https://blocksurvey.io/templates/blocksurvey-features/ranking-or-sorting-question

How to analyze Ranking questions results?

Ranking questions (or sorting questions, laddering questions) measure the overall preference of each choice. The choice with the highest average ranking is the most popular choice. Ranking questions are the most favorite and adopted question types to measure the average ranking of a particular choice.

How is the ranking calculated?

Let us now find how ranking is measured or calculated. w is the weight of the ranked position ( Default weights cannot be changed) and x is the response count of the selected choice. Weights are applied in reverse position. The respondent’s most selected choice has the largest weight. Respondents least selected choice has a weight of 1.

Let us say for a ranking question with 5 answers, the below weights are assigned.

The average ranking is calculated as follows, where:

Weight of 5 for 1st ranked choice

Weight of 4 for 2nd ranked choice

Weight of 3 for 3rd ranked choice

Weight of 2 for 4th ranked choice

Weight of 1 for 5th ranked choice

Weights are applied in this way to the data presented on a chart. It will be clear to determine preferred answer choice by assigning weights.

Also Read: Making repeating questions in surveys.

What are some ranking limitations?

Given the popular usage of the ranking question, there are some limitations in ranking. In our ascending birth date example, the top 2 results are “Abraham Lincoln” and “Steve Jobs” are the top 2 personalities. Still, the distance in age between the 2 personalities is an unknown variable. The birth date may be like “Steve Jobs” born 100 years later compared to “Abraham Lincoln”. This crucial data point is missing in ranking questions.

Another limitation of ranking questions is respondents may be prone to survey fatigue given the long list of choices to rank.

That's the whole summary of Ranking question. If you would like to get started with Ranking Questions. Give BlockSurvey a try. All right! Now that we learned how to use the ranking option, let us use the option in our surveys to make surveys more fun and meaningful. If you like this blog, please do share it with your friends who may find this useful.

Ranking Questions 101 FAQ

What is a ranking survey?

A survey ranking question asks respondents to order attributes based on preference. Respondents can rank all attributes in the set or only rank a certain number, such as the top three.

What are some examples of ranking questions?

1. Please rank the following factors in order of importance when choosing a restaurant: food quality, price, location, ambience, and service. 2. Please rank the following social media platforms in order of your preferred usage: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok.

What are some best practices for designing ranking questions?

1. Keep the list of options short (ideally, no more than 5-7 items). 2. Use clear and concise language for each option. 3. Provide clear instructions on how to rank the options (e.g., "Please rank the following options from most to least important.") 4. Test the question with a sample group before sending it out to ensure that it's clear and easy to understand.

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blog author description

Sarath Shyamson

Sarath Shyamson is the customer success person at BlockSurvey and also heads the outreach. He enjoys volunteering for the church choir.


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