No, we're not talking about the outer appearance of reptiles, but how critical it is that your answers are scaled properly. And, why scaling affects your online survey data and feedback.
Scaling requires ambiguity
With any numeric scaling system, you desperately need to have a "void" space. This "void" space allows your customers to accurately respond.
In a 1 – 5 scale, where 5 may be "very satisfied" and 1 is "very dissatisfied," 3 needs to be neutral. You have to realize that often people have no opinion. This data isn't necessarily lost but instead very eye-opening. If a certain question receives a ridiculous of "neutral" answers, that clearly means, "Meh, I don't really know," "I don't really care" or "Nothing was truly memorable (good or bad)."
Larger scales equals precise data
The major difference between a scale from 1 – 5 versus a scale ranging from 0 – 10 is detailed data.
With a 1 – 5 scale, you only glean a small view into what your customers really think. However, with a wider scale, you'll gauge true feelings.
So, here's the difference:
5: Very Satisfied
3: Neutral / Not applicable / No opinion
1: Very dissatisfied
10: Flat-out excellent
8: Very satisfactory
6: Okay, not great
5: Neutral / Not applicable / No opinion
4: Blah, not worth remembering
2: Very dissatisfactory
0: Absolutely appalling
Another great way to look at a wider scale is to compare it to academic grading. Say, a 10 is an A++ (some did extra credit) and a 0, is, well, a complete and utter failure. With academic grading, there are shades of gray where a D isn't necessarily a flunk but almost.
What that says is that there are some things that the student is doing well in but overall, she's struggling.