Analyzing and Reporting Likert and Numerical Data
Like most evaluators, I gather lots of Likert and numerical data. Over the years I have changed the way I report these data so that my clients can better grasp what the results mean.
Almost all of my Likert data are numerically anchored. So, for example, Strongly Disagree is anchored at a 1 and Strongly Agree would be anchored as a 5, with all other qualitative options anchored numerically in-between. In these occasions I tend to report the sample size (n), minimum value, maximum value, mean, and standard deviation, as well as the percent of persons who Agree or Strongly Agree (i.e., those who selected a 4 or 5). I can report the mean and standard deviation because I have numerically anchored m Likert scale. This allows my clients to see right away how persons responded, on average. By reporting the standard deviation I am able to show them how “spread out” the data are, another point of information for my clients. Last, by reporting the percent of persons selecting a 4 or 5, I provide my clients an additional data point for them to consider.
Like most evaluators reporting numerical data, I report the sample size (n), minimum value, maximum value, as well as the mean and standard deviation. Lately I’ve also begun reviewing the median value in a dataset and reporting that value as well. Oftentimes this data point is very revealing when compared to the mean, especially if they are very different in value. Explore what this means for your dataset and share with your client.
Even better than presenting these data in table format, consider providing them in graphical form. Excel allows you to do most graphs you might need. Using text boxes and shapes such as arrows I can usually point out the mean and median values and the interval that is bounded by the sd.