Design of Diverging Stacked Bar Charts for Likert Scales and Other Applications

Richard Heiberger, Naomi Robbins

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Rating scales, such as Likert scales, are very common in marketing research, customer satisfaction studies, psychometrics, opinion surveys, population studies, and numerous other fields. We recommend diverging stacked bar charts as the primary graphical display technique for Likert and related scales. We also show other applications where diverging stacked bar charts are useful. Many examples of plots of Likert scales are given. We discuss the perceptual and programming issues in constructing these graphs. We present two implementations for diverging stacked bar charts. Most examples in this paper were drawn with the likert function included in the HH package in R. We also have a dashboard in Tableau.

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