Semantic Differential
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Semantic Differential

VIDEO: Semantic Differential Question

A Semantic Differential question allows respondents to rate two polar options on a scale of choices.

To set up a semantic differential question:

  1. Drag and drop a semantic differential question from the Advanced Questions section of the palette to your survey.
  2. Phrase your question in the Question Title and optionally add an Extra Description.
  3. By default the question has two pairs of variables. Click on a variable to see or edit both labels. To add more variables use the + Add button. Variable pairs should be polar opposites. Uncheck Optional to make sleeking a choice for a variable pair required and select Static to keep the variable pair in place when random or alphabetic ordering is on.
  4. By default the question has nine choice options (4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4) scored from –4 to 4 with –4 corresponding to the farthest left choice. You can change the Score or label of each choice by clicking on it. You can also use the bulk option to add choices or quickly adjust the score for each. Additionally choices can be given a SPSS short code.
  5. By default the question will display as a slide bar. Change this to a radio buttons by selecting that option from the Appearance drop down in Display. The slide bar won’t correctly display choice labels that are longer than two characters so you will want to change to radio buttons.
  6. Edit your Display and Options settings.
  7. Save your survey.


AppearanceChoose whether choices are displayed as radio buttons or on a slide bar. Choices with longer labels need to be radio buttons.
1st Column SizeIncrease the width between the variables on the left and the choices.
Display side-by-sideDisplays the question on one half of the screen. In order for two questions to display side-by-side, you’ll have to enable this option for both questions. The first question will be on the left and the second on the right.
Append to previous questionUse this to make this question appear as if it’s part of the previous question.
Extra ClassesAdvanced option to define classes for custom javascript or CSS.
Show BordersAdds borders separating the rows and columns of this question.
Alternate Background ColorGives each column an alternating background color.


Randomize VariablesShows answer variables a random order per respondent. Variables that are Static will not be affected by this setting.
Alphabetize VariablesShows answer variables alphabetic order. Variables that are Static will not be affected by this setting.
Force UniqueRequires the respondent to select a unique choice for each variable pair.