How to Calculate the Mean on a Likert Scale

Updated February 21, 2017

Likert scale-based questions refer to a survey question asking you to rate something from 1 to 5. Usually, the responses involve your feelings on something, whether you "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree." One of the ways to determine a survey respondent's feelings on something is to measure the mean of each section of the survey.

Determine the total amount of questions that use the Likert scale. Be sure to count only the questions in each section; If there's a six-question section and a four-question section, do not add both of those together; they must be separate.

Add the total sum of the responses for the Likert questions in a specific section. So if someone responded with a 3 on one question, a 1 on another question, a 4 on the next question, and a 5 on the last question, add them together to get 13.

Divide the total sum determined in Step 2 with the total amount of questions. This gives you the mean for that section. Using the situation in Step 3 above, we find that the total amount of questions is four and the sum being 13. Dividing 13 by 4 reveals the mean, which is approximately 3.25. Repeat this step for any other sections present.


Because a Likert scale centres more on the amount of times a certain response is entered, and not so much the average number, determining the mean may not be the most effective way of computing statistics. Be sure to look at other methods as well, such as determining the mode, which deals with the answer most selected in a questionnaire or section.

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About the Author

Jay Darrington has been a professional writer since 2006, specializing in technology. He has published on several online blogs, including iTech24, iPhoneland and Tech101. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication technology from California State University.