SurveyKing Help | Max Diff Question Type

Max Diff Question Type

For Max Diff (maximum difference scaling), respondents are shown a set of the possible attributes and are asked to indicate the best and worst attributes (or most and least important). The respondent can only make ONE selection per column.

When To Use It

Max Diff is similar to a rating scale asking you to rate how important an attribute is. The above example could be asked as a matrix or as five separate rating questions. By forcing respondents to make choices between options Max Diff delivers results that show the relative importance of the items being rated.

Looking at the example results below it seems that price is the most important and a hotel gym is of least importance. This conclusion would likely not have been drawn by other traditional question types because as a stand alone question, many people would likely rate a gym as being pretty important.

Only when it is compared to other resort features can the conclusion be drawn that guests really don’t care about a gym in comparison to other features.

Options and Settings

For this question you can choose the following:


For each attribute you'll see the percentage and count of times it was ranked as most appealing, least appealing, or not chosen.

Individual results (displayed as a spreadsheet) will display the line item as a column header and the respondent's value below that. The attributes will be ranked based on the score which is computed using the below formula:

Example Data

Max Diff

Question 1 (Max Diff)

When choosing a resort to stay at, what is least and most important in your decision?

Created with Highcharts 6.0.2ScoreChart context menu-PriceHotel gymRoom cleanlinessAll inclusive packageCustomer service-1-0.500.51Room cleanliness Score: -0.14

Time Question Was Skipped: 0

Rank Attribute Score Times Marked Most Important Times Marked Least Important Times Not Chosen
2Hotel gym 0115
3Room cleanliness -0.14016
4All inclusive package -0.14124
5Customer service-0.29025

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