Definition: The Continuous Rating Scale is a Noncomparative Scale technique wherein the respondents are asked to rate the stimulus objects by placing a point/mark appropriately on a line running from one extreme of the criterion to the other variable criterion.
The continuous rating scale is also called as a Graphic Rating Scale. Here the respondent can place a mark anywhere on the line based on his opinion and is not restricted to select from the values as previously set by the researcher. The continuous scale can observe many forms, i.e. it can either be vertical or horizontal; scale points, in the form of numbers or brief descriptions, may be provided, and if these are provided, then the scale points might be few or many.
Once the ratings are obtained, the researcher splits up the line into several categories and then assign the scores depending on the category in which the ratings fall. We can say that the continuous rating scale possesses the characteristics of description, order and distance. By description, we mean, the unique tags, name or labels used to designate each scale value. The order refers to the relative position of the descriptors, and the distance means an absolute difference between the descriptors is known and can be expressed in unitary terms.
One of the advantages of the continuous rating scale is that it is easy to construct. But, however, the scoring is burdensome and reckless. Also, these rating scales provide little information. Therefore, the continuous rating scale has limited use in the marketing research.
Despite the limitations, due to the increased popularity of computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), a technique wherein the respondent and interviewer give answers via computers, the use of the continuous scaling technique has been increased. The continuous rating scale can be well implemented in CAPI or on the internet that enables a cursor to move in a continuous fashion to select the appropriate position on a scale that best describes the evaluation of the candidate.