Frederik Funke, Ulf-Dietrich Reips, & Randall K. Thomas (2011).
Sliders for the smart: Type of rating scale on the Web interacts with educational level

Social Science Computer Review, 29, 221–231. doi:10.1177/0894439310376896

Slider scales and radio buttons scales were experimentally compared in horizontal and vertical orientation. Slider scales lead to statistically significantly higher break-off rates (odds ratio = 6.9) and substantially higher response times. Problems with slider scales were especially prevalent in participants with less than average education, suggesting the slider scale format is more challenging in terms of previous knowledge needed or cognitive load. An alternative explanation, technology-dependent sampling (Buchanan & Reips, 2001), cannot fully account for the current results. The authors clearly advise against the use of Java-based slider scales and advocate low-tech solutions for the design of Web-based data collection. Orientation on screen had no observable effect on data quality or usability of rating scales. Implications of item format for Web-based surveys are discussed.