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Visual analogue scale

3 References

The visual analogue scale or visual analog scale (VAS)
is a psychometric response scale which can be used in
questionnaires. It is a measurement instrument for subjective characteristics or attitudes that cannot be directly
measured. When responding to a VAS item, respondents
specify their level of agreement to a statement by indicating a position along a continuous line between two endpoints.


[1] U.-D. Reips and F. Funke (2008) “Interval level measurement with visual analogue scales in Internet-based research: VAS Generator.” doi:10.3758/BRM.40.3.699
[2] S. Grant, T. Aitchison, E. Henderson, J. Christie, S. Zare,
J. McMurray, and H. Dargie (1999) A comparison of the
reproducibility and the sensitivity to change of visual analogue scales, Borg scales, and Likert scales in normal subjects during submaximal exercise. Chest. 116(5):120817. doi:10.1378/chest.116.5.1208

Comparison to other scales

[3] Funke, F; Reips, U.-D. (2012).
“Why semantic differentials in Web-based research should be
made from visual analogue scales and not from 5point scales.” (PDF). Field Methods 24: 310–327.

This continuous (or “analogue”) aspect of the scale differentiates it from discrete scales such as the Likert scale.
There is evidence showing that visual analogue scales
have superior metrical characteristics than discrete scales,
thus a wider range of statistical methods can be applied
to the measurements.[1]

[4] U.-D. Reips (2006) Web-based methods. In M. Eid &
E. Diener (Eds.), Handbook of multimethod measurement
in psychology (pp. 73-85). Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/11383-006

The VAS can be compared to other linear scales such as
the Likert scale or Borg scale. The sensitivity and reproducibility of the results are broadly very similar, although the VAS may outperform the other scales in some
cases.[1][2] These advantages extend to measurement instruments made up from combinations of visual analogue
scales, such as semantic differentials.[3]


[5] Bourdel, N.; Alves, J.; Pickering, G.; Ramilo, I.;
Roman, H.; Canis, M. (2014). “Systematic review
of endometriosis pain assessment: how to choose a
scale?". Human Reproduction Update 21 (1): 136–152.
doi:10.1093/humupd/dmu046. ISSN 1355-4786.
[6] Adamchic I, Langguth B, Hauptmann C, Tass PA. (2012)
Psychometric evaluation of visual analog scale for the assessment of chronic tinnitus. American Journal of Audiology. Vol. 21, 215-225. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/


Recent advances in methodologies for Internet-based
research[4] include the development and evaluation
of visual analogue scales for use in Internet-based
VAS is the most common pain scale for quantification
of endometriosis-related pain. A review came to the
conclusion that VAS and numerical rating scale (NRS)
were the best adapted pain scales for pain measurement in endometriosis. For research purposes, and for
more detailed pain measurement in clinical practice, the
review suggested use of VAS or NRS for each type
of typical pain related to endometriosis (dysmenorrhea,
deep dyspareunia and non-menstrual chronic pelvic pain),
combined with the clinical global impression (CGI) and a
quality of life scale.[5] VAS is being increasingly used for
the assessment of loudness and annoyance of acute and
chronic tinnitus.[6]

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