I've conducted a Likert-style survey with $45$ questions in which $15$ people participated. Each question was repeated six times, so I have six answers from every participant for every question. All answers are $\in \{1, 2, 3, 4, 5\}$.

What I'm trying to visualize are the differences in consistency with which the participants answered the six repetitions of each question. For example, participant $a$ gave six answers to question $q_1: [3, 5, 1, 1, 1, 2]$ while participant $b$ gave the following answers to the same question $q_1:[4, 4, 1, 1, 2, 2]$. The order does not matter to me, what I'm interested in is the count ($a$ chose $1$ three times, $2$ one time, $3$ one time and $5$ one time while $b$ chose $1$ two times, $2$ two times and $4$ two times).

My data looks like this:

# participant 1
question, 1_count, 2_count, 3_count, 4_count, 5_count

# participant 2
question, 1_count, 2_count, 3_count, 4_count, 5_count

I wasn't able to find a suitable visualization technique. Do you have any suggestions?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you care about differences between questions or people? Or an overall summary of consistency in answering? $\endgroup$
    – mkt
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ I'm more interested in the differences between people. But an overall summary would also be nice. $\endgroup$
    – Karla
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ As the order of a person's answers to any given question does not matter ($q_{1,a} : [3,5,1,1,1,2] \equiv q_{1,a} : [5,1,2,3,1,1]$), you seem to be interested in the distribution of responses. For that, I would make individual histograms (for each question answered by each participant), and then plot them on a $15 \times 45$ grid (using, facet_grid in R, like this). (You could also make ridge histograms, though they do not render nicely for this few observations and this many distributions.) $\endgroup$
    – psyguy
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


You could use several mini bar charts for each participant grouping # of counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,...45. Replace months here with participants.


Credit for image: https://peltiertech.com/sparklines-and-data-bars-in-excel-2010/

Some of the additional examples on that page may give you inspiration as far as colors, etc.


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