How do I create a Semantic Differential Chart with XLSTAT-MX?

The psychologist Charles E. Osgood has developed the visualization method Semantic differential in order to plot the differences between individuals' connotations for a given word. When applying the method, Osgood asked survey participants to describe a word on a series of scales ranging from one extreme to the other (for example favorable/unfavorable). When patterns were significantly different form one individual to the other or from one group of individuals to the other, Osgood could then interpret the Semantic Differential as a mapping of the psychological or even behavioral distance between the individuals or groups.

This method can also be used for a variety of applications:

  • Analysis of the experts’ perceptions for a product (for example a yogurt) described by a series of criteria (for example, acidity, saltiness, sweetness, softness) on similar scales (either from one extreme to the other, or on a similar likert scale for each criterion). A Semantic differential chart will allow to quickly see which experts agree, and if significantly different patterns are obtained.
  • Survey analysis after a customer satisfaction survey.
  • Profile analysis of candidates during a recruitment session.

An Excel sheet with both the data and the results can be downloaded by clicking here. The data used in this tutorial correspond to a survey where five experts have been asked to rate a product using six descriptors. The results are displayed in a table (see below).

Our goal is to quickly visualize if there are some differences between the judges.

To activate the Semantic Differential Chart dialog box, start XLSTAT, then select the XLSTAT/XLSTAT-MX/Semantic Differential Chart command, or click on the corresponding button of the XLSTAT-MX toolbar (see below).

Once you have clicked on the button, the dialog box appears. Then select the data on the Excel sheet. As the attributes (the descriptors) correspond to columns, and the objects (here the experts) to rows, you do not need to change the Rows option. Select the labels of the experts, and include the header, even if is blank, as the "Column labels" option is activated.

After you have clicked on the OK button, the semantic differential chart is displayed.

Interpreting a semantic differential chart

We can see here that most of the experts gave pretty different opinions. Only the experts 4 and 5 gave similar ratings .

Click here for other tutorials.

About KCS

Kovach Computing Services (KCS) was founded in 1993 by Dr. Warren Kovach. The company specializes in the development and marketing of inexpensive and easy-to-use statistical software for scientists, as well as in data analysis consulting.

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