MaxDiff is a form of discrete questioning in market research which asks respondents choose both extremes - most important and least important, most appealing and least appealing, etc. It's a clever technique to save time for the respondent as there is no need to rank a full list of items. Ranking the importance of eight features (1st = most important to 8 = least important) takes a lot of time, whereas MaxDiff can accomplish the same rank with just two questions of most important and least important.
Once all the data is received for the survey, the analyst calculates a MaxDiff score for each factor by taking the percentage of those who rated it "most" and subtracting the percentage of those who rated it "least". Therefore if 42% of respondents rated gas mileage as most important when purchasing a hybrid car and 4% rated gas mileage as least important, the MaxDiff score for gas mileage would stand at 38 (42 minus 4). Conversely if 8% rated the hybrid service package as most important when purchasing a hybrid car and 35% rated the service package as least important, the MaxDiff Score for the hybrid service package would stand at -27 (8 minus 35).
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