A comparison of a traditional ranking-task and a drag-and-drop ranking task

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in General Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: W. F. Moroney


Differences between a modified traditional ranking-task format (MTF) and an experimental Drag-and-Drop Assisted Ranking-Task (DDART) were investigated. Completion time for each format was determined, as was format preference, the relationship between the data of the two formats, and participant strategies for completing the tasks. Participants completed: both ranking-tasks in a counterbalanced administration, a battery of demographic and preference questions, a System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire for both formats to measure usability, and a ratings questionnaire. They also developed sequences describing their decision-making during the ranking process. There was no significant difference in completion time. However, a non-significant lower average completion time for DDART suggested that, with further exposure, participants would continue to decrease completion time faster than they would using the MTF. Participants also believed that they completed DDART faster. The results of the SUS indicated DDART was not significantly more or less usable than the MTF. However, when asked to compare the ease of use" of the two formats, participants preferred using DDART to MTF by a margin of 2 to 1. A significant relationship existed between the ranking data obtained from both formats. The ranking data for both MTF and DDART were also significantly correlated with data garnered under the ratings format. By examining the participants' descriptions of their decision-making process, the experimenter identified four strategies participants could have used in completing either of the two formats. Task format did not influence the frequency of selection of a participant's strategy. The more popular strategies (Level Driven and Numeric Rank Driven) were characterized by participants initially selecting a ranking (first, ninth, etc.), and then assigning an option to that ranking. Fewer participants initially selected an option and subsequently assigned a rank to that option (Similar Option Driven and Individual Option Driven). Overall, DDART was functionally comparable to MTF because there were no significant differences in completion time, the frequency of use of the strategies was similar, and the relationship between the ranking data for each format was strong. Statistically, more participants preferred DDART to MTF and believed it was easier to use and faster to complete."


Ranking and selection (Statistics), Decision making, Human information processing, Perception Testing, Human-computer interaction, Psychometrics

Rights Statement

Copyright 2011, author