As researchers, we're constantly being asked to measure things, such as brand preference, the importance of product features, the benefits of a variety of job-related factors, the impact of product packaging, etc. Sawtooth Software has developed a powerful system for scaling such items, called MaxDiff (Maximum Difference Scaling).
MaxDiff is a simple technique to use (easier than conjoint analysis). It creates questionnaires wherein respondents trade off the different items. The end result is a set of scores that prioritize your items on a 0 to 100 scale. The reason MaxDiff is becoming so popular is that the scores are more discriminating, are free from scale-use bias, and have greater validity than traditional rating scales.