TIPS

'Neutral' Response Category Back

The Likert scale is commonly used in surveys to measure the extent to which a person agrees or disagrees with a statement or opinion. The most common scale being 1 to 5.

A 'Neutral' category in a multiple-choice list is best used as a point on the continuum between disagreement and agreement.

'Neutral' is often included routinely as a catchall for 'I don't know' or 'I have no opinion.' When used inappropriately, it allows for sitting on the fence and can be confused with individuals who 'do not know' (which can bias results).

Odd-numbered scales typically have a middle value labelled Neutral or Undecided. Even-number scales have no middle neutral or undecided choice.
Neutral should not be treated as a soft option or as the standard middle option. Think about your answers and whether you require this category.

You might consider the value of providing options that necessitate a judgment of some kind, whether the scale is 1-4 or 1-5.

  1. Poor
  2. Fair
  3. Good
  4. Excellent

  1. Deficient
  2. Poor
  3. Average
  4. Good
  5. Excellent

E-valuate-IT automatically assigns a number value to each option. Start with negative options so that positive options have the highest value to allow for averaging results that are most meaningful. A high average score will represent a positive result.


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