Cover: Should Survey Likert Scales Include Neutral Response Categories?

Should Survey Likert Scales Include Neutral Response Categories?

Evidence from a Randomized School Climate Survey

Published Jan 9, 2024

by Louis T. Mariano, Andrea Phillips, Kevin Estes, M. Rebecca Kilburn

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Likert scales with degree-of-agreement response categories are commonly fielded but whether to offer a neutral response category for such scales is not well informed by research. Using data from a randomized survey experiment, RAND researchers examine the utilization of a neutral response category in Likert scales and discuss implications of the experiment results for neutral option inclusion in future Likert scale applications and reporting.

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This research was conducted in the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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