Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm using a Likert scale that has 5 possible items:

  • ++ for "I strongly agree"
  • + for "I agree"
  • +/- for "I'm indifferent"
  • - for "I disagree"
  • -- for "I strongly disagree"

Now I think that "I'm indifferent" for the item in the middle isn't really the term that should be used, but I can't think of any better term. Any helps there?

share|improve this question
1  
I would use a 4 point scale and force people to have an opinion. –  Matt Эллен Mar 28 '11 at 10:15
    
Also: what does it mean to strongly diagree? I've never understood that. Does strongly mean emotively in this context? –  Matt Эллен Mar 28 '11 at 10:18
4  
@Matt Ellen -- The Likert scale specifically uses odd numbers of options to allow neutral opinions. Forcing an opinion would be a different scale. –  Martha F. Mar 28 '11 at 13:16
    
For the middle choice (the one in question) there are so many ways of interpreting being in the middle that many terms for it will be misleading (undecided (you have decided exactly that you don't prefer one or the other), don't care (you may really care that you're right in the middle), unsure (you know for sure that you are sitting on the fence), etc, etc). Martha's explanation takes out (as much as is possible) the interpretation. –  Mitch Mar 28 '11 at 13:55
    
For me, "I'm indifferent" works as well as any alternatives. –  jbelacqua Mar 28 '11 at 16:52
add comment

5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You could use the word neutral, but that would require rewording the other options to take out the actor and focus on the opinion:

  • "Strongly agree"
  • "Agree"
  • "Neutral"
  • "Disagree"
  • "Strongly disagree"

I've seen this formulation often on forms.

share|improve this answer
    
I've used this formulation often on forms. :) –  Marthaª Mar 28 '11 at 13:52
add comment

How about

"I neither agree nor disagree"

share|improve this answer
add comment

It really depends on the context.
You could also say:

  • I have no preference
  • I'm undecided

Though in general, I would use what you already have. What are you doing a survey on exactly?

share|improve this answer
add comment

You could try "I'm ambivalent" in the middle slot:

ambivalent having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone [NOAD]

share|improve this answer
    
ambivalent is not a word I would expect people to know what it means. Ironically, they would be able to infer what it means from the fact that it's where "no opinion" or its ilk usually goes... –  corsiKa Mar 28 '11 at 19:57
add comment

I have seen "No Opinion" used on occasion.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.