Background: I'd like to use a 7-point Likert scale for an upcoming survey (focused primarily on opinions). For the most part, the questions will be centered around the "To what extent...?" stem. That is, the answers will range from, e.g., "To a very small extent" to "To a very great extent". Using the 7-point Likert scale, it is most often recommended to include the "neutral" as the center/middle score. Based on my research thus far, however, I'd like to discourage people from not taking a stance on the subject. That is still debatable though. Now, to ensure I'm in no violation of "knowledge liability" (i.e., respondents must know the answer), it was recommended to include the "N/A" in the question/scale. In my view, "N/A" does not equal the neutral. So, I don't think the center position would be the right location on the spectrum.
- If I were to include the neutral in the survey questions, what's its location in the scale?
- How should N/A answers be numerically coded?
If it would be the most-outer left point (code value = 1), it would take the place of the "To a very small extent"... which then has been shifted by 1 score to the right (code value = 2) and thereby isn't the total opposite of the "To a very great extent" (code value = 7).