QUOTE(Sed @ May 28 2007, 07:39 PM)
[Boring methodological aside]
One of the reasons that many Likert-style questionnaire items such as these don't include neutral options is because of the tendency of many respondants to "vote down the middle" on certain items. Medial response tendency is one of the (several) limitations of this form of measurement.
I had something of a fight last summer with an organization for whom I was designing a questionnaire. They wanted an even number of response choices to force respondants to one side of the aisle or another. The problem was that this was a paper-based questionnaire. My response was, "If you want an even number of responses, that's fine - but realize that it's not going to really solve the issue that you intend to solve; it's been my experience that the two middle categories will end up balancing each other out anyway." This was, in fact, exactly what the data revealed once the completed forms were returned. Also, you get the fucktards who circle more than one response (i.e., '3' and '4' on a six-point response item) - which, BTW, I also predicted would happen. But at least we can compensate for that if it doesn't occur too frequently.
In the end, you can either opt to include a neutral response or opt not to do so - one method really isn't "better" than the other.
[/Boring methodological aside]
Interesting. Actually, it's funny because I was very aware that for many questions I was being 'wishy washy' and couldn't really choose between agree/disagree. I was actively considering that I wanted to "vote down the middle" and wished the questions were such that I didn't have that temptation. But, I guess it can't be helped. Stuff like these questions kept me from giving a definitive answer:
-If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.
Huh? What if I think that humanity's interests and a trans-national's interests aren't fundamentally different? I recognize that corporations are meant to profit, but what if I think a successful corporation can benefit humanity?
-Military action that defies international law is sometimes justified.
Why drag military and international into this at all? Why not just ask if action that defies law is sometimes justified? This seems more like a question about Iraq than your real beliefs.
-Controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment.
I'm not an economist, you asshole. I don't know.
-A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies.
Predator multinationals? Boy, nice wording.
-It's natural for children to keep some secrets from their parents.
What does this even mean? Am I supposed to read into the parent/child privacy issue, or just answer whether or not kids keep secrets? If it's the latter, the question is moronic, and if it's the former, why just hint at it?
-No broadcasting institution, however independent its content, should receive public funding.
The term 'public funding' seems broad. Do you mean "tax-based funding?"
And so on.
Anyway, I retook it for fun, trying to avoid being wishy-washy and voting for strong options whenever possible. My new results:
Economic Left/Right: 0.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.74
Hmm. Interesting. I moved almost 2 points to the right economically and gained another point of libertarianism. It's actually probably a little more accurate now.