Many surveys by law departments ask for answers on a scale that moves from negative scores to positive scores. For example, 1 (hate), 2 (dislike), 3 (neutral), 4 (like) and 5 (love). The analytical tool, “net scores,” displays the combined effect of related scale scores. Net scores are calculated by subtracting the percentage that indicates negative directional change from the percentage that indicates positive directional change. If there are five choices on the spectrum, net the percentages of the top two against the bottom two.
When analyzing responses to four-point scales, often the “top two responses” and “bottom two responses” are grouped in the findings. For example, “somewhat agree” and “strongly agree” responses are combined into a “total agree” percentage (See my posts of June 30,2006 on analysis and depiction tools.).