Assessment of no opinion and don't know responses to community surveys
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A cornerstone of planning in many communities is needs assessment, which often is accomplished by collecting citizen opinions through mailed questionnaires. A typical example would be when residents are presented a list of services and asked to rate their level of satisfaction with them or indicate whether the services should receive more or less funding. In addition to substantive responses, respondents might also be afforded the opportunity to indicate a "no opinion" or "don't know" response to these questions. In the absence of a "no opinion" or "don't know" option, the respondents might choose not to answer a question or choose a neutral response. This research uses a split-ballot experiment to examine how "no opinion" or "don't know" response options affect community needs assessment surveys.