I have Windows 7 and am going to reformat/reinstall, but want to try a dual boot configuration with Linux mint. If I install Windows creating 3 partitions: one for Windows, one for Linux, and one for all of my data (to be accessed by Windows and Linux), is there still any need for me to create an additional "home" partition during the Linux install? I am planning on creating a small swap partition.
There is no need to have a separate home partition at all. The only problem with this configuration, is that if you ever need to reinstall from scratch, then you will need to backup your /home, as the root partition is usually formated again on new install. If you have your /home separated, you can safely reinstall keeping your data.