Use alternative values to calculate summary statistics

"Mean" values in the format dialog

Updated at February 20th, 2020

In the format dialog, there is a column "Mean" where you can enter alternative values. These "Mean" values override original values when calculating summary statistics. Let's take a look at two situations where this feature would be applicable.

Use alternative values to calculate summary statistics for questions with:

  • Qualitative response categories
  • Range response categories

Qualitative response categories 

In q1, the response categories are displayed to the user as: "Very happy," "Pretty happy," etc. However, in the survey data these response categories are represented by integer values (e.g. 1, 2,...). 

In this type of question, summary statistics like "mean" aren't particularly useful for analysis because they're calculated using "Value." However, if you can assign more purposeful numeric values to response categories, then summary statistics will have more meaning. 

We can view q1 values by choosing "Format..." from the context menu:

Below for the same element q1, we assigned "Mean" values to the response choices that are indicative of their worth. How these values are determined can be subjective. 

After "Mean" values are specified, we can see that the summary statistics are calculated using those values instead. 

Range response categories 

Another instance where alternative values are useful is when questions have response choices that are ranges. In the element, age, the summary statistics seemingly do not correlate to the data. 

Looking at the format for age, we see that there are random integer "Values" assigned to the range categories. You can add the appropriate "Mean" values to adjust the summary statistics.

The result is seen below:

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