[EpiData-list] Multiple response questions

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Thu Feb 15 16:49:24 CST 2007

Hi all, Hans and Kristine,

I have a slightly different way of handling multiple response questions that
seems to work well for data entry, but is possibly a little more tricky to
set up initially, and also you may want to convert it to a
Boolean/dichotomous form afterward.

You will need as many variables as there possibly will be answers given to
the question (so at most as many variables as possible responses). Using
Hans' example of symptoms, you may call the variables symptom1, symptom2,
symptom3, etc.

These variables do not correspond directly to responses, but instead each of
them has a value list equal to all possible responses (i.e. if the five
possible symptoms are coughing, sneezing, aching, bleeding and
vomiting, then you will need all of these to be the value lists of each of
the variables symptom1, symptom2, etc.)

The thing that makes this tricky to set up but then easier for data entry,
is that you will want to set up the .chk file logic such that once the data
entry operator has entered as many options as were ticked, they should skip
over the rest of the variables so that they only need to enter as many
values as were ticked on the form (plus one for the skip). Also, you may
want to add some extra logic to check for duplicate entries which can get
fairly complicated depending on how many variables you have.

I will put together an example of this as Epidata files - can I attach this
to the list or somewhere else?

If anything I've said here is not clear and you would like more info I'll be
happy to provide it.


Charity Jenkins
Data Processing Officer
Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer
The Cancer Council Victoria

On 2/16/07, epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca <epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca>
> Dear Kristine:
> As one variable can take only one value, you must use as many variables
> as there are possible values.  If you have 5 possible responses ("Do you
> have any of the following 5 symptoms?"), you need 5 variables, each with
> 3 possible values, "present", "absent", "unanswered".  I don't see an
> easier way.
> Regards,
> Hans
> Dear Epi-data users:
> What is the best way to deal with multiple response questions?
> Thanks,
> Kristine Hopkins
> Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

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