Coding open-ended responses can often be a tedious and time-consuming task for market researchers, especially when you include an ‘Other/specify’ option and then need to back code into the original question. In this post, I will show you how to easily code ‘Other/specify’ open-ends into a merged question.
A data set with Other / Specify responses.
Setting up your coding
To set up coding for an ‘Other/specify’ question, you essentially need to treat the text variable(s) as if you are coding from scratch, except this time we will pull the code frame and data from a specific question. As we are coding a multiple response question, we need to set the coding up by
- Highlighting the text variable in the Variables and Questions tab
- Right-clicking and selecting Insert Variable(s) > Code Text > New Code Frame > Manual Categorization
- Select the coding type that matches the structure of the question the ‘Other/specify’ variable comes from: Mutually Exclusive Categories for a Pick One or Mutually Overlapping Categories for a Pick Any.
You will then be presented with a screen like below with the standard coding fields.
Coding your ‘Other/Specify’ question
When you code an ‘Other/Specify’ question, the majority of steps are the same as if you are coding a conventional open-ended question, bar a few key ones. I will now take you through this process.
- At the bottom left of the screen is an Inputs and Back Coding button. Clicking this will open up a new window where you can select the question to back-code into based on the question type.
- Select the question whose code frame and data you wish to share, in this case ‘Q6 – Device ownership’ and click OK.
- Once you have made this selection, the code frame of the selected question will appear on the right. You can right-click and use the context menu to add further codes via Add Category or Import/Export Category Names. When you are dealing with a multiple response question, you will need to additionally click the original ‘Other (please specify)’ category in the coding window and select Is Other/Specify to ensure the new question doesn’t double-count the original ‘Other’ responses.
- Once you’re ready to start allocating uncoded responses to the code frame, simply highlight the responses on the left. The grey numbers in brackets represent the number of responses that fit this exact wording, regardless of case and leading or trailing spaces.
- Now select the category that you wish to allocate these responses to on the right. If this were a single response question, Q would automatically categorize the responses. For multiple response questions you will need to click the Categorize as, Move to, or Add to buttons to complete the categorization. More information on multiple response coding is available in this post How to Code Open-Ended Responses with Multiple Mentions in Q.
- Click Save Categories to merge the original question’s data with our ‘Other/specify’ coding, including any additions to the code frame. This is why it is important to code in the same question format as the original question. So if your original question is single response, you need to also code as a single response (Pick One). If the original question is multiple response, you need to code as a multiple response (Pick Any).
Displaying your coding as a table
Once you have finished coding, you can then bring up the question as a table and use it in your analysis.