How to Analyze Ranking Data

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It is often useful to represent ranking questions in multiple ways, as:

  • Number - Multi questions, so that the average can be displayed.
  • Pick Any questions, to show, for example, the top 3 ranks.
  • Pick One - Multi questions, so that the proportion in each rank can be seen.
  • Ranking questions if you are planning to use the data as an input to segmentation (note that in general, this Question Type is not able to be understood by people that do not have substantial technical expertise, as it displays outputs from a complex statistical model).

Two cautions when dealing with ranking data are:

  • Ensuring that you know what the numbers mean (e.g., is 1 the lowest or highest rank, and has the Question been named to reflect this.
  • Dealing with missing values, in situations where missing values contain information (e.g., where people have missing data because something is known to be unimportant to them).

The best way to do basic analyses of ranking data in Q depends upon the structure of the data in Q.

One variable for each option being ranked and only some of the options are ranked (e.g., top 5)

  1. Go to the Variables and Questions tab and select all the variables.
  2. If not already done, select them all, select Set Question and set the Question Type to Pick One - Multi.
  3. Press the Values button.
  4. Put some sensible descriptions in the Label column if they are not already there. E.g., replace 1 with First.
  5. If any option that was not ranked is shown as Missing Data:
    • Uncheck the Missing Data option.
    • Give the Label a better name (e.g., Not top 5).
  6. Proceed to the next section.

One variable for each option being ranked and all of the options are ranked

  1. If you have not already done so:
  2. Select the question in the Blue Drop-down Menu and, provided you have followed the steps above, you will see the percentage of people choosing each option. You can merge and create NET categories.
  3. If necessary, create a Filter so that the table is only computed amongst people that saw the question.
  4. Follow the steps for whatever analysis you want to perform below. If you want to perform more than one of these analyses then you can do so by first making a copy of the question. You can do this by highlighting all the variables in the Variables and Questions tab, right-clicking, and selecting Copy and Paste Question(s) > Exact Copy.

Computing top few box percentages (e.g., ranked top 3)

Change the Question Type to Pick Any and ensure that the Count This Value settings are appropriate.

Computing averages

Change the Question Type to Number - Multi.

Computing Probability %

Change the Question Type to Ranking.

One variable for each rank

  1. Go to the Variables and Questions tab and select all the variables.
  2. If not already done, right-click the selected variables, choose Set Question and set the Question Type to Pick One - Multi.
  3. If any option that was not ranked is shown as Missing Data:
    • Uncheck the Missing Data option.
    • Give the Label a better name (e.g., Not top 5).
  4. Select the question in the Blue Drop-down Menu and you will see a table where each row shows and, provided you have followed the steps above, you will see the percentage of people choosing each option at each rank.

Computing top rank box percentages

  1. In the Variables and Questions tab, select the first variable.
  2. Right-click and select Copy and Paste Variable(s) > Exact Copy.
  3. Change the Question Type to Pick One (it may already be this type).
  4. Select the question in the Blue Drop-down Menu and it will show the percentage who ranked each option as first.

Computing top few box percentages (e.g., ranked top 3)

  1. In the Variables and Questions tab, select the variables that contain the relevant data. For example, if wanting to show options ranked in the top three, you would select the first three variables.
  2. Right-click and select Copy and Paste Variable(s) > Exact Copy.
  3. Right-click and select Set Question.
  4. Change the Question Type to Pick Any - Compact and click OK.
  5. Select the question in the Blue Drop-down Menu and it will show the percentage who ranked each option in the top few boxes (e.g., top 3).

See also

Ranking Plot