How Q Works Out Question Types

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One of the keys to working productively with Q is ensuring that the Question Type is correct for all questions in a project. A question’s type is ascertained by Q in the following ways.

Default settings

When importing a data file, Q starts with the assumption that a question will be single response (i.e., treating each variable as a separate question). If the variable contains text information, Q assumes it is Text. Otherwise, Q assumes it is Number.

Data file metadata

Better quality data files contain metadata indicating certain properties of the data. For example, an SPSS .sav data file can contain Multiple Response Sets, which Q interprets as instructions for grouping variables into questions.

Pattern matching

When importing SPSS data files, Q runs some internal checks to see if the data file has been set up in an appropriate manner. If the SPSS file has not been set up appropriately, Q will show the following message when importing a new data file:

Q thinks your data has not been completely set up.
Would you like Q to automatically group like variables to create multiple response questions?

If you press Yes, Q examines the data and deduces which variables should be grouped together into questions, and sets appropriate question types.

It is difficult to overstate the benefits of ensuring that data files are set up in accordance with the specifications. The better a data file, the less time that is taken to set up the data file in Q and resulting analyses will be much easier and faster.

Changing Question Type

In the Variables and Questions tab click on the Question Type shown for a question to change it to another question type.

Set Question

Multiple variables can be manually grouped as a question using Set Question (see How to Group Multiple Variables into a Question).

Further reading: SPSS Alternatives