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Key Considerations
- Numeric answers are used when a respondent must provide a number to answer to a question.
- They are either an Integer or Float numeric type. Integers are whole numbers only. Floats allow a decimal place.
- For most numeric responses a generic answer labelled ‘How many’ is used.
- Formats, minimums and maximums matter so ‘Number (Integer, Min: 0, Max: 10)’ is not the same as either ‘Number (Float, Min: 0, Max: 10)’ or ‘Number (Integer, Min: 0, Max: 20)’.
Numeric answers are used when the response to a question is a number. A numeric answer consists of a Label, Type, Numeric type and Min (Minimum) and Max (Maximum) values.
Archivist Build / Response Domain (Numeric Answer):
The numeric type is entered as either 'Integer' or 'Float'. Which type is chosen depends on the format of the response in the questionnaire. The numeric type ‘Float’ is used only if the response in the question contains a decimal point or requires a fraction (see examples). Min and Max values are always entered as whole numbers, regardless of the values indicated in the questionnaire.
For most numeric responses a generic answer labelled ‘How many’ is used, with a Numeric type of Integer and a Min value of 0 with the Max value left blank.
Archivist Build / Response Domain (How many):
If an Integer and a Float numeric type answer are needed for the same numeric response in a questionnaire, separate response domains are made for each numeric type, adding ‘I’ for integer and ‘F’ for float to the label. In the example below, the questionnaire contains questions with a ‘How many’ response with and without a decimal point.
Questionnaire: Initial Questionnaire (SWS) questions 7.4b and 8.4
Questionnaire layout:
The ‘How many’ response to question 7.4b contains a decimal point, while the response to 8.4 does not. Two ‘How many’ numeric answers are created, one with a numeric type of Integer and one with a numeric type of Float.
Archivist Build / Response Domain:
How many Integer answer | How many Float answer |
Archivist view (sws_1_bio):
Numeric answers with specific labels
There are several types of numeric answers which are specifically labelled:
- Age-related numeric responses
- Physical measurements
- Quantities (generally food-related)
- Numeric responses with min and/or max values defined in the question
- Time period (duration) responses input as a numeric answer
Note: Specifically labelled answers are not created for distance (i.e. miles), single unit time responses (i.e. hours only, minutes only), and measurements without a defined length or size (i.e. days, nights, slices, cups, mugs, etc.). These are all entered as a 'How many' response domain.
Age-related numeric answers
Answers to ‘How old’ questions are entered as follows:
Label | Type | Numeric type | Min | Max | Usage |
Age | Numeric | Integer | 0 | Blank | How old in years only or year component of question asking age in years and months. See example. |
Age in months | Numeric | Integer | 0 | Blank | How old with response in months only. Commonly seen in questionnaires for birth and pre-school life stages asking how old baby is with response expressed in only months. See example. |
Months | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 11 | How old with response in years and months. Answer is multiple response with ‘Age’ for years component and ‘Months’ for months component of question. See example. |
Measurements
Physical measurement responses with a defined length or size are input as labelled numeric answers regardless of whether the question response contains a single measurement (inches, cm, mm, kilos) or a compound measurement (… lbs … oz; … stones … lbs; … ft … in). The answer label for the measurement unit should be fully spelled out regardless of how it is written in the questionnaire.
When the answer is the second measurement in a compound response, the label is entered as ‘[X] in [Y]’, where [X] is the second part of the measurement and [Y] is first part. So for a response ‘… lbs … oz’ the label for the ‘oz’ numeric answer is ‘Ounces in pound’, with a Min of 0 and Max of 15 (for an integer response) or 16 (for a float response). For the response ‘… stones … lbs’ the label for the ‘lbs’ numeric answer is ‘Pounds in stone’, with a Min of 0 and Max of 13 (for an integer response) or 14 (for a float response).
Responses for medical measurements, e.g. blood pressure, peak expiratory flow rate, are labelled using the unit of measure recorded for the medical check, not the procedure itself. The numeric response for blood pressure is labelled Millimetres and does not need to be distinguished from Millimetres used as a physical measurement. The label for peak expiratory flow rate, used to assess lung capacity, is Litres per minute.
Temperature, whether of a person or a room, is input as a numeric answer only if the question specifies whether the response is in Celsius or Fahrenheit. The numeric response is labelled either Celsius or Fahrenheit depending on the unit indicated in the question. If a question regarding temperature does not specify a unit of measurement, the answer is input as a text response labelled Temperature. See discussion of insufficiently defined numeric responses in Text answers section.
Common measurement answers:
Label | Type | Numeric type | Min | Max | Used for question text response |
Feet | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in feet only. Also used as feet component of question asking height measurement in feet and inches. See example. |
Inches | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in inches only. See example. |
Centimetres | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in centimetres only. See Integer example and Float example. |
Millimetres | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in millimetres only. See Integer example and Float example of physical measurement. Also used for as answer in questions recording blood pressure. |
Pounds | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in pounds only. Also used as pound component of question asking weight measurement in pounds and ounces. See Pounds only example and Pounds/Ounces example. |
Stones | Numeric | Integer | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in stones only. Also used as stones component of question asking weight measurement in stones and pounds. See example. |
Kilograms | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in kilograms only. Also used as kilogram component of question asking weight measurement in kilograms and grams. See Integer example and Float example. |
Grams | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in grams only. The same numeric answer may also be used as a quantity answer. See example. |
Ounces | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Measurement response in ounces only. The same numeric answer may also be used as a quantity measurement answer for volume in ounces only. |
Inches in foot | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 11 | Inches component of height measurement in feet and inches. Response is whole number. See example. |
Inches in foot | Numeric | Float | 0 | 12 | Inches component of height measurement in feet and inches. Response contains decimal point or a fraction. See example. |
Ounces in pound | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 15 | Ounces component of weight measurement in pounds and ounces. Response is whole number. |
Ounces in pound | Numeric | Float | 0 | 16 | Ounces component of weight measurement in pounds and ounces. Response contains decimal point or a fraction. See example. |
Pounds in stone | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 13 | Pounds component of weight measurement in stones and pounds. Response is whole number. See example. |
Pounds in stone | Numeric | Float | 0 | 14 | Pounds component of weight measurement in stones and pounds. Response contains decimal point or a fraction. |
Grams in Kilogram | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 999 | Grams component of weight measurement in kilograms and grams. Response is whole number. |
Grams in Kilogram | Numeric | Float | 0 | 1000 | Grams component of weight measurement in kilograms and grams. Response contains decimal point. |
Litres per minute | Numeric | Integer | 0 | Blank | Measurement of peak expiratory flow rate (lung capacity). |
Celsius | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Temperature measurement is specified as Celsius. |
Fahrenheit | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Temperature measurement is specified as Fahrenheit. |
Quantities
Quantities which have a precise unit of measurement are entered as specifically labelled numeric answers. Tablespoons, teaspoons, fluid ounces (fl.ozs), centilitres (cls), millilitres (mls), and grams are examples of quantity responses that are entered as labelled numeric answers. Responses asking average amount per serving, no of cups/mugs of tea/coffee (see example), glasses, spoons, slices, scoops, bananas, eggs, etc., where the serving size is variable (see example), are not entered as specifically labelled numeric answers. ‘How many’ is used as the answer for these types of quantities.
Common quantity answers:
Label | Type | Numeric type | Min | Max | Used for question text response |
Tablespoons | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Quantity response expressed in number of tablespoons. Commonly found in Food Diary questions. See example. |
Teaspoons | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Quantity response expressed in number of teaspoons. Commonly found in Food Diary questions. |
Fluid ounces | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Quantity response measuring size of container, i.e., cup, mug or amount of liquid. See example. |
Millilitres | Numeric | Integer | 0 | Blank | Quantity response measuring size of container, i.e., cup, mug or amount of liquid. See example. |
Grams | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Quantity response expressed as weight in grams. The same numeric answer may also be used as a physical measurement answer. |
Ounces | Numeric | Integer or Float | 0 | Blank | Quantity response expressed in ounces (weight or fluid). The same numeric answer can also be used as a physical measurement answer for weight in ounces only. See example. |
Numeric responses with Min and/or Max values defined in question
Most of the time when a question asks ‘How many of [X]’ there is no restriction within the question as to what the numeric response to the question might be. However, some questions contain defined minimum or maximum values in the question text. A specifically labelled numeric answer is created when a question restricts the numeric answer that may be given in response to the question.
Note: Unlike text answers, the restriction must be written in words in the question or response text. A particular number of blank boxes for writing in a numeric response is not treated as defining a maximum value.
Common answers with defined min/max values:
Label | Type | Numeric type | Min | Max | Used for question text response |
Hours in day | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 24 | How many hours per day event occurred. See example. |
Hours in week | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 168 | How many hours per week event occurred. See example. |
Days in month | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 31 | How many days in a month event occurred. See example. |
Days in [X] days | Numeric | Integer | 0 | [X] | Question asks how many days in a defined number of days event has happened. Min value always 0, Max value is the defined number of days contained in question, i.e. for ‘How many days in the last 90?’ answer max would be 90. See example. |
Months in year | Numeric | Integer | 1 | 12 | How many months in a year event occurred. See example . |
Floor | Numeric | Integer | Varies | Blank | Question asks lowest level of living accommodation, with the floor to be specified above a certain level. See examples. |
Percentage | Numeric | Integer | 0 | 100 | Question asks for a percentage response. See example. |
[Activity] | Numeric | Integer | 0 | [X] | Question asks how many times an activity (i.e. catching a ball) is performed in a specific number of attempts. Label for numeric answer is activity performed. Max is total attempts at activity. See examples. |
[Time period] | Numeric | Integer | 0 | [X] | Question asks how many times an activity (i.e. picking up matches) is performed over a specific time period. Label for numeric answer is time period (i.e. seconds). Max is total time period recorded for activity. See example. |
Date responses input as a numeric answer
Date responses that ask only for the day in a month, or the month in a year, something occurred/will occur cannot be input as a date answer. A specifically defined numeric answer is used.
Label | Type | Numeric type | Min | Max | Used for question text response |
Month of year | Numeric | Integer | 1 | 12 | Month of a year event occurred/will occur. See example. |
Day of month | Numeric | Integer | 1 | 31 | Day of a month event occurred/will occur. |
Time period (duration) responses input as a Numeric answer
For a period of time response to be entered as a duration, it must meet the following criteria. The time period must be for a specific event, for a continuous period of time, and the period must be sufficiently described, so that the start and end of the event are discrete time points. Responses that do not meet these criteria for a duration answer are entered as numeric answers.
The Duration section of the date and time answers guidance provides a detailed discussion of the use of duration versus numeric answers. See also examples of time period responses that are entered as a duration answer and examples of time period responses that are entered as a numeric answer for more information.
Time period responses with only one time point (i.e. years only, hours only) are not sufficiently described to be entered as a duration answer and a ‘How many’ answer is entered (see example). When a compound time period response is input as two numeric answers, the first element of the time period is entered as a ‘How many’ answer; the second element is entered as a specifically labelled answer (see example).