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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: SWS Initial Questionnaire

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:

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 minuteNumericInteger0BlankMeasurement of peak expiratory flow rate (lung capacity).
CelsiusNumericInteger or Float0BlankTemperature measurement is specified as Celsius.
FahrenheitNumericInteger or Float0BlankTemperature 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 e xample  .

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).

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