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Key Considerations

  • For a section to be a Sequence it must have a clear end.
  • Sequences must contain at least one construct.

Sequences are a type of control construct used to group other constructs together and give it structure. The sequence is a container for Question Components, Conditions, Statements and Loops. They are mostly section headings, but may also be used to designate sub-sections.

The most common use of a sequence is to indicate a section of a questionnaire. For example, an instrument might have Sections A and B with questions within them. Section A and Section B would each become a sequence. A top sequence is always created first which contains all the questionnaire content and is labelled the questionnaire prefix. See Example 1. Sequences consist of a Label field only (see Example 2, Archivist construct build view below), which contains the text of the Sequence.

An additional use of sequences is when a question has several sub-questions and it cannot be entered as a question grid. In this case, the overarching question text becomes a sequence and the sub-questions sit within it. See Example 3. Finally, a sequence must always contain a construct. It usually has a number of constructs; especially question constructs. However, there are rare instances where a sequence only contains statements. See Example 4 below.


There are occasions when a sequence is repeated in a questionnaire, however, Archivist does not allow you to use the same label for two constructs and therefore this is not possible. In order to get around this, the label must be suffixed with a unique identify to distinguish between them. This is then striped out before being deposited in CLOSER Discovery. This is also true for corner labels in Question Grids. See Example 5 below.

Example 1 Questionnaire: ALSPAC Food and Things

Archivist view (alspac_04_fat):

Example 2 Questionnaire: ALSPAC Food and Things

Questionnaire layout:

Archivist construct build view (alspac_04_fat):

Archivist view (alspac_04_fat):

Example 3 Questionnaire: ALSPAC My Teenage Son

Questionnaire layout:

Archivist view (alspac_04_mtsd):

Example 4 Questionnaire: NCDS Parental questionnaire 1974

Questionnaire layout:

Archivist view (ncds_74_pq):

Example 5 Questionnaire: NCDS Interview 1981

When a questionnaire contains two or more sequences which are the same, when entering this into Archivist, the label must still be unique, therefore it is suffixed with an identifier. In the example below, INTERVIEWER CHECK is repeated, so to ensure the labels are unique, FJ (First Job) is suffixed to the first, and U (Unemployment) is suffixed to the second. In order to remove this from CLOSER Discovery, a label.txt file is created which contains the label as entered in archivist, followed by the correct sequence name (tab separated).

Questionnaire layout:

Archivist view (ncds_81_1):



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