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titleKey Considerations
  • Most text answers are input entered as either ‘Generic text’ (with a maximum length of 255) or ‘Long text’ (with no maximum length).

  • The text answer 'Other' is used when the question asks for writing in additional responses to those included in the question.

  • Where a numerical numeric answer requires a unit or other qualifying information, it should be added as a text answer. For example, ‘Give your height in centimetres’ centimeters’ is a number, whereas ‘Give your height’ is a text answer as the unit needs to be specified in the answer.

  • Maximum length matters so ‘Other (max length: 30)’ is different to ‘Other (max length: 200)’.

Text answers are used when a response to a question is alphanumeric, i.e. a free text space. Most text responses are not specifically labelled and there are three non-specific answers which are used in almost all questionnaires, 'Generic text', 'Other' and 'Long text' (see Non-specific text answers). Specifically labelled text answers are created when a question defines a maximum length for an alphanumeric response. Numeric responses that are not sufficiently defined to allow a numeric answer are also entered as text answers.


Example 2 Questionnaire: BCS Parental Interview Form

Questionnaire layout:



If there are exactly three full page lines available for a question response, either ‘Generic text’ or ‘Long text’ may be used at the discretion of the inputterenterer.

Note: Questions that are phrased ‘Space for any additional comments you would like to make’ (common in ALSPAC), or similar wording, are entered with a ‘Long text’ answer, regardless of how much space in the questionnaire is given for the response.