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SoSci Survey provides different question types for the realisation of rating-scales. In the following, we will look at rating-scales with a item text (for example a statement) on one side and several response levels next to it (or below) to assess the item.

5er-Skala mit Ausweichoption und grafischer Verankerung

Depending on whether you want to label only the extreme values ​​of the scale or whether you want to label each individual value, please use the question type “scale (extrema labeld)” or “scale (interim values labeled). You can also change the question type later.

Tip: Under DisplayArrangement, select whether the scale points should be displayed next to the item text or below.

Encoding the response options

The selection options on a scale automatically receive the codes 1 (minimum) to k (maximum). k is the number of scale levels. Thus, e.g. 1 to 5 for a 5 scale.

Inverting items

You can invert the encoding of single items (reversed coding) so that a selection of the minimum (for example, “does not apply at all”) is not code 1 but code 5 (on a 5-level scale). To do this, either select a checkmark to the right of the item text (⮀) in the Item quick-entry or select the item on the left in the navigation (Question catalog) and activate the option Invert answer codes for this item.

Recode items

If you need a different encoding (for example, 0..4 instead of 1..5), you have two options: You can recode the items classically during evaluation - or you can recode them into new variables within the questionnaire.

For this, you first need a question Internal Variables with as many variables as your scale has items. The easiest way to do this is by duplicating the question with the scale and then changing the question type of the copy to “Internal Variables”.

Then select with PHP-Code and the function value() the subscriber's response in the scale, make the desired transcoding, and save the result using put() to one of the internal variables.

Important: The PHP code may not be on the same page as the scale, but on the next page (e.g., at the beginning of the next page). For details, please refer to the notes on the function value().

Example 1

The following PHP code encodes all items of the “SC01” scale so that the encoding 1..5 is transformed to 0..4. The recoded values ​​are stored in the internal variables of “IV01”.

$input = 'SC01';
$output = 'IV01';
// Create a list of all items
$items = getItems($input, 'all');
// Go through all items
foreach ($items as $item) {
  // id() constructs an item identifier (SC01_01) from a question identifier (SC01) and the item number (e.g., 1)
  // value() has the answer code expelled
  $orgCode = value(id($input, $item));
  // Recode only positive codes
  if ($orgCode > 0) {
    // Subtract from 1
    $newCode = $orgCode - 1;
  } else {
    // Keep error codes 
    $newCode = $orgCode;
  // put() stores the value in an internal variable
  put(id($output, $item), $newCode);

Important: The question “internal variables”, in example IV01, must be created manually in the question catalog (see above).

Important: The above code also transforms error codes, e.g. is -1 for the selection of a residual option (“do not know”) -2. Code -9 (no answer) would be -10.

Example 2

The following PHP code requires an individual recoding for each item. This is initially defined in an array. The identifier of the item is used as the key to the array, that is, e.g. 2 for “SC01_02”

Within the array, further arrays are defined (in the example, one per line), which specifies the exact recoding. In the second item, e.g. the value 1 becomes 5, the values ​​2 and 3 become 2, the value 4 becomes 1 and the 5 becomes the 0.

$input = 'SC01';  // ID of the scale question
$output = 'IV01'; // ID of the internal variable
$recode = array(
  1 => array(1 => 2, 2 => 4, 3 => 6, 4 => 8, 5 => 10),
  2 => array(1 => 5, 2 => 2, 3 => 2, 4 => 1, 5 => 0),
  3 => array(1 => 1, 2 => 1, 3 => 2, 4 => 2, 5 => 4),
  4 => array(1 => 0, 2 => 2, 3 => 2, 4 => 1, 5 => 0)
foreach ($recode as $item => $codes) {
  // Retrieve the response code from the scale
  $response = value(id($input, $item));
  // Recode only if this value has been defined (otherwise save the error code -8)
  if (isset($codes[$response])) {
    put(id($output, $item), $codes[$response]);
  } else {
    put(id($output, $item), -8);

Different Inscriptions

The response options on a scale are the same for all items, e.g. from “does not apply at all” until “fully meets”. If your items require different response options, first check whether one of the following question types is suitable:

If not, create several scale questions and display them directly in the questionnaire Concatenating Questions

Vertikal Inscription

With fully labeled scales, it happens that the space becomes tight. In this case, it is usually useful to make changes to the content of the question or to use a different question type (e.g. a selection sequence). But in some individual cases it may also be useful to align the scale point labels vertically.

Attention: The following solution does not work correctly on the small screens of mobile devices without further adjustments.

To align text rotated by 90°, first add the following CSS code in the questionnaire layout in the HTML template in the <style> area.

div.vert {
    height: 100px;
    width: 20px;
    overflow: hidden;
    position: relative;
div.vert > span {
    display: block;
    position: absolute;
    bottom: 0;
    width: 100px;
    height: 20px;
    text-align: left;
    transform: rotate(270deg) translate(-20px, 5px);
    transform-origin: 0 0;

Please note that the exact dimensions - especially the 100px and generally width and height have to be adjusted to the respective scale. Alternatively to the layout, you can also include the CSS code with the PHP command pageCSS() only on a single page in the questionnaire. In this case, however, you will see the change only in the questionnaire and not in the preview of the question.

Furthermore, in the scale question, reduce the width of labeled values/columns to about 40 pixels.

Lastly, put the selection option labels in a <div> and a <span> tag, as in the following example:

<div class="vert"><span>Not true at all</span></div>`
en/create/questions/scale.txt · Last modified: 29.04.2021 21:43 by sophia.schauer
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