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Analysis Custom Table for a Set of Likert Scale Questions

In many market research situations you will ask people several questions that have the same set of answer categories. The most obvious example is when you ask an opinion on various aspects of life, the universe or your products and services.
It would be nice to have one table where the answers to all these questions are shown together. On this page we show you how this can be accomplished. 

The processing of such a set of variables to make the required table takes several steps:

Note: It would be nice to have a stacked bar chart visualizing the created table as well. How that is accomplishes is shown on a separate page.
See the section on Graphs: Bar chart for a set of Likert scale questions.  

The set of questions

Vraag 3


Coding in SPSS

The value codes for all variables are the same. Their meaning is:

So 9 is defined as missing value.

Note: The common part of the question ("Please indicate how important the following are in your life") is not included in the variable labels. This common part will be in the title of the resulting table.


Creating the custom table

We choose from the Menu:
Analyze > Tables > Custom Table:

custom tables

Step 1 is to select the variables and to drag them to the position "Rows".

It is important that the the level of measurement of all variables is set correctly, because the default settings for the table will be based on that.

It is also important that all variables have exactly the same value labels. Only then can SPSS use them for the labeling in the table.
Using copy-paste in the Variable View Window you can easily correct any differences.

Step 2: We click the button   to select the statistics we want to display in our table.

The window shown on the right pops up. We can add statistics to the table and we can remove some.

In this example we have chosen to select Count and Row N% (row percentages; we want them displayed to one decimal).

Note that you can rearrange the order in which the selected statistics will be displayed.

If you are satisfied with your selection you click on "Apply to Selection".

Note that next to statistics you can also ask for Totals  using categories and totals

In step 3 we edit the display of the data.

By default the Statistics appear in the columns. We change that to Rows.

We also tick the box for "Hide". This will hide the labels for Count and Row N%. We don't want them, since the data speak for themselves in this case.

By default the value labels for our variables are positioned in the Rows. We change that to Columns.

Note that there are other tabs available. For example you can give your table a title.

editing table display
The preview will give you an indication of what your table will look like.
If you are satisfied with it click on OK.

Finally: Once your table is produced you can edit it further like any piece of SPSS Output by double-clicking on it.


The result

Note: Custom Tables is a powerful menu option with a lot of possibilities. We have shown you just one nice and useful table.
Experiment and consult the SPSS Help to gain further insights into Custom Tables.


Last modified 30-10-2012

Jos Seegers, 2009; English version by Gé Groenewegen.