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Graphs Bar chart for a set of Likert scale questions

Elsewhere on this site we discussed how to make a table for the situation described in the title. You find it at Custom Table for a Set of Likert Scale Questions.
On this page we explain how to show the results in graphical form.

The Questions:

Vraag 3




How to make the graph?

This is not as straightforward as most graphs. We will show step by step how to get the nice result you find at the end of this page.
Our starting point is a custom table for the set of questions. This has been discussed in detail on the page Custom Table for a Set of Likert Scale Questions.

To get the chart we want, we have to do things a little different here. We put the variables in the columns (instead of in the rows), we ask for column percentages but no counts, and we choose for the Category Position the option "Column Labels in Rows". We don't want any totals in the table.

likert table for bar chart

The resulting table looks like this:

likert table result

Next you double-click on this table to get it into edit mode.
You select all the percentages by dragging with your mouse.
Then you right-click.
You see in the pop-up menu the option "Create Graph". From it you choose for Bar.

likert table selection


The first result:

This is a start but there is still work to be done. The first step is to convert the graph from a clustered bar to a stacked bar chart.

Double-click on the chart to open it in its own Chart Editor window.

Now select the bars and in the properties window choose the tab "Variables".

Next to statistics entry  there is a pull-down menu
that by default shows "X Cluster".

Pull the menu down and choose "Stack".

Click on "Apply".
properties stack for column

stacked bars but wrong colors

We now have a stacked bar chart. But for some reason the colors have changed.
And the Chart Editor doesn't respond if we want to adjust them. We need a little trick here.

In the Chart Editor choose from the menu: File > Apply Chart Template... .
Now browse to the location where chart templates are kept.
Probably it is at C:\Program Files\IBM\SPSS\Statistic\20\template.
Select a template and confirm that you want to apply is by clicking on the "Open" button.

The editing options are unlocked and now you can start editing the graph until you are fully satisfied.
apply chart template


The edited result:

One clearly sees that "having children" is most important while "be ambitious" is the least important aspect in the respondents' lives.


Last modified 30-10-2012

Jos Seegers, 2009; English version by Gé Groenewegen.