Using a Likert-scale
as a value list

Chong-ho (Alex) Yu, Ph.D., MCSE, CNE


I use a 5-point Likert scale as a value list. If I spell out the value such as "Strongly agree," it is easier for users to follow. But it is tedious to convert the data to numbers for data analysis. If I use numbers such as "1, 2, 3, 4, 5," it is easier to me but users may be confused.


While creating the value list, you should use both string and numbers as shown in the following:

Likert Scale

Next, you have two options. If your survey is short, you can create Calculation fields using the left function: left(field_name,1). This function retain the first column from the left and truncate all the rest. However, if you have a long survey, it is more efficient to import the data into MS Access and alter the field width there. The following is a table carring both string and numbers:

Access Table

Click on the upper left icon to go to the Design View. For each field, change the width to "1" as shown below:

Trim columns

Then the data will look like this and you can manipulate them in a statistical package easily:

One may argue that if MS Access can truncate data easily, it makes more sense to use Access rather than FMP. In Access you have to define the field length and that's why you can trim columns easily. However, the maximum field length in Access is 255 characters while there is no limit in FMP. The field length in FMP is dynamic and thus a field can accept any data even if that is a ten-page essay. In my view, the advantage of using dynamic fields outweight its disadvantage.


FMP Tips Contents

Other computer tips

Search Engine

Credit/Copyright ©

Simplified Navigation

Table of Contents

Contact Me