Overview: Categorical question types

September 13, 2021
Question type/configuration
Use
Selection Presentation Linked Ordered Cascading
Single
Single radio-buttons To select from a small number of categories, such as Yes/No/Don’t know, or Urban/Rural.
Single combobox To select from a large number of categories, such as favorite dish, or name of the village where the person was born.
Single radio-buttons linked To select one of the values listed earlier, such as "Who is the head of the household?"
Single combobox linked NOT IMPLEMENTED
Single radio-buttons cascading To create cascading selections (implement a hierarchical choice), such as select a province, then select a district within that province, then a locality within that district. (when each level has a small number of choices given the earlier made selections)
Single combobox cascading To create cascading selections (implement a hierarchical choice), such as select a province, then select a district within that province, then a locality within that district. (when some levels may have a large number of choices given the earlier made selections)
Multiple
Multiple checkboxes To capture spontaneous answers, such as "In which days of the week do you typically work?" (we expect the respondent to know the days of the week: Monday, Tuesday,..., and the interviewer doesn’t usually have to read the options)
Multiple yes/no buttons To capture answers where the list of items must be read and status of each item established, such as "Tell me please which durable assets do you own?" (we do not expect that the respondent clearly knows what we consider a 'durable asset', hence it is better to read-out: a refrigerator, a microwave, a dishwasher,...)
Multiple combobox To select multiple items from a large number of selections, such as for example: "Which crops do you cultivate at your plot?" (the universe of possible values is large, but the number of actual selections will be small, though there can be more than one crop).
Multiple checkboxes linked To capture multiple selections of the items from an earlier compiled list, such as "Tell me please which members of the household attend any school currently?" (we choose from the list of the household members entered earlier)
Multiple yes/no buttons linked NOT IMPLEMENTED
Multiple combobox linked NOT IMPLEMENTED
Multiple checkboxes ordered To capture spontaneous answers, such as in questions like "In which months do you make most of your profits? Name the months in order of profitability starting from the most profitable first." (we expect the respondent to know the months of the year: January, February,...)
Multiple yes/no buttons ordered

(Rare)

NB: Only the positive selections are numbered as choices. Negative selections are not numbered and it is not evident from the answer in which sequence the negative answers were given in relation to the positive ones.

To capture answers where the list of items must be read and both status and importance of each item established, such as "Tell me please which sources of water do you use? Indicate the most important sources of water first!" (can be used in CAWI surveys where the respondent will see all choices.)

Multiple combobox ordered NOT IMPLEMENTED

(NB: multiple-select combobox records answers in order of selection regardless of whether the 'ordered' option has been specified or not)
Multiple checkboxes linked ordered To capture multiple selections of the items from an earlier compiled list in order of some of their attribute, such as "Tell me please which of the products you produce are profitable? (please, start from the most profitable first)"
Multiple yes/no buttons linked ordered NOT IMPLEMENTED
Multiple combobox linked ordered NOT IMPLEMENTED

Please note:

  • All categories in categorical questions must have distinct numeric integer codes (may be negative or positive or include 0).

  • Any of the above-mentioned question variants may involve a filter imposed on the categories (except for questions used in the cover page [WB0029]).

  • Multiple select categorical questions may not be used in the cover page section of the questionnaire [WB0022].

  • Any of the non-linked variants of the questions may utilize either the categories specified directly in the question, or reusable categories defined at the questionnaire level.

  • All multiselect questions may have a constant limit on the number of selections.

  • Ordered multiple select question types put an extra burden on the respondent to mentally grasp all possible choices and sort them in order of some attribute (such as cost, frequency of use, date of purchase, etc).

  • Categorical selection questions with defined categories must have at least 2 of them defined. A filter may reduce the choices to 1 or 0.

  • A categorical selection question with 0 selections is considered to be not answered as concerned by the IsAnswered() function. It is advisable to disable a categorical question without possible selections by applying a proper enabling condition.