Code Frame

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The list of Values and their associated interpretations in a question. For example, in a question asking about gender, the code frame is:

Value Value Label
1 Male
2 Female


The specific terms of Value and Value Label are the terms used most commonly (e.g., in SPSS, Q and DataCracker). However, there is no standard terminology (e.g., some researchers refer to the Value Label as a 'code' and others refer to the Value as a 'code'.

The code frame will typically be created in one of the following ways:

  • It will exist in the questionnaire.
  • When the questionnaire is programmed the categories will be entered (i.e., the Value Labels) and the Values will automatically be generated by the program (typically, with a 1 for the first category of a single response question, a 2 for the second category, etc.).
  • It will be created at the time of coding the text data.
  • It will be created using the first two methods and then modified during the coding of Other (specify) options.

Multiple response questions

The meaning of the code frame in a multiple response question is slightly ambiguous. Most commonly, it will refer to the list of options and there will not be any specific values assigned to each of these values. However, the ambiguity is that the variables that constitute a multiple response question will typically have their own code frame, which will usually be something like:

Value Value Label
0 Not selected
1 Selected

or

Value Value Label
1 Yes
2 No