Create an overall variable / rating from a number of ratings / variables

September 29th, 2006 andris

This week Cameron send us the following question:

“I am writing about the stereotypes that people hold in regard to public service employees. Participants are required to rate a private, state, federal and local employee on a number of ratings such as efficiency. It is a 7 point Likert scale.

How do I obtain an overall rating score for each participant for each level of employee?”

Cameron, I assume you have already got your data into SPSS. I also assume you have put each score in a different variable and scored every variable with a figure from 1 to 7. To create an overall rating, you can use the Compute function. You can find this under Transform -> Compute.

(Click image for large view)

  • In the field Target Variable, you fill in the name of a (new) variable which should contain the overall rating.
  • In the field Numeric Expression you create a formula by typing or clicking the right buttons, like the following:


  • In this formula the 4 stands for the number of variables.
  • When you are finished, press OK.

In the newly created variable you can now find the overall score. If you have any questions about SPSS, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Entry Filed under: 2. Enhancing your data,Questions and answers

1 Comment

  • 1. Yves  |  November 21st, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    In order to have a correct analysis, you must be sure your data is structured the same way. An example:

    Q1: I think public service delivers good work: 1->7
    Q2: I think public service delivers bad work: 1->7

    These 2 questions actually have the same meaning, but there noses point into another direction… To have a good analysis, you must rescale Q2: from 7->1

    Another way to comprehend the underlying feeling people have in regard of public survice, is factor analysis…


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