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Combining Fields

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About Combining Fields

You can combine almost any 2 or more fields that you want. This can happen at any time before, during, or after the data collection; just be careful not to delete any of the fields you are combining!

There are two different ways to decide what value the new, combined variable has:

  1. Concat: This is short for “concatenate.” When you select this option, you are choosing to link combined answers together.
    Example: You ask for the respondent’s favorite appetizer, main dish, and dessert. You choose to concatenate the answers with slashes ( / ), so the answer appears as Soup/Roast Beef/Cake.
  2. Coalesce: When you select this option, you can choose what order to check each field for values if one or more are empty.
    Example: You ask for the respondent’s favorite dish at the beginning of the survey, and then accidentally ask them again at the end. You decide that whatever answer they gave first is fine, but if they left that field blank, you want their last answer.

Need to make changes to variables you previously combined? See our Editing Custom Variables page.

Qtip: Once created, this field can be analyzed in Text iQ!

Qtip: If you are combining answer choices that have recode values, the combined variable will use the recode values instead of the answer choice text. For example, let’s say you ask respondents to pick a t-shirt size and color, and want to concat these responses together.
two questions in the survey editor
Each answer choice has a corresponding recode value which is accessible by clicking the gear icon next to the question.
the recode values window open in the survey editor
After concatenating these two fields together, the concat field has the respondent’s combined answers, except they are represented by the recode values instead of the choice text.
two variables have been combined in data & analysis. the combined variable uses the recode values of the original fields

Concatenating Combined Variables

This option allows you to take two or more variables and link their values together into a list. In other words, instead of one overriding another, answers will appear “First Answer|Second Answer.” You do not have to use | as the delimiter.

Qtip: You can concatenate 2 – 20 fields at a time.
  1. Go to Data & Analysis.
    the create new field option in the tools dropdown in data and analysis
  2. Make sure you are in the Data section.
  3. Select Tools.
  4. Click Create New Field.
  5. Select Combine.
    a combine variable set to concat. comma is the delimiter and the selected fields are latitude and longitude
  6. Make sure Concat is selected.
  7. Name your variable.
  8. Choose your delimiter. This is the symbol or text that separates values.

    Qtip: A few extra facts about delimiters:

    • This doesn’t have to be a symbol, and can contain letters or numbers.
    • This field cannot be empty.
    • The spaces you see in the example are not representative of the final appearance. Answer will appear as a,b rather than a , b.
    • You cannot add extra spaces on either side of the delimiter(s), but you can add spaces in between delimiters. E.g., “and / or” is valid, but “ and / or ” is not since it begins and ends with an extra space.
  9. Select the first field that will appear in the list.
  10. Select the second field that will appear in the list.
  11. Click Add Field to add more fields.
    Qtip: You can also click the plus sign ( + ) next to a field to add a new field there.
  12. When you’re ready to create the variable, click Create Variable.
Qtip: Your data may be temporarily unavailable while this variable is being created.

Coalescing Combined Variables

To coalesce variables is to choose the order in which certain answers override others.

Only one value will be chosen at a time. If field (a) isn’t available, the answer will be (b), or continue working down the list until there’s an available field.

Qtip: You can only choose 2-5 fields.
  1. Go to Data & Analysis.
    the create new field option in the tools dropdown in data and analysis
  2. Make sure you are in the Data section.
  3. Select Tools.
  4. Click Create New Field.
  5. Select Combine.
    a combine variable set to coalesce. two fields are selected; recipient first name and recipient last name
  6. Select Coalesce.
  7. Name your variable.
  8. Choose the field that your new variable should check for a value, first.
  9. Choose the field your new variable should check for a value if (a) is empty.
  10. Click Add Field to add more fields.
    Qtip: You can also click the plus sign ( + ) next to a field to add a new field there.
  11. When you’re ready to create the variable, click Create Variable.
Qtip: Your data may be temporarily unavailable while this variable is being created.

Incompatible Features

You cannot combine the following types of fields.

Qtip: Combined fields can be mapped to CX Dashboards.