Customize Your Search

Variable Preference Level

When you have a variable list displayed, you will see a "filter by" drop-down menu, with options: "Primary Variables," "Primary and Secondary Variables," and "All Variables"

  1. Primary variables: the most important, generally include all created and event-history variables, all roster variables, and respondents' responses to survey questions that are not superseded by better information in a roster or created variable.
  2. Secondary variables: questions asked in the interview that are superseded by created or roster variables. While these questions might be useful for very detailed research about a narrow topic, they won't be needed by most researchers.
  3. Tertiary variables: generally machine check items. These are included in the data to enable researchers to follow the flow of the interview, but in most cases they should not be used as input variables in research. These are only available when the "All Variables" Variable Preference Level is selected.

In the Investigator, the default setting is "Primary Variables." We recommend starting your search with the primary variables.

Variable Display Options

As shown on the screen below, above the variable list, on the left, is a tab called "Options". Click on this tab to open or close the options menu. The opened options menu is located above the variable list as shown on the screen below. In the options menu, you can select the variable characteristics you want displayed in the variable list by checking or unchecking each option.

Customize Search screenshot

By default, the following options are checked:

  1. Show Reference Number Column
  2. Show Question Name Column
  3. Show Variable Title Column
  4. Show Year Column
  5. Compress all grouped rows

Other Options:

  • "Show Valid Number of Responses Column" adds a column titled "#VALID"

  • "Show Data Column" adds a data column on the right of the variable list. When this option is checked, we can enter a respondent's PUBID in the white box on the column title line and bring up that respondent's data for each question in the list. 

    To match the screen above, which shows data in the data column, enter 4 for the PUBID and either click the refresh button to the right of the ID number, or simply hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard.

  • "Show Data Column Navigation Controls" brings up the four arrows at the very right of the column title line (as circled in the screen above). Use these arrows to move sequentially among cases.

Note: By default the variables are listed in the order of RNUM. You can choose any of the variable characteristics to sort the listed variables--simply click the column title of that item.


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