Variable Manager can be to create and maintain profile variables. It can be used to add new profile variables of any type to the database. New variables are created in a draft format until the user decides they are ready to be published. Existing variables can also be edited: the variable label and question text can be changed, and coded (categoric) variables can have codes added or removed. All changes are made as draft until published.
Variables can also be marked as being sensitive. The contents of sensitive variables may only be viewed by users with the appropriate security permissions.
From the Maintenance menu, select Variable Manager. The list of profile variables already in the database will be displayed.
Variable Manager opens in Published mode, which shows only the published variables, i.e. those already in the database available for use.
By default, variables are displayed in alphabetical order based on the variable label. The display order can be changed by clicking on the label or question column headers.
Use the search to search for variables. Enter the text you want to search for, select the appropriate search type and click on the Search button.
To see draft variables (if there are any), change to Draft mode by selecting Draft from the Filter dropdown list.
Draft variable mode shows either new variables that are waiting to be published for the first time, or draft versions of existing variables that have been edited and are waiting to be published. Existing variables will appear in blue in Published mode if a draft version exists.
Click on a variable (either published or draft) to see its definition.
Variables have the following properties:
|Label||This is a mandatory field and should contain a label for the variable which will be displayed when viewing the hierarchy of variables throughout Q_Panel. (The label does not need to be unique but it could lead to confusion if the same label is used for more than one variable).|
|External Name||This is a mandatory field which should contain the external name for the variable which must be unique.|
|Question||This field contains the question text which will be seen by the panellist if the question if used in a profiler on Q_Community. (When viewing the hierarchy of variables throughout Q_Panel, the question text can also be seen when the mouse is hovered over a variable).|
|Datatype||This section shows the data type of the variable and any additional information that may be required depending on the data type selected.|
|Codes||If the data type is coded then this section will display one or more codes and descriptions. The descriptions will appear as possible answers when this question is used in a profiler on Q_Community. (The descriptions are also seen when used as elements in dimensions and criteria in filters throughout Q_Panel).|
Variable data types
There are several possible datatypes that can be used to define a variable in Q_Panel:
|Boolean||The variable will store a question with a Yes/No answer. No additional information is required.|
The variable will store a date.
Tick the checkbox Create calculated Age field to generate a calculated variable associated with this date. The generated field will be called Age( Date label) by default. For example if the variable label is “Date of Birth”, the calculated age variable will be called “Age(Date of Birth)”.
|Decimal||The variable will store a decimal number. Enter the number of decimal places required. The default and minimum is 1, the maximum is 9 decimal places.|
|Numeric||The variable will store a number. No additional information is required.|
|Numeric single coded||The variable will store a single coded variable which uses numeric codes. One or more numeric codes along with their descriptions must be added in the Codes section. When adding new codes, the code value will automatically be set to the next code in the sequence, starting from 1. The code value can be changed if required (when creating new codes only).|
|Text||The variable will store text. Enter the maximum number of characters required to store the text. This can be between 1 and 4000.|
|Text single coded||The variable will store a single coded variable which uses text codes. Enter the maximum number of characters required to store the text codes. This can be between 1 and 50. (Note that the character length refers to the code, not the description). One or more text codes along with their descriptions must be added in the Codes section.|
|Text multi coded||
The variable will store a multi coded variable. Enter the maximum number of possible answers that can be stored for the multi code variable. This can be between 1 and 4000.
Codes used to define multi coded variables are numeric, and should start with the code zero. For this reason the character length should always be at least one greater than the maximum code defined. The character length will be calculated automatically (though it can be changed if required subject to the above requirement).
When adding new codes, the code value will automatically be set to the next code in the sequence, starting from 0. The code value can be changed if required (when creating new codes only)
Note that when multi coded variables are imported using Data Import, the triple-s definition standard requires that the codes start from 1. Q_Panel actually stores the code values starting from zero. Variable Manager shows the codes as they are stored in Q_Panel.
Create a new draft variable
To create a new variable click on the New button in the toolbar to open the New Variable (Draft) dialog.
Enter the properties of the new variable. If the variable is coded, the Codes section will become enabled and one or more codes may be added using the Add button.
Click on OK to save the changes.
The new variable will only appear on the Variable Manager screen when in Draft mode, along with the changes to any other variables that are still draft.
Review the properties of a draft variable by clicking on the variable label, or by ticking the checkbox next to its name and clicking on the Properties button in the toolbar. If you are happy with the properties of the draft variable it can be published.
To publish a variable, select it by clicking on the checkbox next to its name and clicking the Publish button in the toolbar. You can only publish one variable at a time.
When publishing a variable for the first time, you will be asked to select a folder in the hierarchy where it should be placed.
When publishing a variable that already exists, the existing variable in the database will be updated with the changes.
To re-locate a variable after it has been published use Hierarchy Manger.
Deleting a draft variable
To delete a draft variable, select it by clicking on the checkbox next to its name and clicking the Delete button in the toolbar. The draft variable will be removed permanently.
You cannot delete published variables, only draft versions of published variables.
Published variables can removed or hidden from use by unchecking availability options within Hierarchy Manager.
Edit a published variable
If changes are made to a published variable, there will be two versions of the variable available within Variable Manager. In Published mode you will see the variable as it is currently defined in the Q_Panel database but displayed in blue. In Draft mode you will see another version of the variable which contains the changes.
For example, if the Annual Salary variable is edited, in Published mode it will be displayed as follows:
In Draft mode, the new version of the Annual Salary variable appears, waiting to be published:
It is possible for there to be more than one draft version of a variable, therefore care should be taken that the correct one is published.
To edit an existing variable, select the variable from Published mode.
The Published view always shows the variable definition as it is in the database. If changes have already been made to the variable but not yet published they will be found within the draft view.
The variable label and question can be edited, but the external variable name cannot be changed.
- Boolean, date, decimal or numeric variables - no other changes can be made.
- Numeric single coded variables - changes can be made to the codes.
- Text variables - the character length of the text can be increased in size, but cannot be decreased.
- Text single coded and text multi coded variables - the character length of the code can be increased in size, but cannot be decreased. Changes can be made to the codes.
Editing Coded Variables
Code values cannot be changed. Change the description by clicking on the code description, enter a new description and press OK.
Add new codes by clicking the Add button and entering the new code and description. (When adding numeric single coded or multi coded variables, the code value will default to the next value in the sequence. This can be changed if required). The character length of multi coded variables will be updated automatically if new codes are added.
Remove codes by clicking the checkbox next to the required code and clicking the Remove button. The code and description will display in red to show that it has been removed. Removed codes will not be permanently removed from the system, but will no longer appear as a possible answer when used as a question in a Q_Community profiler.
(If the code has not already been saved by pressing OK, the Remove button will remove it permanently).
Restore a removed code by selecting the checkbox next to the required code and clicking the Restore button. The code will display in black again, and will be available as a possible answer in a profiler again.
To change the order question codes are displayed within a profiler (and throughout Q_Panel), use the Sort buttons on the Codes section of the Edit Variable dialog.
Select one of the codes by ticking the checkbox next to its name. The sort buttons will become enabled. Use the buttons to move the selected code up or down the list of codes.
This will change the order the codes are displayed.
Once you are satisfied with the order click on OK to save the changes.
Remember, before variable changes are made available in Q_Panel they must be published.