When creating surveys, researchers sometimes rephrase “positive” questions in a “negative” way to make sure that individuals are giving consistent responses.

We say that these types of questions are **reverse-coded**.

When using a survey to assign a composite score to individuals, it’s important to make sure the reverse-coded questions are reverse-scored as well.

The following example shows how to reverse the scores on reverse-coded questions in Excel.

**Example: Reverse Coding in Excel**

Suppose researchers administer a survey with 5 questions to 10 individuals in which the possible responses to each questions are:

- Strongly Agree
- Agree
- Neither Agree Nor Disagree
- Disagree
- Strongly Disagree

The following screenshot shows the results of the survey in which “Strongly Agree” is assigned a value of 5, “Agree” is assigned a value of 4, and so on:

Suppose questions 2 and 5 are reverse coded, so we must reverse their scores.

That is:

- 1 should become 5.
- 2 should become 4.
- 3 should become 3.
- 4 should become 2.
- 5 should become 1.

The easiest way to do this is to take the max possible score (5) and add 1 to get 6. Then subtract the original scores from 6 to get the reverse scored value.

For example:

- 5 becomes: 6 – 5 =
**1**. - 4 becomes: 6 – 4 =
**2**. - 3 becomes: 6 – 3 =
**3**. - 2 becomes: 6 – 2 =
**4**. - 1 becomes: 6 – 1 =
**5**.

To do this in Excel, simply copy and paste all of the original answers into a new area on the spreadsheet:

In cell **B17** type: **=6-B2**. Then copy and paste this formula down to all other cells in column B.

In cell **E17** type: **=6-E2**. Then copy and paste this formula down to all other cells in column E.

The scores in column B and column E will now both be reverse coded:

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain other commonly used terms in questionnaires and surveys:

What is Face Validity?

What is Predictive Validity?

What is Concurrent Validity?

What is Content Validity?