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-scored**.

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 Google Sheets.

**Example: How to Perform Reverse Scoring in Google Sheets**

Suppose a researcher administers 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 dataset in Google Sheets 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.

In other words:

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

To do so, we can add 1 to the max possible score (5) to get 6. Then, we can 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 Google Sheets, first copy and paste all of the original answers into a new area on the spreadsheet:

In cell **B16** type: **=6-B2**. Then copy and paste this formula down to all other cells in column B.

In cell **E16** type: **=6-E2**. Then copy and paste this formula down to all other cells in column E.

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

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Google Sheets:

Google Sheets: Use VLOOKUP to Return Minimum Value

Google Sheets: How to Use VLOOKUP to Return Max Value

Google Sheets: How to Highlight Max Value in Each Row