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In this example, survey items 1 – 3 are all positively worded, but survey item 4 is not. When creating the composite score, we wish to make sure that we are examining the coded responses the same way. In this case, we’d have to re-code the responses to survey item 4 to make sure that all responses for the score “helpfulness” are correctly interpreted; the recoded responses for survey item 4 are: 1 = always, 2 = almost always, 3 = sometimes, 4 = almost never, 5 = never.
Now, all responses that are scored have the same direction and thus, can be interpreted correctly: positive responses for “helpfulness” have higher values and negative responses for “helpfulness” have lower values.
Also, you may wish to change the number of responses. For example, you may wish to dichotomize or trichotomize the responses. In the example above, you can trichotomize the responses by recoding responses “always” and “almost always” to 3 = high, “sometimes” to 2 = sometimes, and “almost never” and “never” to 1 = low. However, please be advised to make sure that you have sound reason to alter the number of responses.