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Codebooks are used by survey researchers to serve two main purposes: to provide a guide for coding responses and to serve as documentation of the layout and code definitions of a data file. Data files usually contain one line for each observation, such as a record or person (also called a “respondent”). Each column generally represents a single variable; however, one variable may span several columns. At the most basic level, a codebook describes the layout of the data in the data file and describes what the data codes mean. Codebooks are used to document the values associated with the answer options for a given survey question. Each answer category is given a unique numeric value, and these unique numeric values are then used by ...

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