Glossary

Question

A question is the wording of the statement or phrase that the respondent answers.

Response option

Response option refers to the possible answers to a question. In this questionnaire the core survey uses seven response options (numbered 1 – 7) that elicit a range of responses from negative (always 1) towards positive (always 7).

Anchor

Anchor is the phrase used to describe the extremes of the response options – for example “Not at all happy” (1) to “Extremely happy” (7).

Scale

In this survey tool we use the word ‘scale’ to refer to the set of response options for respondents to choose from. So we might use a phrase like – “responding on a scale from 1-7”. We only use the word scale to refer to the actual responses to individual questions.

Item

An item is the term used to describe an individual question and its scale of response options.

Response

A response is the specific response option chosen by respondent to a certain item.

Average response

The average response is the arithmetic mean of all (selected) respondents responses to a specific item. The average response will be on the scale of 1-7 and will not normally be a whole number. Note: averages are only available at the individual item level – indexes are used in all other cases.

Median response

The median response is the most popular response by all (selected) respondents to a specific item. The median will always be one of the seven response options on the scale of 1-7. Note: median responses are only available at the individual item level.

Concept

A concept refers to an idea that an item or a group of items is trying to assess. For example, whilst the overall concept assessed by the survey is ‘happiness at work’, this is achieved by assessing many narrower concepts such as ‘positive emotions’ or specifically ‘enjoyment’.

Domain and sub-domain

Domain and sub-domain are the terms we use for a group of items that together create a measure of a coherent concept. For example in the Happiness Landscape view ‘me at work’ is a domain made up of four sub-domains: ‘positive emotions’, ‘negative emotions’, ‘engaging work’ and ‘my relationships at work’. As a sub-domain, ‘positive emotions’ is itself made up of two items: experiences of ‘enjoyment’ and ‘happiness’.

Index

An index is calculated for each item, sub-domain and domain as well as overall happiness at work. Indexes are calibrated so that scores across all items, sub-domains and domains are equivalent and easily comparable. Index scores run from 0 to 10, where 0 is always the worst possible score and 10 is the best possible score. A score of 5.0 represents the national average and serves as a benchmark. More details of the calculation process can be found on the how the scores work page.

Score

We use the word ‘score’ to denote the result of the index calculation for a respondent, or a group of respondents. So we use phrases such as “your score is 5.6”. Scores run from 0 to 10, where 0 is always the worst possible score and 10 is the best possible score. A score of 5.0 represents the national average and serves as a benchmark. More details of the calculation process can be found on the how the scores work page.

Benchmark

Our benchmark allows individuals and organisations to know how they are doing in comparison to the national average. The benchmarks are based on nationally representative samples from both the US and the UK. The national benchmark is used to calibrate all the indexes with a score of 5.0 always being the national average. At an individual item level the benchmark is equivalent to the national average response.

Traffic lights

We use a traffic light system along with the 0-10 index score to make results easier to understand. The traffic lights work with the index scores to illustrate very poor, poor, average, good and very good scores. For example a score of 7.2 can be considered ‘very good’ whatever concept is being assessed. We set the cut offs for each colour at approximately 20% so that each band represents about a fifth of respondents. This makes it easy to see if scores fall in the bottom 20% or the top 20%. More details of the traffic light system can be found on the how the scores work page.