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What is postcode normalisation?

Jess Henderson -

What is postcode normalisation and why is it helpful?

In an online survey, postcode answer components ensure that respondents have submitted a postcode that's valid for your territory.  So in Australia, that's four digits, and in the UK it's a specific pattern of letters and numbers.

The validation on postcode questions (especially for UK postcodes) is not very strict for respondents, as we don't want to introduce unnecessary barriers to participation.  So, for example, respondents may enter the postcode in lowercase, uppercase, with or without spaces.  The important thing is that the numbers and letters they enter represent a valid postcode.

This relaxed validation makes life easier for respondents but poses a problem for admins: response exports can contain postcodes in a variety of different formats, which can make analysis difficult.  You may find it helpful to have postcodes normalised in your exports.  This means converting all the answers so that they look the same when output, for example capitalising all letters.

Please ask your account manager if you would like postcode normalisation to be turned on for your site.

Where is normalisation applied?

When normalisation is turned on for your site, postcodes will be normalised in:

  • The main responses XLSX export
  • The response PDF (as seen by respondents after submitting their response)
  • The view of each individual response

But not in the granular exports in analysis, such as in the Responses by Question views.

How does this affect respondents?

Postcode normalisation has no effect on what respondents are allowed to enter, only the way their answers are displayed in certain exports.

Respondents will still be able to enter postcodes in any format as long as it represents a valid postcode in your organisation's territory.