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Geo-Refer logo Geographical Referencing Learning Resources

How to match two lists together

A frequently encountered task is the need to match the entries in two lists which share a common geographical reference such as a postcode. An example would be a first list containing postcoded questionnaire responses from the researcher's own survey and a second containing postcodes and some other area code such as census wards from a published directory.


Three records from list one consisting of "Respondent ID", "Gender" and "Postcode", click [here] to download the file:

1. RespondentA, Male, SO3 3BQ; 2. RespondentB, Female, SO3 5TS; 3. RespondentC, Female, SO4 7AR; etc.

Three records from list two consisting of "Postcode" and Ward code", click [here] to download the file:

1. SO3 3BPWARD53; 2. SO3 3BPWARD53; 3. SO3 3BRWARD54; 4. SO3 5TSWARD61; etc.

The researcher's objective is often to associate the questionnaire responses with the wards. This can be achieved by list-matching using database or statistical software such as Microsoft Access or SPSS. It is not easily undertaken using a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel.

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Access™, Excel® and Notepad are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. SPSS™ is a registered trademark of SPSS Inc. The software screen shots shown in this page are reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.