Survey Elements

The following short descriptions give an overview of all survey elements, including a picture, a use case and the specific setting options.

At the end of this page, you’ll also find an explanation of all of the basic settings which you’ll find for almost all question type survey elements.

Basic Survey Elements

Question types

Single response

A single response question type allows the respondent to select an answer from a set of pre-defined answer choices. This question type is particularly useful for questions with a short list of possible answers, such as ‘How meaningful is your work?’.

A hint text can be specified for any single response question. When you check the box next to Hint text, an input box will be displayed allowing you to give a detailed explanation to the respondents as regards the purpose of the question. The hint text is not included in reports.

A respondent is required to select an answer from the choices, once the box next to Force response (mandatory question) has been checked. If he/she omits to answer the corresponding question, the message ‘Please answer this question before you continue’ will be presented on the screen.

If the Randomize choices box is checked, all answer choices defined for a question will be displayed to the respondent in random order. This implies that the response sequence may vary from respondent to respondent. However, the respondent doesn’t notice that the answers have been randomized.

Arrangement

The arrangement options allow you to arrange the elements either in a single column (elements below each other) or in multiple columns (elements in line with each other). When using multiple columns, the number of columns depend on the screen width and the number of answer options for the corresponding question.

Answer choices

Here you define all answer choices (one per line) for the corresponding question, e.g. ‘Extremely meaningful’, ‘Very meaningful’, ‘Moderately meaningful’, ‘Slightly meaningful’ and ‘Not at all meaningful’. By default, you can enter 4 answer choices for one question. In order to add an additional answer choice, you have to click the Add answer choice button. To remove one or more redundant answer choices, you can click the x sign after the corresponding options.

All answer choices have a unique numerical value; this value is incremented by 1 for each answer choice. The first answer choice has the value 1, the second the value 2, and so on. If these values for a particular question are not unique, this will undoubtedly result in an error message. In order to edit the numerical value of an answer choice, you must click the ellipsis sign (3 vertical dots) after the corresponding choice. When randomization is enabled (see above), you can indicate for each answer choice of a particular question that it should not be randomized (check mark at Exclude from randomization).

You can change the chronological order of the various answer choices using the cell sign in front of the appropriate answer choice. In order to change its position, you have to select the cell sign and drag the corresponding answer choice to its desired position while holding down the left mouse button. As soon as you release the left mouse button, the corresponding answer option will be dropped to its new position.

  • For information about the Not applicable option, see the N/A topic.
  • For information about setting up a filter, see the Add filter topic.

Multiple response

A multiple response question type allows the respondent to select one or more answers from a set of pre-defined answer choices. This question type is particularly useful for ticking off tasks on a to-do list. The various answer options of a question are displayed by means of rectangular selection buttons.

A hint text can be specified for any multiple response question. When you check the box next to Hint text, an input box will be displayed allowing you to give a detailed explanation to the respondents as regards the purpose of the question. The hint text is not included in reports.

A respondent is required to select an answer from the choices, once the box next to Force response (mandatory question) has been checked. If you omit to answer the corresponding question, the message ‘Please answer this question before you continue’ will be presented on the screen.

If the Randomize choices box is checked, all answer choices defined for a question will be displayed to the respondent in random order. This implies that the response sequence may vary from respondent to respondent. However, the respondent doesn’t notice that the answers have been randomized.

Arrangement

The arrangement options allow you to arrange the elements either in a single column (elements below each other) or in multiple columns (elements in line with each other). When using multiple columns, the number of columns depend on the screen width and the number of answer options for the corresponding question.

Answer choices

Here you define all answer choices (one per line) for the corresponding question, e.g. ‘London’, ‘Paris’, ‘Madrid’. By default, you can enter 7 answer choices for one question. In order to add an additional answer choice, you have to click the Add answer choice button. To remove one or more redundant answer choices, you can click the x sign after the corresponding options.

All answer choices have a unique numerical value (variable suffix); this value is incremented by 1 for each answer choice. The first answer choice has the value 1, the second the value 2, and so on. If these values for a particular question are not unique, this will undoubtedly result in an error message. In order to edit the numerical value of an answer choice, you must click the ellipsis sign (3 vertical dots) after the corresponding choice. When randomization is enabled (see above), you can indicate for each answer choice of a particular question that it should not be randomized (check mark at Exclude from randomization).

If for a particular answer choice (e.g. Bern) the box next to ‘Exclusive’ has been checked, then all other answer choices of the corresponding question will be checked out. A respondent will then not be able to select another answer choice (e.g. Madrid), if he/she has selected the aforesaid exclusive answer choice. Remark: the ‘Not applicable’ option (N/A) is always exclusive.

In order to enable the respondent to enter his/her own answer choice (here: city), you must leave the line empty and check the Add text entry and Force response (mandatory question) boxes. When filling out the survey, the respondent will then be able to enter a preferred answer choice (here: a city of his/her choice). Moreover, he/she will still be able to make a selection from the predefined answer choices.

You can change the chronological order of the various answer choices using the cell sign in front of the appropriate answer choice. In order to change its position, you have to select the cell sign and drag the corresponding answer choice to its desired position while holding down the left mouse button. As soon as you release the left mouse button, the corresponding answer option will be dropped to its new position.

Setting up a validation

If you want to restrict the number of selected answer choices to three, you wil have to include a validation element after the multiple response question. The above figure is displayed, after you have clicked the Edit conditions button. The respondent will be able to select a maximum of 3 answer options (cities), after you have registered the following data:
* Validation passes
* if – Question – Variable multiple resp. question – Number of selected options – <= – 3

  • For information about the Not applicable option, see the N/A topic.
  • For information about setting up a filter, see the Add filter topic.

Slider

The Slider question type is also a kind of single response question. This question type is used to collect values in a slightly different way than used in a single choice question.

This question type allows a respondent to select an answer on a scale from e.g. 1 to 5, for which the labels ‘Bad’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Good’ have been assigned to the values 1, 3 and 5, respectively. You can enter the minimum value in the Left label and the maximum value in the Right label field.

You see a horizontal bar with a slide control that can be moved with the mouse (or finger on a touchscreen) to the requested value.

If you have checked the Show value setting and selected the value 0 in the Maximum number of digits after comma bar, the survey respondent will be able to select the values 1 (Bad) – 2 – 3 (Medium) – 4 and 5 (Good) using the slide control.

If you have checked the Show value setting and selected the value 1 in the Maximum number of digits after comma bar, the survey respondent will be able to select the values 1 (Bad) – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.3 – ….. – 4.7 – 4.8 – 4.9 – 5 (Good) using the slide control.

Setting a filter

You can include an open question (e.g. ‘Why did you select the value 1, 2 or 3 in the previous question?’) immediately after the slider question type, which will only be displayed to the survey respondent, if he/she has selected the value 1, 2 or 3 in the slider question type. For this purpose, you must set up a filter in the open question (see the Add filter button).

For more information, see the Add filter topic.

Open question

An open question allows participants to enter a text response in a corresponding text box. Open questions are mainly used to get qualitative information about any topic and to expand on and clarify closed responses.

Open questions can be set to three different sizes: Small, Medium or Large.

Note: There is generally no limit to the length of open questions. The only limitation is in Excel. Here the text of a cell is cut off after 32,767 characters. If you download the data via an API, there is no such limit.

If you check the box next to Hint text, an input box will be displayed allowing you to give a detailed explanation to the participants as regards the purpose of the question. The hint text is not included in reports.

If Password field is ticked, a field to confirm the password is added under the text box of the corresponding question. This allows the participant to log in to a portal. The text box may contain a description such as ‘Your password’.

A participant has to enter the required information, once the box next to Force response (mandatory question) has been checked. If the corresponding question hasn’t been answered, the message ‘Please answer this question before you continue’ will be presented on the screen prompting the participant to fill the requested details.

The Small size is used to record data like a 4-digit year or the age of the participant.

The Medium size is used to record full names or e-mail addresses.

The Large size is used for typical feedback questions, i.e. questions aimed at providing you with more significant details.

Note: There is no limit to the maximum number of characters.

If you check the Autocomplete box, a text area appears where you can enter specific information, e.g. a combination of city & country. Each line represents one autocomplete value. This, for example, enables the participant to select the correct location. When answering a corresponding question in the survey, the participant only has to enter a limited number of characters, e.g. ha. The tool will then display the locations sharing these characters, allowing you to choose the precise location.

An open question can be validated with the following criteria:

Integer number

The participant may only enter an integer number which lies between the specified minimum and maximum value. Let us assume that the minimum and maximum value for age are 12 and 25, respectively. A participant will then have to enter an age between 12 and 25.

Real number

The participant may only enter a real number which lies between the specified minimum and maximum value. A maximum of three decimals can be entered for both the minimum and maximum value (see figure above).

  • The English or Swiss decimal sign is a full stop.
  • The German, Dutch or French decimal sign is a comma.

When creating a survey which contains an open question with a real number (incl. one or more decimals), the decimal sign to be used is based on the selected profile language.

When filling out this open question, the participant must use the decimal sign which is defined for his/her language.

Let us assume that the minimum and maximum value for the corresponding open question are 1 and 9.9, respectively. A participant who is filling out an English survey, will then have to enter a value between 1 and 9.9. Yet a participant who is filling out a German survey, will have to enter a value between 1 and 9,9.

Value listed in autocomplete

In this case, the participant can only make a selection from the entries listed in the autocomplete text area. Generally, the participant only has to enter a limited number of characters, e.g. ha. The tool will then automatically search for the corresponding full entry, e.g. Hamburg, Germany.

If the Placeholder box is checked, you can enter text which will be displayed in the input field, once the respondent is filling out the survey. The entered text can be overridden by the respondent.

Date

The participant may only enter a date which lies between the specified earliest and latest date (English date format). Based on the values entered in the figure above, a participant will have to select a date between 11 January 2021 and 1 February 2021.

When filling out the survey, the participant can select the Date Picker item to open a calendar allowing him or her to select the appropriate date.

However, should the participant select a date outside the specified date range, an error message stating either Please enter a date that is greater than or equal to Jan 11, 2021 or Please enter a date that is less than or equal to Feb 1, 2021 will be displayed. In order to rectify the error, he/she only has to select a valid date.

E-mail

The e-mail address is validated in an open question.

The participant can only enter a valid e-mail address, which always consists of a user name, an at sign, a domain name and an extension (e.g. .com).

Other

Text block

The text block is an element in which a participant cannot enter an answer. It can be used for a variety of functions, such as

  • a greeting at the beginning of a survey,
  • explanatory texts between questions,
  • a footnote to a question.

The thank you page is a special text block that appears at the end of a survey. No information is to be entered into this textbox. A blank thank you page will appear as a blank page.

PDF export settings

If you tick the Do not show this text block in print export setting, then the corresponding text block will not be included in the PDF file which can be downloaded by a participant at the end of the survey. This file will then contain all questions and answers of the participant MINUS the data of this text block. Click here for a description of the PDF download procedure.

Page break

The page break is a feature that allows you to split your survey into multiple pages. Without page breaks, all questions and text blocks – in a section – will be displayed in consecutive order on one page.

If you include a page break in a survey, the Next button will be generated. This button is shown to the participant when filling out his/her survey. The participant will only see the questions before the page break. The next questions will only appear, after he/she has clicked the Next button.

If you tick the Force page break in print export setting, then a page break will be included in the PDF file which can be downloaded by a participant at the end of the survey. Click here for a description of the PDF download procedure.

Note: Since Essential customers cannot divide the questionnaire into sections and can only use page breaks to format the text appropriately, these page breaks are not considered questions (max. 50).

Section (professional user)

A section contains one or more survey elements. When creating a new survey, you start by adding elements to a section. You start with Section 1. The name of this section can be edited in the textbox under Section. Survey participants will not see the section name.

Note: A section is on a higher level than the other survey elements. It is not possible to place a section within a section.

A section always acts as a page break. When you include a section in a survey, the Next button will be generated. This button is shown to the participant when filling out his/her survey. The participant will only see the questions of the corresponding section. The next questions will only appear, after he/she has clicked the Next button.

A section can be used to group specific questions to be shown or hidden, if the participant has made a specific choice, e.g. Section 1 contains one question. This is q1 - What country do you live in? The corresponding answer options are:

  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • the Netherlands

Now you want to set, for example, the following data:

  • Section 2 contains all questions for people living in Switzerland.
  • Section 3 contains all questions for people living in Germany.
  • Section 4 contains all questions for people living in the Netherlands.

With randomise pages it´s possible to randomise the order of all pages within that section.

Advanced Survey Elements

Questiontypes

Matrix

matrix question survey elements

Using a matrix question enables the use of multiple questions. It creates a table-like question, where each row represents a sub-question. For example, your participant uses several of your company’s services and you’d like to know how they rate these services on a scale from 1 to 10. In this case it’s useful to deploy a matrix question; with one row for each service. The rating scale would be set as columns and would automatically be the same for all rows.

Specific Options

randomize rows options

With the randomise rows option, each participant will see the rows in a random order. When randomization is enabled you are also able to exclude rows from randomization.

randomize columns option

Using the option randomise columns, each participant will see the columns in a random order. When randomisation is enabled, you are able to exclude columns from it.

column setting matrix question

With these, you can set the question type for all rows of that matrix question. Types available are: Single Choice, Multiple Choice and Drop-Down. This page contains information on each of these question types.

add column group
column group title

By clicking this button, a new column group will be added. This creates a "multi-matrix" question. Each column group can have its own title, its own question type and it creates its own set of variables. This can be used, for example, to enable the participant to rate attributes of several suppliers / manufacturers at once.

Semantic

Semantic differential survey element

Semantic differential questions are a form of rating scale that serves to determine the associative, emotional or evaluative meaning of objects, words or concepts. A semantic differential looks like a matrix question, but has a label on each side of the row.

Semantic Differential rows

For example, you want to evaluate a new product name and are wondering what participants associate with that new name. Do they think it’s boring, interesting, innovative or old-fashioned? This can be evaluated with a semantic differential.

Rank Order

Survey elemens: Rank order question

As the name suggests, this question can be used to ask the participant to rank elements in order. Through this, it’s possible to establish the participant’s favorite, but also which option has the highest average ranking.

It’s not possible to have a semi-open option (like “other: __”) within a rank order question.

Specific Options

randomize option

With the option randomise items, each participant will see the items in a random order. When randomization is enabled you are able to exclude items from randomization.

number of ranks slider question

With this option you can specify the number of options to be ranked. The highest number of ranks is defined by the number of items you have set for this question. If the question is set to "force response" then the respondent has to set all ranks.

Other

Validation (professional user)

validation element options

With a validation it’s possible to validate the participant’s answers to ensure that they are plausible. This means that you can check if the answers actually make sense. It works just like a filter in Survalyzer.

Important: The validation element is an individual survey element and is not filtered automatically, even if the condition only affects one question.

An example:
The question you are validating (let’s call it q2) is only shown if the value of a preceeding question (q1) is more than 5. Your validation now only checks if q2 is between 1 and the value of q1.
If the respondent now answers q1 with a value of 4, q2 won’t be shown. However, then the validation checks if the value of q2 is between 1 and 4, but since q2 is not shown, a validation error message will appear.
To avoid this problem you can do one of two things:

  • Put q2 and the validation into an own section and filter the whole section. In this case both elements will not be shown.
  • Or add the filter conditions of q2 to the validation conditions, this way the validation succeeds when q2 is not shown.
setting a validation

Conditions for validations have specific options. Firstly, how the validation should work: "Validation passes" and "Validation does not pass".
Following this, it reads like a sentence, which helps comprehension of the conditions.
You can check all kind of values: panel variables, custom variables, question values and url variables.
You can also validate answers depending on the device or language used, or you can calculate several values and validate these for their plausability.

error message as shown in survey

Let´s say you ask a teenager how much money they receive as an allowance (q1). After this you want to ask how much of this allowance is spent on video games (q2). Now you have two seperate questions, where question 2 (q2) relates to question 1 (q1). To validate the values you would create something like this:

Now we can be sure that the answer for question 2 cannot be greater than the answer of question 1.

URL Forwarding (professional user)

url forwarding element

The URL Forwarding element, forwards the respondent to the defined target URL. This can be used for Screen-Outs, Thank-You pages or when working with an external panel provider.

url forwarding dataset flagging

When forwarding your respondent, you can set which status they are allocated:

In Progress (default): This status can be used if the respondent should be able to continue with his interview within Survalyzer. In this case they are redirected back to the survey when the survey link is re-opened. So URL Forwarding only gets triggered once.

Complete: This status sets the interview status to completed. As soon as the respondent passes this point they cannot go back or continue the survey. So URL Forwarding gets triggered each time the respondent opens the interview.

Screenout: The Screenout status takes the same action as the complete status. The only change is seen on the analyze page, with the interviews flagged with a different status.

Value Assignment (professional user)

value assignment in survey preview showing all survey elements

By using value assignment it’s possible to set values to custom variables. To use value assignment at least one custom variable needs to be created.

drop down
new variable for value assignment

There are four different data types to choose from when creating a custom variable: Number, Real, String and Date. More information about data types can be found on our datatypes page.

It’s also possible to complete calculations within value assignments. For more information please see: “Calculations with Variables”.

Custom variables can also be used as placeholders and filter conditions within the survey. They will also be found in the raw data exports of the survey.

For examples, please see the: “How to use Value Assignment” page.

Specific Options

value setting for value assignment

The input field works as the value for the variable. It´s also possible to calculate and use placeholders for this.

Note: Always have a look at the chosen data type. For example, it´s not possible to save string values in a number variable.

execute options

The execute options decide when the value assignment should take place. The default option is "Only the first time".

Only the first time
This will only be executed for the first time the respondent reaches this element. If the respondent clicks the "Back" button and clicks "Next" again, the value will not be changed for a second time.

Every time the respondent passes this point
This will be executed each time the respondent reaches this element. If the respondent clicks the "Back" button and clicks "Next" again, the value will be set every time.

Send Email

Send email element

The Send Email element, as the name suggests, sends an email from the survey.

Once the respondent reaches the “send email” element, the email will be sent.

Send email survey element
You can define the typical email fields:
From, To, Subject, Message

Placeholders can be used for all fields.

A typical example is to ask clients if they would like a Sales Agent to get in touch. If they say yes, a method and preferred time of contact could then be specified. With "send email" it´s then possible to send (via email) the contact request (containing this information) to the relevant Sales Agent.

Basic Options available for Question types

Hint text

Matrix question hint text. Hint text is available for all question type survey elements

The hint text is used to explain the question and / or how to answer it. As seen in the screenshot, the hint text usually has a smaller font size.

Note: The hint text is not exported to reports.

For example, you ask the respondent to rate a product from 1 to 10. The hint text can now be used to explain how the rating scale works: 1 is "very poor" and 10 is "excellent".

Force response

force response option

The force response option makes a question mandatory. This means that the client always has to answer that question before they can continue to the next page.

validation error message force response, available for all question type survey elements

In case of a multiple choice question, the respondent has to choose at least one option. In case of a single choice question, only one option has to be selected. And finally, in the case of a matrix question, a selection in all rows has to be made.

If you set all questions as mandatory, but still want the respondent to have the possibility to skip a question, simply set the “N/A” option – as explained below.

Randomize choices

Randomise choices mixes up the order of the choices. This means that the order of choices varies from respondent to respondent. However, the respondent doesn’t see that this is randomised. When randomization is enabled, you are able to exclude certain choices from it.

exclude from randomization option
The option “exclude from randomization” can be found in the choice’s settings.

N/A

The N/A option stands for “not applicable” or “no answer” and adds this choice to a question. This enables the respondent to not answer a mandatory question. When a respondent chooses the N/A option, a special value will be saved. This value enables the system to tell you how many respondents chose not to answer this question. The N/A option is available for all question type survey elements and the label can be customized.

N/A option available for all question type survey elements
The N/A Option will always be on the end of the list and will be set slightly apart from the other options. In the case of a multiple choice question, the N/A option is exclusive by default.

Note: This option will be excluded from chart analysis, but will be shown in the numbers in the table below the chart.

Allow text entry

Text entry with validation

The allow text entry option allows the user to add an open text field to a choice. For example, one answer option of your question is “other”, and you’d like to know what that “other” is. Simply enable the option “Allow text entry” for that choice. This enables the respondent to give more details to “other”.
Once you enable “Allow text entry” some other options appear. One of these options is “force input”. This option forces the respondent to answer the semi open question when the answer option is chosen.

The other options are explained within the Open Question options.

Add filter

The “Add filter” button can be found on several layers of your survey. The first one is Section (which will include all questions within that section). The second layer is the survey item or question itself. And the third (and final) layer is the choice of question.

More information about filters – including several examples – can be found on our filter page.

Updated on February 26, 2021

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