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Introduction to survey logic

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Survey logic includes

  • setting the response type (if you did not do so when creating the question) to specify whether respondents can enter a single choice, multiple choices, free text, dates etc.
  • setting up routing to direct respondents through the questions in different ways according to how they asked previous questions
  • setting up patterns to limit what responses they can provide for a question
  • seeding the survey with data such as names and addresses for a mail merge or user names for an online survey
  • setting up question and code rotation so that respondents are presented with questions in a random order

Not all of these options are available for all outputs, for example, you can’t perform question rotation on a paper questionnaire.

Controlling how the questionnaire is delivered

Before you publish your survey, you can choose how the questions will be presented to the respondents. You can:

Change what appears in the questionnaire

  • change the questions presented using question routing (skip logic) so that questions are asked or not asked depending upon respondent’s previous answers
  • change the question text depending upon previous answers (this is known as dynamic text or piping)
  • display calculations carried out on previous answers using in-survey calculations (derived variables)
  • change which question codes are visible using masking
  • reduce the effects of position bias by randomly rotating the order of codes and questions
  • provide several versions of the same survey tailored to different topics

Limit or require answers

  • force respondents to answer questions
  • limit the possible responses by applying a valid range of answers
  • apply patterns to make sure an answer is valid
  • send an email when you receive a particular answer

You cannot change questions for each respondent for paper questionnaires, but you can check the answers using patterns when entering the data.

You can also provide a tailored questionnaire that people can complete a number of times on different subjects by using group questionnaires (or iterative surveys).

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