How to Use Logic To Fight Online Survey Fatigue

Marni Zapin
4 min read

Creating a survey using logic doesn’t just mean that you’ve used a logical flow to guide your question (although that’s definitely a good idea).

Survey logic is actually an extremely powerful element of survey design. When used it changes the flow of your survey and has two basic goals:

  1. To eliminate survey bias by protecting against unqualified and duplicate survey takers. (Discussed in our recent blog post: Using Logic To Eliminate Online Survey Bias)
  2. To fight fatigue by routing survey takers to the smallest set of questions possible.

In this article we are going to talk about the second capability, also known as “fatigue-fighting logic.” There are four ways to apply this to your survey design; each one has its own unique applications and abilities.

Page Jumping Logic

– Page Jumping is a form of skip logic that allows for respondents to jump to a specific page later in the survey based on answers to previous survey questions.

Page jumping logic ensures that the survey taker is never asked a question that isn’t applicable to them by preventing them from seeing entire pages that their own answers have shown to be irrelevant.

The great thing about this particular type of logic is that it dynamically controls the flow of the survey as the survey taker responds to questions. You can customize the types of questions that each respondent sees based on their responses without needing to create multiple separate versions of a survey.

To set up this type of logic, the survey designer creates rules and sets a jump destination that will fire when those rule conditions are met. It obviously works best when you group similar questions onto their own pages so you can allow respondents to skip large groups of questions.

This means that during your survey design phase you should ensure that you consider the different audience segments that are likely to take your survey. If some questions don’t apply to certain types of respondents you can take this into account, group those questions onto their own page, and then allow people to jump them as needed.

Show Hide Logic

Like page jumping logic, show-hide logic allows you to change the survey’s performance based on the answers to a previous question. But in this case you’re showing or hiding a question (or questions) instead of jumping over entire page. This means you can show or hide certain questions that may or may not pertain to respondents.

Piping or Looping

Piping, also known as looping, is the ability to repeat previously-collected data later in the survey.

Many surveys have sections that require repetition of a question or response based on answers to previous questions in the survey. One way to do this is to create separate questions for each option. Piping or looping is an alternative that can save a lot of time and effort.

Piping allows you to take the answers from one question and dynamically populate the answers of another question.

Looping allows you to repeat pages or questions multiple times based on the answer to a multiple-choice question answered earlier in the survey.

For example, if a respondent indicated that they had tried four different types of pie in the past six months, you might want to collect their opinion about each different type of pie. Piping allows you to dynamically repeat your questions for each pie type without needing to manually create each question for each pie.

If your respondent had tried two types of pie, they’d get questions about those two types (with specific references to the varieties thanks to piping in their responses).

Percent Branches

If you have a large enough population and you can afford to sample more than a small group of individuals, percent branches offer a unique way to reduce the size of your survey for each respondent and reduce potential fatigue.

With percent branching, you identify a group of questions for each branch. Then you can specify what percentage of the time each branch is shown.

This technique is particularly useful if you have a large set of questions that covers a lot of subject matter, but you do not necessarily need to ask the same questions of every individual taking the survey.

These different forms of survey logic can not only control the flow of the survey, but can also reduce survey fatigue. You can use them on their own or in combination to create a fully customized survey taking experience.

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