By Erika Kato, SCEA Board Member
At SCEA’s first Coffee Break event on July 9, 2020, I shared tips and tricks to enhance your Qualtrics survey and your users’ experience. Due to COVID-19, evaluation surveys have shifted to online formats. Qualtrics is a useful survey platform that includes many features, a few of which I shared during the Coffee Break and have summarized below.
This Coffee Break was hosted on Zoom and included a 15-minute demonstration of key Qualtrics features, followed by Q&A and audience input. I am not affiliated with Qualtrics in any way — I’m just an avid user in my day-to-day evaluation work!
- Use survey flow: A presentation on using Qualtrics survey flow could easily take over an hour! I briefly shared how survey flow can be an extremely useful tool, especially for more complex surveys that include a lot of skip logic and display logic. Rather than applying display logic for every individual survey question, use survey flow. This will help reduce errors involving forgetting to apply display logic to all necessary questions or misguided logic.
- Organize your survey with blocks: Group survey questions together using blocks. This is helpful in organizing your questions as you edit surveys, apply logic to display the entire block (rather than applying the logic to each question in the block), or if you want to randomly display blocks.
- Utilize the “Edit multiple” option: Save some time by editing your survey questions or response options all at once, rather than clicking and editing each individually. This is really helpful for when you have a long drop-down list of options! The “Edit multiple” option can be found on the right-hand side of the browser window (see 3 in the picture below).
- How to quickly delete an option: Rather than clicking the arrow to remove a response option or statement, you can do so by removing all the text in the text box and pressing enter.
- Copy/paste with efficiency: If you copy a bulleted or numbered list over from a word processing program like Microsoft Word or a Google Document, the bullets and numbers will carry over, sometimes as random symbols. Prior to copying/pasting from Word, remove the bullets or numbers and copy only the text.
- Create a Submit button: Qualtrics’ default final submission button is an arrow that looks like →. That can be confusing for survey users, who think they are advancing to a next page rather than the end of a survey. In particular, this can be troublesome for Qualtrics surveys that are used as sign-up sheets or event registrations. I recommend editing the last button on your survey to say “Submit” (or something similar) to alert your survey user that clicking that button will submit their responses. Similarly, you can create a back button or change the text of the next and back button.
- Name and code your variables: Doing this in Qualtrics before you export your data will save a lot of time in the data cleaning process. Edit your Qualtrics variable names, as well as values. These will be applied to your exported dataset.
- Add a logo and make other style edits: As with paper surveys, adding a logo can be a way to build credibility with the survey user, especially for online surveys where may be a little more skeptical of its authenticity or security. Add a logo and make other edits to your survey’s background, text, and link colors in the Look & Feel tab.
- Add the survey title to appear in the browser tab: Another way to build credibility is to edit the text that appears in your survey user’s browser tab. For longer surveys where the user might leave and return to the survey, the tab text can also help the user to navigate back to the survey easier. The default browser tab text for Qualtrics surveys is: “Online Survey Software | Qualtrics Survey Solutions,” which is also what appears in the link preview when you post the link in social media like Facebook or Twitter. I recommend editing this to the name of your survey, like “Summer Research Evaluation Post-Survey.”
- Create (or not create!) a progress bar: A topic of debate in the online survey world, but if your survey benefits from a progress bar, you can include one, with or without percentage text.
- Avoid Ballot Box Stuffing: If you’re administering your survey by an anonymous link (i.e., everyone gets the same link), you can avoid users from taking the survey multiple times (i.e., “ballot box stuffing”). Qualtrics offers additional features for fraud detection.
- Set HTTP Referer: This feature restricts which website a survey respondent comes from. In other words, Qualtrics has a setting where the individual can only take the survey if they were directed from a certain website. If you are posting your link publicly on a website and individuals only access the survey from the website (such as the program website or an event page), this might be a useful feature to help eliminate fraud, likely in the form of bots. For more Qualtrics survey protection features, go here.
- Redirect to a URL: If you want your survey taker to go to a specific website after completing the survey, such as returning to the program website or an event page, use this Qualtrics feature to redirect them to a URL after submitting responses.
- Send follow-up emails: In some cases, you may want to send a confirmation email (e.g., if they gain credit for completing a survey) or a summary of their responses (e.g., event registration). Learn more about Email Triggers and setting up Reminder & Thank You Emails.
- Lastly, use the Qualtrics support system! Browse their support page, community forum and contact support page. A quick Google search can also answer most questions!
The July 2020 SCEA Coffee Break was presented by SCEA Board Member Erika Kato, PhD. Erika is a faculty member at California State University, Long Beach in the Educational Leadership Department. She serves as the Center for Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (CEEE) Project Director for the CSULB HSI-STEM campus evaluation and the CSU HSI-STEM systemwide evaluation, among other campus research projects. She has over eight years of experience in evaluation, quantitative research and institutional research. Prior to joining CSULB, Erika served as Senior Manager of Data Analytics at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, was a researcher for five years at the University of California Educational Evaluation Center, and taught high school and middle school mathematics.