In our latest Feature Spotlight, we focus our attention on Default Answers and Page Randomisation, new advanced features that the team at SmartSurvey have been working on. Read on for more information about how our survey software can help you ask the right questions to the right people and get the most out of your surveys.
Using Default Answers allows you to pre-determine an answer choice for a question asked in your survey or form. The Default Answer can be piped from a previous response or from existing data you hold about the respondent. If you would like more information, please get in touch with our support team or request a demo.
Using Default Answers means information in your survey can be pre-populated to save respondents time. People taking the survey don’t have to re-enter information you already have recorded for them, such as their address or phone number. This reduces the frustration felt if asked to respond to a question that the researcher should already have the answer to. In turn, this will reduce the time it takes to answer the survey.
How to set up Default Answers
- Open your survey and add or edit a question.
- Scroll down and tick the box Enable Question Size and Positioning.
- Within the Default Answer box, you can type the default answer(s) to the question.
For multiple answer questions, you will need to comma separate each default answer.
For multiple text boxes, you will need to use the following format.
(Each row needs to be separated by two pipe symbols. The pipe symbol is a vertical line, which can be found on most keyboards to the left of the Z key).
You can also pipe information as Default Answers by using the Insert Piping feature. This feature can also be used to pipe information from contact lists and URL variables.
If you are using piping, click on Insert Piping and choose the information you want to pipe. You will then need to click Insert to place the piping tag into the Default Answer text box.
(If you are piping custom columns, then you will need to replace "columnx" with the name of the custom column. The spelling must be the same as the column heading and needs to be in lower case).
Example of using Default Answers
There are numerous ways to use Default Answers to save respondents time when answering a survey. Let's look at one possibility in the retail, when a customer has visited a flagship store in London.
The retailer emails the customer with a welcome message and follow-up questionnaire to encourage them to provide feedback on the service in the store.
As the customer visited the London store, you can set the default answer to be London. The customer can then re-select another option if they wish.
This advanced feature allows you to sort and flip your survey pages, to randomise the order they appear, to help prevent survey bias.
Bias can creep into surveys without you knowing and is especially prevalent in online surveys! It’s caused by the person, responsible for creating the survey, innocently skewing results to reach a conclusion they hope to achieve.
It’s important to guard against bias and this feature will help minimise the risk and, therefore, improve the quality of your survey results.
How to set up Page Randomisation
- On My Surveys page, click the Settings icon next to the relevant survey.
- Click Page Randomisation from the Survey Settings menu.
- Select Randomise Pages or Flip Pages, within the Page Randomisation section.
- The Randomise Settings section will now open, allowing you to choose whether all of the pages are randomised/flipped, or only selected pages.
Additional Tips for avoiding Survey Bias
- Speak Clearly – Avoid using too much jargon and technical terms, speak to your audience in a way they will understand.
- Stay Neutral – Use impartial terms and phrases so as not to evoke emotional responses. On the flip side of the coin, make sure you provide enough information for respondents to make impartial judgements.
- Keep It Simple – Don’t confuse your respondents by giving them too many options.
- Use Simple Style – Different colours and styles can cause people to react in different ways. Keep your surveys consistent.
Please note that the Page Randomisation feature is available for Enterprise Members only.
Want to learn more?
Our team is ready to help you on your journey to get the most from your research. If you want to discuss your survey requirements and how our services can benefit you, get in touch and tell us what you need. Please note that some features are only available for Business and Enterprise members. To learn more about these accounts, please contact our support team.