Survey Platform - Constant Sum | Qualtrics

Constant Sum


Constant Sum questions provide respondents a way to enter numeric data. Each numeric entry is summed and can be displayed to the respondent.


Example: You can ask respondents how many of hours they dedicate to certain activities in a given day and require that their answers add up to 24.


There are three variations available for the Constant Sum question: Choices, Bars, and Sliders. You can access these variations under Type in the question Editing Pane.

Choices Constant Sum

With the Choices variation, respondents type their answers into text boxes.


The Choices Constant Sum has several customizable options, found in the Editing Pane:

  • Position: Switch the layout of the text boxes from a Vertical format to a Horizontal format.image07
  • Total Box: Display a total box at the bottom of the question so respondents can keep track of their total as they are entering data (only available when in Vertical position).image11
  • Enforce Range: Set a range of valid numbers for each item (e.g., on our hours in a day question, “0” would be an appropriate minimum and “24” would be an appropriate maximum).enforceR
  • Symbol: Place a symbol before or after each text box (e.g., include “Hrs” after each text box if an answer is expected in hours).image04

Bars Constant Sum

With the Bars variation, respondents drag a bar for each item to select a number. If a maximum sum is set for the question, bars cannot be dragged above this sum.


The Bars Constant Sum has several customizable options, found in the Editing Pane:

  • Labels:  Place additional text along the top of your question.image09
  • Scale Options: Specify the number of Grid Lines, Minimum Values, Maximum Values, and Decimals that will be shown.image06
  • Show Value: Opt to show the respondent the exact number the slider is currently on.image00
  • Custom Start Position: Start respondents on a particular value (by default, sliders and bars will start at 0). To use this feature, check the box, and then drag the bar to the position you would like it to start at.image02


Slider Constant Sum

The Slider variation is similar in function to the Bars Constant Sum. Respondents drag a slider handle for each statement to select a number. If a Must Total validation is set for the question, slider handles cannot be dragged above this sum.


The Slider Constant Sum has the same options that the Bars Constant Sum has. See above for more information on these options.


You can use Must Total validation to specify a total for any Constant Sum variation. This total refers to the sum of all the respondent’s entries, and respondents will not be able to move past the question until the total is reached.


Data Analysis

Once your responses have been collected, Qualtrics offers various methods to create reports both in and out of the platform. From the Reports module, you can use Qualtrics to view and edit pre-made reports as well as create new ones. From the Data & Analysis module, you can export your raw data to a variety of file formats and analyze your responses in a different program.


By default, Statistics Table will be included in your report for each Constant Sum question. This visualization includes the minimum, maximum, and mean value entered for each item, as well as other metrics.


Another option is the Gauge Chart visualization.


Downloaded Data Format

The downloaded dataset will include a column for each item in the Constant Sum question, indicating what value each participant entered.