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Matrix Table Question

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About Matrix Table Questions

Matrix Table questions allow you to combine multiple questions with the same answers. This is most useful when you need to ask multiple questions that should be rated on the same scale.

A matrix table where items people rate are listed along the left and along the top are ratings they can select

There are several variations on the Matrix Table question. Each variation has unique options and a unique format.

Statements vs. Scale Points

Statements are usually the rows of the matrix table. These are the statements you would like a respondent to rate.

Statements listed along the left of a matrix question. Things people rate satisfaction on, like "number of dogs in the office," "the amount of color in the office," etc. On the right, in the question editing pane, it says "Statements" with plus and minus controls for adjusting the number

Scale points are usually the columns of the matrix table. These are the ratings you want respondents to choose for each statement.

Scale points listed over the top. E.g., Very satisfied, slightly satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and so on. The number of scale points can also be adjusted in the editing pane

When you set your matrix table to Single Answer, you can choose one scale point for every statement. This is the same even if you transpose the table so that statements become columns and scale points become rows.

Adding and Removing Statements and Scale Points

Use the plus (+) and minus () buttons under Statements and Scale Points in the question editing pane.

In question editing pane to right, statements and scale points appear as options

You can also click directly on the name of a statement or scale point and press Enter for each option you want to add, or use Edit Multiple to change the text. See Adding and Editing Questions.

Qtip: When adding statements or scale points, you have the option to select from automatic choices. This can be a quick way to add common choices, such as an “Agree to Disagree” scale, in a single click.

Qtip: You can adjust the width of the column containing your statements by clicking and dragging on the vertical line to the left of your statements.

Image showing how to adjust the vertical line in a matrix table to change the statement column width

Variations

To access the Matrix Table variations, use the Matrix Type list found in the question editing pane. Note that each variation will bring up a different set of options in the question editing pane.

Likert

The Likert variation displays a list of statements (rows) and scale points (columns) in a table format. Question options can be Single Answer, Multiple Answer, Dropdown List or Drag and Drop.

Matrix Table set to Likert Single Answer

Bipolar

The Bipolar variation displays two extremes of a scale. Respondents select a point between the two extremes.

Matrix Table set to Bipolar

Rank Order

The Rank Order variation allows respondents to rank a set of scale points by typing in a number for each one.

Matrix Table set to Rank Order

You can include multiple statements and allow the respondent to rank the scale points for several different topics (e.g., “Please rank the following topics from 1–5 for each of the following restaurants”).

Constant Sum

The Constant Sum variation allows respondents to allocate resources among the items in each row. As the respondent provides answers, the total resources can be displayed to the respondent.

Matrix Table set to Constant Sum and Scale Point

When you select Constant Sum, the possibility to Enforce Range appears under the Options list. Enforce Range allows you to specify a minimum and maximum for each text box. Respondents will not be able to complete the question until they put the correct values in each box.

Qtip: In the above example, you’ll notice you can also position where you want the Total Box to appear on the matrix. Here, the totals show up along the bottom, adding up the values in the columns (Scale Points).

Text Entry

With the Text Entry variation, each row contains a set of text entry boxes. This variation looks and acts similar to the Text Entry – Form question type.

Matrix table set to text entry

You can use the Validation Type options in the question editing pane to specify what type of content the boxes will allow. You can restrict content type (such as numbers, dates, email addresses, and more), character ranges, maximum and minimum length, and Custom Validation.

validation type set to content validation

Additionally, you can specify the size of the text boxes (short, medium, long) in the Text Box Size option in the question editing pane.

Profile

The Profile variation allows you to label every single scale point within the Matrix Table separately so each row can have its own scale points.

Matrix table set to Profile. Every row of ratings is different

Question options can be Single Answer, Multiple Answer, or Dropdown List.

MaxDiff

MaxDiff is a specialized variation of the Matrix Table that allows respondents to choose one option in each of two categories.

Matrix Table set to MaxDiff

Qtip: Interested in running a MaxDiff project? Check out our support pages on the MaxDiff XM Solution.

Other Variations

For a more comprehensive list of Matrix Table variations, click on the dropdown label Change Question Type on the question editing pane and hover over the dropdown arrow next to Matrix Table. As you hover over the variations, you’ll see an example of each.

Dropdown next to Matrix Table on the change question type menu has many options

Each of the variations in this list can also be created by selecting one of the primary variations above and then changing the options on the question editing pane.

Qtip: If you need to add more than one scale to the same set of statements, try using a Side by Side question instead.
A side by side question

Carousel view allows survey takers to view matrix tables one statement at a time. In the editor, these look the same as regular Likert matrix tables, but when taking the survey, looks like this:

As you click statements, the question at the top of the scale automatically changes

Qtip: Regardless of whether you have Autoadvance on Questions turned on in a survey, answering a statement will automatically progress the respondent to the next statement. If respondents want to go back or skip ahead, they can use the arrows on either side of the statements.

To enable carousel view:

Showing these options in the question editing pane

  1. Select a matrix table.
  2. Make sure the Matrix Type is set to Likert.
  3. Under Answers, select either Single Answer Carousel or Multiple Answer Carousel  (depending on whether respondents should select a single answer or multiple answers).
  4. Choose the position of your statement text. You can choose from the following:
    • Vertical: Answers are lined up vertically beneath the statement.
      Vertical orientation
    • Horizontal: Answers are lined up horizontally beneath the statement.
      Scale points aligned horizontally beneath the statement
    • Column: Split answers into columns. You can set how many columns.
      Two columns of answer choices under the statement
  5. Select Show progress to add a progress bar to the carousel. This bar fills with color as the respondent answers the statements.
    Blue progress bar filling up under the statement
Qtip: The Mobile Friendly makes sure the question is always in the Vertical view in mobile.

Qtip: Unlike with other matrix tables, you can add text entry to scale points on a carousel matrix.

Clicking into the scale point to edit it, using the dropdown to select Allow Text Entry

This is what this looks like in the survey:

Other text on a carousel matrix

Additional Options for Matrix Tables

Depending on the Matrix Table variation you’ve selected above, you may see some of the following additional settings in the question editing pane.

Answers and Options sections on the question editing pane

Answers

If you have set your Matrix Table to the Likert format, you can change the answer format.

  • Single Answer: Respondents can choose one scale point per statement.
  • Multiple Answer: Respondents can choose multiple scale points per statement. If you do, you get additional options under Validation Type:
    Editing a multi-answer matrix likert. In the question editing pane, there's a heading for "validation type"

    • At Least: Require respondents to select a certain number of answers before they can proceed with the rest of the survey. In this case, there is no maximum number of responses, only a minimum.
    • Answers Range: Specify a minimum (At Least) and maximum (No More Than) number of responses the respondent can provide.
    • Custom Validation: Require respondents to select specific choices before they can proceed. See Custom Validation and Custom Validation Messages.
  • Dropdown List: Respondents can choose a single scale point for each statement from a dropdown list. You must select Click here to edit scale points to edit the names of scale points.
    A gif showing how the editor looks when you click the "click here to edit scale points" button. Options turn gray and are clickable along the top
  • Drag and Drop: Respondents can drag statements into the box of a single scale point.
    Statements listed along left in dark gray; boxes for scale points on right

Data for Dropdown List and Drag and Drop is in the same format as Single-Answer Likert Matrix Tables.

Mobile Friendly

When viewed on mobile devices or reduced screen sizes, Matrix Tables often require respondents to scroll to see the full question. The Mobile Friendly option formats Matrix Table statements into an accordion so they can all fit comfortably on one screen.

Mobile view where each row is an item and it drops down to reveal the scale points that can be assigned

For more information on Mobile Compatibility for your surveys, visit our Mobile Survey Optimization page.

Transpose Table

Transpose table switches your scale points to the left and your statements along the top. However, it is important to note that the selection works the same as when the table is not transposed, so that for a Single Answer Likert Matrix, you can only choose one scale point per statement, and data exports will have columns organized by statements.

Transpose table is selected and has switched the scale and statements

Position Text Above

For a slightly more compact display, statements for each row sit on top of the scale rather than to the left.

Position Text Above is selected, putting the statements over the line of radio buttons where scale points can be selected

Repeat Headers

Repeat Headers are helpful for respondents when Matrix Tables are longer. The header row is repeated periodically throughout the question.

Repeat scale points along the middle row of statements (Middle).

Repeat Headers is selected, as is middle, so there's an extra set of scale points listed in the middle of the matrix table

Repeat scale points along the bottom row (Bottom).

Repeat Headers is selected, as is bottom, so there's an extra set of scale points listed at the bottom of the matrix table

Repeat scale points both along the middle and the bottom rows (Both).

Repeat Headers is selected, as is both, so there's an extra set of scale points listed in the middle of the matrix table and at the bottom

Repeat scale points above every row of statements (All).

Repeat Headers is selected, as is All, so there's an extra set of scale points listed above every row of the matrix table

Add White Space

Add White Space is helpful for respondents on longer Matrix Tables. When enabled, whitespace is added periodically throughout the question.

Add White Space is selected, so there's a gap in the middle of the matrix table

Alternate Row

Have you ever wanted to make your Matrix Tables more readable by making the rows different colors? In the Old Look & Feel Menu, you can change the Alternate Row option to do just this.

Alternate Row is changed color in the Look and Feel Colors tab, resulting in a matrix table that has mint rows every other row

Choice Randomization

Option gear next to question

You can randomize the choices in your Matrix Table. After you select the gear,

  • Click Randomization to randomize statements.
  • Click Answer Randomization to randomize scale points.

See Choice Randomization for more details.

Downloaded Data Format

Once your responses have been collected, Qualtrics offers various methods to create reports both in and out of the platform. From the Data & Analysis tab, you can view and manipulate your survey responses on an individual basis.

When you export your response data, the way your Matrix Table data is formatted depends on the format of the question. For example, a Text Entry Matrix Table response could display as strings of alphanumeric characters when downloaded, where a Likert Matrix Table response displays as a single number; each question format has a different downloaded data format.

Similar to All Exports

The first three rows of every export are column headers. Every row after that is a different survey respondent’s answers.

Qtip: If you’ve added Export Tags to your Matrix Table, the names of export column may vary. See the linked export Tags page for more on how this feature affects exports.

Single Answer Likert Matrix Table

For single select variations of the Likert Matrix Table, where a participant can choose one answer per statement on your Matrix Table, you’ll find one column in your data set for each statement in your Matrix Table.

Generally, each matrix table statement get its own separate column of data. Each column has a header in the format “Question Text – Statement Text” to clarify what specific matrix table and what statement it’s referring to.

Example: This is the matrix table we showed to survey participants.

Statements listed along the left of a matrix question. Things people rate satisfaction on, like "number of dogs in the office," "the amount of color in the office," etc. On the right, in the question editing pane, it says "Statements" with plus and minus controls for adjusting the number

In the exported data, the column of data for the first statement is labelled, “How satisfied were you with the following during your visit? – The number of dogs in the office.”

CSV of data described

Depending on whether you exported the data in choice text or numeric format, you will either see the scale point the respondent selected (e.g., Extremely dissatisfied) or the recode value assigned to the scale point (e.g., 1).

Multi-Answer Likert Matrix Table

Matrix question where you can choose multiple scale points

For multiple select variations, it depends on whether you chose to split multi-value fields into columns. If you did not (which is the default), each statement gets its own column, and every answer the respondent selected is listed as comma-separated in the same column.

Example: Note how the header format is “Question – Statement” and responses are comma-separated in the same column.

CSV of data

If you did choose to split columns, then each scale point will have its own column in the data set. On each participant’s row, there will be a “1” or the text of the answer in the columns of the choices they selected.

Example: Note how the header format is now “Question – Statement – Scale Point” and columns are now blank or have only one answer.

CSV

Text Entry Matrix Table

For this matrix variation, a column will be included in the data set for each text box in the table. In this column, you’ll see the text each participant typed into the text box. In the example below, the text entry was restricted to Numeric Content Type, and so the export displays the numbers the respondents typed into the text boxes.

Each column is labeled according to this numbering scheme: [Question Number]_[Row Number]_[Column Number].

Text Entry matrix table CSV data

Max Diff Matrix Table

For this matrix variation, you will see a column in the spreadsheet for each item the participant can rate in your MaxDiff table. These columns are sorted so the first column in the data set refers to the first statement in your matrix table, the second column in the data set to the second statement in your matrix table, etc.

Depending on whether you exported the data in choice text or numeric format, you will either see:

  • Choice Text: The level of favorability the respondent selected (e.g., “Favorite” or “Least Favorite”).
    CSV
  • Numeric Value: For each row of the matrix table, you’ll see a “1” in the column representing the item listed on the left of the statements, and a “0” in the column representing the item listed on the right of the statements. In the example shown here, “Least Favorite” would be coded a “1” and “Favorite” would be coded as a 0.
    CSV of MaxDiff data

Constant Sum Matrix Table

For this matrix variation, the downloaded data file will include one column for every text box in the Matrix Table. The columns are labeled according to this numbering scheme: (question number)_(column number)_(row number). In each cell of those columns will be the number that the respondent typed into the constant sum text box.

Qtip: Constant Sum questions do not automatically export the data for the Totals. To include this data in your export, you can create a Formula Variable at any point in the data collection. If you want to be able to display this total to respondents, then before you collect your data, you will need to create Embedded Data equal to Math Operations adding up the Piped Text for the appropriate columns or rows.

Bipolar Matrix Table

For this matrix variation, the downloaded data file will include one column for each row in the Matrix Table. In each cell of those columns will be a number that corresponds to one of the radio boxes on that particular row. For more information on the numbers attached to radio boxes in a question, visit our Recode Values page.

CSV Data of Bipolar matrix table

Exports will look this way regardless of whether they are in choice text or numeric format.

Rank Order Matrix Table

For this matrix variation, the downloaded data file will include one column for every text box in the Matrix Table. The columns are labeled according to this numbering scheme: (question number)_(column number)_(row number). In each cell of those columns will be the rank (in number format) that the respondent gave to that particular topic.

Profile Matrix Table

For this matrix variation, the downloaded data file will include one column for each statement in the Matrix Table. Depending on whether you exported the data in choice text or numeric format, you will either see the scale point the respondent selected (e.g., Extremely dissatisfied) or the recode value assigned to the scale point (e.g., 1).

Reporting on Matrix Tables

Once your responses have been collected, Qualtrics offers various methods to create reports both in and out of the platform. From the Reports tab, you can view aggregate data with pre-made reports as well as create your own.

A rainbow bar graph where the bars on the x axis are the satisfaction ratings, and the different colors of bars represent the statements in the matrix table

The visualization types available for your Matrix Table depend on the format of Matrix Table you’ve selected.

For example, Likert Matrixes tend to have the same visualization options as Multiple Choice Questions, even down to how Single Answer vs. Multi-Answer formats behave.

Meanwhile, Text Entry Matrix Tables work best with visualizations made for open feedback-style data. This includes Word Clouds and Paginated Tables in Results, and Word Clouds and Results Table Visualizations in Reports.

When a Matrix Table is formatted to only accept numeric data, such as when it is Text Entry – Number or a Constant Sum Matrix Table, the visualizations available are those best equipped to report on solely numeric data. These types of Matrix Tables are compatible with the same Results and Reports visualizations that Constant Sum questions are compatible with.

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