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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 in a survey

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

Statements vs. Scale Points

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

the statements go along the side of a matrix table

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

the scale points run along the top of a matrix question

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 to adjust the number of statements and scale points.

the number of statements and number of scale points fields in the survey builder

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 for more information.

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

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.dragging the column for a matrix to readjust the size

Variations

To access matrix table variations, use the Matrix type dropdown menu. Note that each variation will bring up a different set of question editing options.
the matrix type dropdown menu on the left side of the survey builder

Likert

The Likert variation displays a list of statements (rows) and scale points (columns) in a table format. You can then determine how respondents answer the question using the Answer type dropdown:
a likert matrix with the answer type dropdown in the survey builder

  • Allow one answer: The respondent can select one scale point per statement.
  • Allow multiple answers: The respondent can select multiple scale points per statement.
  • Dropdown list: The respondent selects one scale point per statement using a dropdown menu.
  • Drag and drop: The respondent selects one scale point per statement by dragging and dropping scale points into statement buckets.

Bipolar

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

a bipolar matrix type

Rank Order

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

a matrix table in the rank order variation

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.

a constant sum matrix

Constant sum matrix tables have the following unique options to help your customize the survey taking experience:
the unique options for a constant sum matrix table in the survey builder

  1. Add total box: Adds a total box that sums the entered values. You can position the box on either the statements or scale points.
  2. Add symbol: Adds a symbol before or after each box. This is useful for adding currency symbols.
  3. Add range requirement: Allows you to specify a minimum and maximum value for every 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. You can specify the size of the text boxes (short, medium, long) using the Text box Size option.

a text entry matrix question

You can use the Add validation options to specify what type of content the boxes will allow. You can restrict character ranges, maximum and minimum character length, and custom validation.

the add validation dropdown for limiting the length of the text entry

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. To enable the profile variation, select the likert matrix table and change the format to profile.

the profile matrix variation

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.

a maxdiff matrix

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

  1. Select a matrix table.
    changing a matrix to likert
  2. Make sure the Matrix type is set to Likert.
  3. Under Answer type, select either Allow one answer or Allow multiple answers  (depending on whether respondents should select a single answer or multiple answers).
  4. For Format, choose Carouselenabling carousel and adding a progress bar
  5. Choose the Alignment 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
  6. 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 option 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.the allow text entry on a scale point for a carousel matrix

 

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 when editing your question.

Answer types

If you have set your matrix table to the likert format, you can change the answer format.

  • Allow one answer: Respondents can choose one scale point per statement.
  • Allow multiple answers: Respondents can choose multiple scale points per statement. If you do, you get additional options under Add validation:
    the add validation options for a likert

    • Minimum scale points selected: 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 and maximum number of responses the respondent can provide.
    • Custom: 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 the dropdown menu functionality
  • Drag and drop: Respondents can drag statements into the box of a single scale point.
    a gif showing the drag and drop functionality

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.

the transpose table option on a matrix table

Position Text Above

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

the position text above matrix toggle

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).

the repeat headers option set to middle

Repeat scale points along the bottom row (Bottom).

the repeat headers option set to bottom

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

a matrix table with the both option enabled for repeat headers

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

the repeat headers option set to all

Add Whitespace

Add whitespace is helpful for respondents on longer matrix tables. When enabled, whitespace is added periodically throughout the question.

the add whitespace toggle for a matrix table

Alternate Row

Have you ever wanted to make your matrix tables more readable by making the rows different colors? If you are using a branded static theme, in the old Look & Feel menu, you can change the Alternate Row option to do just this.

enabling an alternate row color for a matrix in the old look and feel editor

Choice Randomization

the statement and scale randomization options for question behavior

You can randomize the choices in your matrix table in the Question behavior section:

  • Click Statement randomization to randomize statements.
  • Click Scale point 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 answer 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: In the below example data export, 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 answer 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 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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