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Multiple Choice Question

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About Multiple Choice Questions

The Multiple Choice question type allows the respondent to choose one or multiple options from a list of possible answers. This is the most common question type due to its simplicity and ease of use for both the survey creator and the survey taker.

What is the capital of Uruguay? Followed by a list of choices

Qtip: If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for on this page, try Formatting Answer Choices, Formatting Questions, and Question Options.

Single Answer Variations

The single answer format allows a respondent to select one, and only one, answer choice.

Standard Single Select

Select Single Answer for the most standard format of single-select questions.

Question on capital of Uruguay is selected in the editor. The buttons looks like circles. On the right, in the editing pane, Single Answer is selected under Answers

In the editor, you’ll notice that single answer questions always have radio buttons (circles). You can change how these buttons appear to your respondents based on the layout you have selected in your Look & Feel.

Qtip: Although respondents can change their choice on a single-answer question, they can’t uncheck it. To give your respondent the option to uncheck their selected answer, you can use a multiple answer question and then turn on Make Answer Exclusive for each answer choice.

Same question, but with checkboxes, and all the choices have blue x's next to them

Dropdown List

The Dropdown List format displays answer choices as a dropdown list; respondents can only pick one answer choice.

The Uruguay question is now a dropdown list. Under answers in the editing pane to the right, Dropdown List is selected. Under the select box is blue text that says Click here to edit choices

If you need to edit the choices available, select Click here to edit choices. You will then be able to click choices to edit them.

Editing choices looks different than the standard format - choices are highlighted in a dark gray

Qtip: Have a long list of choices? No need to type them in one at a time! If you have the list in a spreadsheet, or even in a Word document, you can simply copy the entire list and paste it into the first choice in Qualtrics. Qualtrics will populate the list for you. Make sure the list is formatted so there is one line break in between each choice. Be careful of formatting that may carry over from Word and other rich text editing software – you may need to remove formatting on the question.

Select Box

The Select Box format displays answer choices in a list respondents can scroll through. Respondents can select only one answer choice.

Uruguay question is now a white box listing questions. Blue highlights the selected answer. Under the white box is blue text that says Click here to edit choices

If you need to edit the choices available, select Click here to edit choices. You will then be able to click choices to edit them.

Editing choices looks different than the standard format - choices are highlighted in a dark gray

Single Answer Validation

In the editing pane to the right of the question, validation options and validation type are highlighted

Single answer questions have lots of validation options, including force response, request response, and custom validation. Learn more on the Validation support page.

Multiple Answer Variations

The multiple answer format allows a respondent to select multiple answer choices. You can limit how many choices the respondent is allowed to select by customizing the validation options described at the end of this section.

Standard Multiple Select

Select Multiple Answer for the most standard multiple-select question.

A question asking respondents to select traits that fit them. The answers are marked with checkboxes. In the editing pane to the right, under Answers, Multiple Answer is selected

In the editor, you’ll notice that multiple answer questions always have checkboxes. You can change how these buttons appear to your respondents based on the layout you have selected in your Look & Feel.

Multi Select Box

The Multi Select Box format displays answer choices in a list respondents can scroll through. Respondents can easily select multiple answer choices through several methods. To select options in a row, they can click and drag their mouse, or hold down Shift when selecting. To select non-sequential options, they can hold down Ctrl (on a PC) or Cmd (on a Mac) when clicking.

The same personality question is now a white box with answers inside. On the right in the editing pane, Multi select box is selected udner Answers. Under the white box is blue text that says, Click here to edit choices

If you need to edit the choices available, select Click here to edit choices. You will then be able to click choices to edit them.

Editing choices looks different than the standard format - choices are highlighted in a dark gray

Multiple Answer Validation

Multiple select questions come with some of the same validation options that singe select questions do, but there are also options that are unique to multiple select questions. There are even a few ways to limit how many answers respondents can select.

In the question editing pane to the right, validation options and validation type are highlighted

  • Validation Options:
    • Force Response: Force the respondent to select at least one response before they can proceed.
    • Request Response: Request that the respondent try to answer the question before they proceed, but give them the option to refuse.
  • 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.
      For the personality question, editing pane to the right, At Least is set to 3
    • Answers Range: Specify a minimum (At Least) and maximum (No More Than) number of responses the respondent can provide.
      In the editing pane to the right, At Least is set to 3, and No more than is set to 5. The questions has 6 choices
    • Custom Validation: Require respondents to select specific choices before they can proceed. See Custom Validation and Custom Validation Messages.

Answer Positions

You can change the arrangement of your answer choices to improve the appearance of your survey and the way information is presented.

Qtip: These options are available for both single answer and multiple answer questions. They will not appear if you are using a dropdown list or select box option.

Vertical

List choices vertically.

Vertical selected under position in the editing pane to the right

Horizontal

List choices horizontally.

Satisfaction question where the options are listed horizontally

You can also adjust the Labels so that the choice text appears to the side of or above the radio buttons. Note that when you select “side,” the positioning of the radio button will vary based on Look & Feel layout.

LAbel setting it changed, so radio buttons are to the left of choice text

Qtip: On mobile and smaller desktop screens, this setting will revert back to vertical.

Preview of a desktop and mobile screen side by side to show the change

Column

If a question has a lot of choices, you can split these choice into columns. Once you have this setting selected, a Columns field will appear where you can adjust the number of columns in your question.

Column selected under position; columns option with plus signs to change the number of columns

Qtip: Columns will not revert to vertical lists on mobile or smaller desktop screens.

Data Analysis

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.

Downloaded Data Format

For single answer variations, you’ll find one column in your dataset for the Multiple Choice question. Each choice in your question has a coded value, or number associated with the choice. The number for the selected choice is displayed in each participant’s row.

Qtip: For a refresher on how to check or change these coded values, refer to our Recode Values page.

For multiple answer variations, there are two data export formats based on what export settings you use.

If you select Split multi-value fields into columns, each choice will include its own column in the dataset. On each participant’s row, there will be a “1” in the columns of the choices they selected.

CSV of multiple answer question, where each answer has a column

If you deselect Split multi-value fields into columns, your question will have only one column in your data set, and the values of the selected choices will be comma-separated beneath it.

CSV of multiple answer data where each answer is comma separated under the same column

Graphs and Tables in Reports

From the Reports tab, you can view aggregate data with pre-made reports as well as create your own.

There are many visualization types available for Multiple Choice questions, depending on the type of reports you choose to build.

Note that when a question is formatted with the Multiple Select setting, many visualizations for that question will display choice count, which may a higher number than the total number of respondents since each respondent can select multiple answer choices. Be careful of the metrics you have set (in results or advanced-reports).

FAQs