Survey Platform - Validation | Qualtrics



You can use validation to force respondents to answer a question or request that they consider answering the question before leaving the page. These options can also be used to force a certain type of response (e.g., valid phone numbers only).

There are four main validation features available for nearly every question type: Force Response, Request Response, Custom Validation, and Custom Validation Messages. When any of the validation options are enabled, an asterisk icon will appear to the left of the question, indicating that the question has some form of validation.

Force Response

If certain questions in your survey are more important than others, or if survey logic depends on them, you may want to enable Force Response. This option requires respondents to answer the question before they can progress to the next page of the survey. If they try to progress without answering the question, they will see a message letting them know they must answer the question to proceed.

To set Force Response on a question

  1. Select the question.
  2. Select Force Response on the Editing Pane to the right of the question.
Qtip: To set Force Response on multiple questions, select all of the questions and then choose Force Response. For more information on how to select multiple questions, view Editing Multiple Questions.

Request Response

Request Response allows you to remind respondents that they missed a question without requiring that they go back and answer it. This can be a tactful way to increase question response rates without violating privacy guidelines that apply to many studies.

When Request Response is selected, and a respondent skips the question, Qualtrics will ask if the respondent would like to go back and answer the skipped question before they move to a new page.

To set Request Response on a question

  1. Click the Validation Options dropdown on the Editing Pane.
  2. Select Request Response.

Custom Validation

Sometimes, you’ll want to not only force respondents to answer a question but to require that they answer it a certain way. You can use Custom Validation to build your own validation criteria.

Qtip: For more information on each question type’s unique validation options, visit our Question Types Overview and select the question type you would like to learn more about.

To set Custom Validation on a question

  1. Click Custom Validation under the Validation Type.
  2. Set a condition that must be met for the response to pass. To ignore capitalization on text entry conditions, select Ignore Case.image04
    Example: This condition checks that the respondent’s provided answer has the characters “CSURV” and ignores the case. This is one way of verifying the identity of your respondents. Only those who use the correct code will be able to pass this question.
  3. Select Load a Saved Message to choose an error message to display when the condition is not met. Choose a pre-built message from your library (titled My Library) under System Defaults or create a new error message.

Custom Validation Messages

Whenever you add Custom Validation to a question, you also need to provide a message to display to your participants if they fail to pass your validation conditions. This message usually lets participants know why they failed or what they need to enter in order to proceed in the survey.

There are two types of Custom Validation messages you can create: modified Qualtrics error messages, where you take a system default message and change the text, and completely new error messages, where you create your own message from scratch.

To create a new Custom Validation error message

  1. After clicking on Load a Saved Message, select the library you would like the message to be saved in and click New Message.
  2. Insert a Description for this set of customized messages then click Create New Validation.

    Qtip: The Add Validation button allows you to modify existing Qualtrics error messages.
  3. Enter a name for your new message.

    Qtip: If you chose Add Validation, you would instead select which existing message you wanted to edit.
  4. Type the text you would like to display to the respondent under the Message column.

    Qtip: Some default message texts include the text “%1”. This code will insert different numbers depending on the validation options that you have set in your survey and should not be removed. It might tell the respondent how many characters should be entered or how many choices need to be answered.
  5. Repeat steps 3–5 for each message you want to create or add.
  6. Click Create Message.

Be sure to test your validation logic before you distribute your survey! Invalid survey logic is frustrating for respondents and can prevent them from finishing a survey response if used incorrectly.

Qtip: You can edit your Custom Validation messages in your Messages Library.

Custom Validation Example: Verifying an Email Address

You can use validation to verify that two fields of text are the same. Follow these steps to set up an email verification question:

  1. Select Email Address validation for the first email text box. Access this setting under Content Validation.
  2. On the second question, Click Custom Validation under the Validation Type options.
  3. Set a logic condition to require that the second email field be equal to the first email field. Use Piped Text to pull in the email from the previous text field, then click Save.image02
Qtip: Piped Text code can only be generated in areas where the Rich Content Editor is accessible. That does not mean, however, that it cannot be used in other locations. In the image above, the Piped Text code was generated in another location, then copied and pasted into the Custom Validation options.