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Survey Flow

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About the Survey Flow

The Survey Flow is where you customize the order in which respondents experience the elements of your survey. As the name suggests, it’s where you determine the “flow” of your survey. For a survey with one or a few blocks of questions, this just means making sure everything’s in the correct order. But your survey flow can also be more complex. Let’s say, for example, you need to send respondents down customized paths. Or maybe you need to randomize conditions. Once a survey-taker goes down a special path, maybe they need to be assigned a special value or end the survey early. With the Survey Flow section of the survey, you can do this and more.

Let’s start by learning where to find the survey flow.

To access the survey flow, make sure you are in the Survey tab of your project. Then click Survey Flow in the navigation bar at the top.

Survey Flow button below the tab navigation, but above the survey editor

Here, you will see a list of the blocks (groups of questions) in your survey. In basic surveys, you may see just one block.

Survey flow. Two gray blocks. First one says show block: intro questions. Second one says show block: main study

Respondents will start at the top of the flow and work their way through each element until they reach an end point and finish the survey.

In addition to blocks, the survey flow can be customized by adding new elements such as branches (used to show certain elements only to those who meet conditions you specify), randomizers (used to randomly choose which elements each respondent will see), and a variety of other elements, which we’ll go over in the next section.

Example: Let’s say we’re surveying customers who just made a purchase in our store, but are only interested in studying those who bought from us for the first time. In the screenshot below, we have a block of introduction questions, which includes a question about whether this is the survey taker’s first time buying from our store. We then have a branch that catches all the survey takers who have previously made purchases at our store, and sends them to an end of survey element, so the survey stops. Survey takers who don’t meet the branch’s condition will skip over the end of survey element and instead head to the “Main Study” block, where we will survey them on their first experience with us.

Shoe block: intro questions in gray. Blue branch: is this your first time in our store? no selected. Indented under branch, red: end of survey element. No longer indented, outside branch: gray block, main study

Elements of the Survey Flow

Yellow menu with a list of elements. Gray block, blue branch, green embedded data, pink randomizer, blue web service, blue text sentiment, blue group, blue authenticator, red end of survey, purple reference surveys, blue table of contents

Elements are the building blocks of the survey flow. They let you do everything from creating personalized paths for respondents, to setting up new key variables, to randomizing blocks of questions.

The following is a list of the different survey flow elements available to you, in order of how commonly they are used. Click the corresponding link to learn more about each element.

  • Question Blocks: Show a block of questions.
    Qtip: See Displaying Blocks for information on using blocks in the survey flow. See Block Options for information on how to create and edit blocks.
  • Branches: Display blocks and other elements based on the conditions that survey respondents meet.
  • Embedded Data: Add any extra information you want to include in the survey data beyond the question responses, such as contact data or other variables you assign by branching.
  • Randomizer: Randomly present question blocks and other elements.
  • End of Survey: Terminate respondents at various locations with custom experiences.
  • Authenticator: Verify respondents’ identities before they take the survey.
  • Groups: Group different survey flow elements together.
  • Reference Surveys: Use the same sets of questions in multiple surveys.
  • Table of Contents: Allow respondents to self-navigate question blocks.
  • Text Sentiment – Topic: As respondents fill out open-ended feedback in your survey, assess the sentiment of the response, topics used in the response, and the sentiment of those particular topics. Then branch based on the text analysis results.
  • Web Service: Integrate API calls and web services into your survey.

Making Edits in the Survey Flow

Adding Elements

  1. Click Add a New Element Here.
    The Add Below button on every block and the Add a New element Here button at the bottom of every Survey Flow

    Qtip: Or, if there’s a particular spot in the survey flow where you want your new element to appear, click Add Below.
  2. Choose the element you would like to add.
    What do you want to add? menu opened with Embedded Data highlighted

Moving Elements

  1. Click and hold down Move on the element you would like to move.
    Move button on right of the block
  2. Drag the element to the correct place inside the survey flow.
    Element turns green as it's dragged
  3. If you are moving the element under a branch, randomizer, group, or authenticator, make sure you are paying close attention to how elements are indented!
    Survey flow situated as described

    Example: Survey takers will need to meet the conditions of the branch to see the block labelled Condition 1 (Old Logo), but they will not need to pass the condition of the branch to see the block labelled Follow-Up Questions.
Qtip: You can also move selected elements in the Survey Flow by clicking on the element and pressing the and keys on your keyboard.

Duplicating Elements

Click Duplicate on an element to copy it. If this element is a branch, randomizer, group, or authenticator, take note that everything indented underneath it will also be copied.

Delete option on right of an element

Qtip: If you add a block that is already in the survey flow and respondents see it twice, the second instance will display all of the same questions with their previous answers filled in. Qualtrics will save the responses from the last instance the block was shown.

Deleting elements

Click Delete on an element to remove it. If this element is a branch, randomizer, group, or authenticator, take note that everything indented underneath it will also be removed.

Delete option on right of an element

Warning: Do not ever delete an element unless you are absolutely sure this is what you want to do! You will not be able to retrieve any elements you delete, and you will need to rebuild them from scratch. In the case of elements like Embedded Data, you will also delete all corresponding data from your survey.

Saving the Flow

Click Save Flow to save the edits you’ve made.
Save Flow button, bottom-right of the screen, in green

Qtip: If you don’t want to apply your edits, or you made a mistake, simply click Cancel to not save the change.

Examples of the Survey Flow in Action

You can do almost anything you want with the survey flow, which can be daunting if you don’t know what you want to do yet. To help you get started, we’ve written a collection of common survey builds that are popular with real Qualtrics users. The ones listed here all utilize the survey flow in some unique way:

Qtip: If you need to see your survey flow better while you edit all the different elements inside, you can use the Zoom In and Zoom Out functions in the upper-right.
Zoom in and zoom out next to each other in upper-right of the survey flow