SurveyFactory Documentation Documentation Populating a response
Populating a response

Populating a response allows you to pre-fill certain answers on a respondent's survey before they begin to complete it. In this way, you can speed up a respondent's completion time so they only need to verify you have the correct information about them, rather than completing those questions. Responses can be populated using data set invitations or a custom link or form embedded in your web site or email message.

via Invitations

When you create a data set publication, you must invite each participant to complete your survey from an existing data set record. When creating the invitations, you will see select menus that allow you to pre-populate values for multiple choice and open ended question types.

via Links

When populating a response via link, you must place formatted strings onto the end of the link. Where the strings listed below use <qid>, you should use the Question ID. You can find this ID by looking to the right of the question in your survey overview. Strings also commonly use the id numbers for answers, columns and rows, which can be found by viewing the question in your account manager.

As an example, let's say the link to your survey is the following:

If you want to make sure that the answer with an ID of "2971" is checked for multiple choice question ID "1050", your link should look like this:

If you want to populate the survey with multiple answers, you can string them together using an ampersand (&) symbol like this:

Full specifications for different question types and answers

Choose Multiple Answers / Choose One Answer / Single Answer Menu / Multiple Answer Menu:

&q<qid>=<answer id> (select checkbox, can use more than once)
&q<qid>a<aid>=<answer text> (enter text for answer)
&q<qid>tf=<comment text> (enter text for comment field)

Single Text Field:

&q<qid>=<answer text>

Ranking List / Constant Sum / Text Field List:

&q<qid>a<aid>=<answer text>

Dates and Times:

&q<qid>a<aid>[year|month|day|hour|minute|second|ampm]=<answer text>
&q<qid>a<aid>=<YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS> (use 24 hour clock, will adjust AM/PM appropriately)

File Upload:

Not Available

Many Answers per Row / One Answer per Row:

&q<qid>r<rowid>=<answer id>
&q<qid>r<rowid>tf=<comment text>

Most Preferred:

&q<qid>r<rowid>=<answer id>

Super Matrix:

&q<qid>r<rowid>c<colid>=<answer id> (multiple choice column)
&q<qid>r<rowid>c<colid>a<aid>=some text (text field column)

Hiding questions:


Hiding questions only if completed:


via Form

If you want to use this via POST, set the variable using the string you would use via link, but omitting the first "&". To use the example we used at the beginning of the via Link section, we would include the following:

<input type="hidden" name="_POSTPREPOPULATE" value="q1050=2971">

To set multiple variables, use the following:

<input type="hidden" name="_POSTPREPOPULATE" value="q1050=2971&q1051=2975">

Potential errors or conflicts

Hiding questions

If you choose to hide a question from your respondent, you must understand that they will be allowed to submit the survey even if there are errors with that question under normal circumstances. For instance, assume you have set a question to 'required' in your survey, but then hide it. If the question is not populated (due to an altered query string or missing data set information), that hidden question will not trigger an error visible to you or the respondent. The survey will simply be submitted without a response to that question. Similarly, let's assume you have setup a text field that requires an email address. The populated information that is sent through to the survey contains a response that is not a syntactically valid email address. As before, the survey will simply be submitted without a response for that question. Invalid or incomplete information will not get added to your responses, but our processor will allow the survey to be submitted without a response to those questions. If it is extremely important for a survey not to be accepted without a specific question being answered, be sure to configure your 'Response Acceptance' option in your publication to reflect this or do not hide the question.

Populating multiple choice questions

There are some question types that allow only one answer or only one answer per row (such as Single Answer Menu or One Answer per Row). If you attempt to populate one of these questions or rows with more than one answer, it may result in no response being recorded. For instance, if you are attempting to populate a Choose One Answer question from multiple different data set columns, it is possible that two answers could match and be selected. If you hide the question, it will be invalid and therefore no response will be stored with the survey. This is because it is unclear what the correct answer is, and rather than just arbitrarily choosing one of the populated responses, it will ignore both. If this situation is possible with your data, we highly recommend you do not hide that question from the respondent, so they can resolve any error and choose the right answer. The other solution is to change it to a question type that allows multiple answers to be selected, as there is apparently more than one answer possible.