BOS - Online Surveys

powerful, flexible online surveys

Adding sub-questions

You can add sub-questions (also known as follow-on questions) to any type of question.

Where the parent question is a multiple choice or selection list question, you can choose to make the sub-questions Required if previous answer was….   These sub-questions:

  • become required (mandatory) if the respondent chooses a particular answer to the parent question, and
  • disappear from the respondent’s view if the respondent does not choose the relevant answer to the parent question.

Note:  All sub-questions are initially visible to survey respondents.  If a sub-question is Required if previous answer was…, it will disappear from the respondent’s view if the respondent chooses a different answer to the parent question.

To add a sub-question:

  1. Add the parent question as normal.
  2. Within the question box of the parent question, click on Add item.  The list of BOS question types will appear, and each will be referred to as a sub-question.  If the list does not call each question type a sub-question, you have not clicked in the correct place.  Ensure you are clicking Add item within the brown box surrounding the parent question.
    add subquestion-1
  3. Choose the appropriate question type, and set the question text and advanced options as desired.
  4. If the parent question is a multiple choice or selection list question, there will be a new Advanced option to make the sub-question Required if previous answer was….  Here you can choose to make the sub-question required only if the respondent chooses a particular response to the parent question.  This option is not available if the sub-question is a grid question.
  5. Once you have provided the question text and set the advanced options, click Add question.
  6. The sub-question will appear within the parent question box.
    subquestion added-1

You can now:

  • Preview your question/sub-question combination by clicking on the preview icon Preview icon at the top of the page that your questions appear on.
  • Edit the sub-question by clicking on the edit icon Edit question icon.
  • Move, copy delete or convert (if applicable) the sub-question by clicking on the cog_blue small Question actions icon.
  • Add further sub-questions to the parent question by clicking Add item within the parent question box (light brown), either above or below the new sub-question.
  • Add a sub-question to the sub-question by clicking Add item within the sub-question box (darker brown).

Adding sub-questions to sub-questions

Surveys can become confusing both for you as survey author and for the respondent if there are several levels of sub-questions.  In particular, you should be aware of the following issues:

  1. Each sub-question is indented further across the page than its parent.  By the time you are three or four levels deep into the sub-questions the questions become more difficult to read due to the reduced amount of horizontal space available to display them.
  2. It is possible to create a survey that some respondents cannot complete.  If you have a sub-question that is Required if previous answer was…, and you then add a sub-question to that sub-question that is Required, some respondents will be unable to continue with the survey.  This is because Required questions are mandatory for all respondents, no matter what option they choose to the very first parent question.

We recommend that you use routing rather than sub-questions where you need to ask different respondents several different follow-up questions.