BOS - Online Surveys

powerful, flexible online surveys

Exporting response data ADVANCED

As well as using the analysis features available in BOS, you can also export your response data and analyse it outside of BOS in your choice of software package. You can choose to include associated information in the data export, such as the date or time a response was submitted.

When exporting response data, you have two options.  You can:

  1. Export all your response data at once.  When you choose this export option, the raw response data is exported, not the BOS-generated tables and charts.  This allows the data to be freely manipulated in your choice of software program to create your own customised charts and reports.
  2. Export individual question charts or tables.  This export option allows you to export the raw data and/or the BOS-generated charts and tables for individual questions.  This can be useful if you wish to insert chart images from the BOS analysis into a report, or if you only need the raw data for one question for your own analyses.

Will my survey be affected if I export response data?

You can export response data at any time – both while the survey is open and after it has closed – and you can export response data as many times as you need. Neither the data held in BOS nor the survey itself is affected by the export process.

To export all response data at once:

  1. In the Analyse tab, make sure all questions and filters you need have been activated and are shown in the view. Or, if you wish to export all your data, make sure any existing filters are cleared by clicking on clear Clear all filters.
  2. Click on Export at the top of your responses list and select Export response data from the drop-down menu.  This will take you to the Export response data page.
  3. If you do not wish to customise your export, and you will not be coding your response data, you can skip all the customisation/coding options.  Just choose the file format you want and then click export Export data to get your response data.
  4. If you wish to customise your export, select the customisation options you wish to apply to your data export:
    • Include unique response number for each respondent: This includes the response IDs in the first column of the exported file.
    • Include date of response submission: This includes the date that each response was submitted in the final column of the exported file.
    • Include date and time of response submission: This includes the date and time that each response was submitted in the final column of the exported file.
    • Include section headings: This includes the section titles in the exported file in the same locations that they appear in the survey structure.
    • Exclude free text responses: This will remove any free text questions and associated responses from the export.
    • Use alternative question text (if provided): If you have provided alternative question text in the Advanced options of any of your questions, ticking this box will mean that the exported file will contain the alternative text instead of the full question text.
  5. If you will be coding your response data, select the options you wish to apply to your coded export:
    • Code responses (for import into statistical software): This should only be ticked if you will be importing the file into a specialised statistical analysis software package.  If you will be manipulating the data in Excel, ticking this box will convert the data to a format that you may find difficult to work with.
    • Zero index all multiple choice, multiple answer, selection list and scale questions: By default, the indexing (numbering in sequence) for multiple choice/selection list/scale answer options starts from the number one – i.e. the first answer option is assigned the value “1”.  Ticking this box will index the answer options from zero – i.e. the first answer option will be assigned the value “0”, the second answer option will be assigned the value “1”, and so on.
    • Reverse index values for all multiple choice, multiple answer, selection list and scale questions:  By default, the indexing (numbering in sequence) for multiple choice/selection list/scale answer options assigns the lowest number to the first answer option.  Ticking this box will reverse the indexing so that the first answer option is assigned the highest number (e.g. the options will be numbered 5 to 1 instead of 1 to 5).
    • Combine scale/rank values into a single column where possible:  The scale/rank question allows multiple values to be selected per row.  By default, the coded export for a scale/rank question uses multiple columns for the response data.  Where your scale/rank question has been restricted so that only one value is permitted per row, selecting this option condenses the response data into a single column.
  6. Select the required file format from the drop-down menu.
  7. Click export Export data.

Note: Different software packages have different column limits.

For example:

  • MS Excel 2007 and later (.xlsx): 16,384 columns
  • MS Excel 2003 and earlier (.xls): 256 columns
  • LibreOffice/OpenOffice Calc: 1,024 columns
  • Google spreadsheet: 256 columns
  • IBM SPSS: 2 billion columns

If your data set exceeds the limit for the chosen export option, e.g. 300 columns for an .xls file, you will be asked to choose a different option.

To export individual question charts and tables:

In the Summary section of the Analyse page, click on the action icon cog icon next to a question’s responses and select:

  • Export data (…) to export only the results for that question.  You will be presented with several “Export data (…)” options for each question – this allows you to choose the file format that is most appropriate for your needs.
  • Download chart to save the displayed chart (pie chart or bar chart) as a PNG file.

You can export response information at any point while the survey is running or after it has closed, and you can export this information as many times as required. The data held in BOS will not be affected.