Jisc banner

Online surveys  (formerly BOS)

Powerful, flexible online surveys

Glossary of online surveys terms

Term Definition Relevant FAQs or Help articles
Admin user A user in a Project or Organisation account that has the ability to add and remove other users. FAQ for Admin users (Project account)

FAQ for Admin users (Organisation account)

Analyse View the responses to your survey and perform analyses on the data. Accessing survey responses
Anonymity When applied to respondents/responses, anonymity means that a person’s identity cannot be determined from the response information held in online surveys.  The anonymity of online survey responses ultimately depends on the survey design decisions made by the survey author. Respondent anonymity and online surveys
Benchmark A standard against which something can be measured.  Benchmarking in online surveys involves comparing your survey results with the results from other matching surveys, either over time or across institutions. Benchmarking
Billing Contact The user responsible for arranging licence renewal payments and responding to queries about account payments Managing account responsibilities
Closing date The date and time after which respondents can no longer submit responses to your survey. The closing date is found in the survey’s distribution settings and can be changed at any time. Can I extend an open survey or reopen a closed survey?
Code responses An option that can be applied to response data when it is exported from online surveys.  Coding responses converts the response data to a format that can be understood by statistical analysis software. Exporting response data
Compare Relates to survey results.  A feature that allows you to compare the results from one survey with the results from one or more matching surveys. Comparing responses from several surveys
Completion receipt A confirmation message displayed to a respondent at the end of a survey, providing the date/time the response was submitted and a receipt number. Setting your survey’s completion options
Design To create a survey and customise its look/feel. Designing your survey
Distribute To open the survey up so that it is able to receive responses, and access options for communicating the survey URL to your respondents. Distributing your survey
Editor A online surveys user who is able to create new surveys. Setting user access levels
Exclude Remove a response from the analysis. Browsing and excluding individual responses
Expected responses The number of responses you hope to receive to your survey. Is there a limit to the number of respondents I can have?
Filter To include or exclude response data from the analysis according to certain criteria. Filtering survey responses
Finish later A setting that allows your respondents to save their responses so that they can return to the survey and complete it later. Setting your survey’s completion options
Free text A type of question that provides a text box where respondents can type their own answers or comments. Free text questions
Internal survey name The name or the title of the survey that is only visible within online surveys – it is not visible to anyone completing the survey. How do I change the name of my survey?
Language The language used by online surveys for help, navigation and validation text for your survey. Changing your survey language
Launch Allow your survey to receive responses, once the opening date has passed.  Launching your survey does not automatically send emails or otherwise communicate your survey URL to respondents. Launching your survey
List of respondents A method of controlling who can complete your survey by providing online surveys with a list of respondents, each of whom are given personalised access credentials and can only complete the survey once. Controlling who can complete your survey
Logo An image that is displayed at the top left of every page of your survey Customising your survey’s appearance
Malformed link Where pre-population parameters have been used, a malformed link is a link that attempts to insert pre-populated answers into the survey that do not match the associated questions.  Where pre-population parameters have not been used, a malformed link is a link that attempts to use an external service to track respondent activity. My participants are seeing the message “The link you used to arrive at this page was malformed”. What does this mean?
Maximum responses A limit on how many responses your survey can receive.  If you set a maximum responses number, your survey will close when that number of responses has been submitted (regardless of the closing date you have set for your survey). My survey has closed early and I can’t re-open it
Merge Relates to survey results.  A feature that allows you to merge the results from two or more identical surveys into a single analysis report. Merging responses from several surveys
More info Additional explanatory information for a question that is initially hidden but can be displayed by clicking on a ‘More info’ button below the question text. What is More info?
Multiple answer In relation to multiple choice questions, this means that a respondent can choose more than one answer from a list of options. Multiple choice (multiple answers) questions
Non-applicable A setting that can be applied to answer options.  Non-applicable answer options are excluded from the analysis. Setting answer options as non-applicable
Opening date The date on which a launched survey will open and allow respondents to submit responses. The opening date is found in the survey’s distribution settings and can be changed at any time. Why is my survey only open for 30 days?
Optional An optional question does not have to be answered for the respondent to be able to progress through the survey. Can a question be made compulsory?
Orphaned page A survey page that respondents cannot get to due to the way that the routing has been set up. What is an orphaned page?
Orphaned survey A survey that has no users in the survey permissions list.  This can happen if a user in an Organisation account is deleted and their surveys have not been shared with any other online surveys users. Removing a user from your account
Permissions Available in Organisation accounts only.  Rights to access, perform actions on, and share surveys within online surveys. Sharing a survey with another user
Personalised URL Where a list of respondents has been set up using survey access control, every respondent has a unique personalised URL which is comprised of the survey’s public URL plus the respondent’s token. Personalised URLs can be provided to respondents to allow them to access the survey without having to enter a username and password. How do I construct personalised URLs for my respondents?
Pilot A test run of a survey. Piloting your survey
Piping Piping inserts answers from previous questions into upcoming questions, notes, page titles and section headings. Piping
Pre-population Pre-population allows you to insert information that you already hold about your respondents into your survey. What is pre-population?
Pre-population parameter A pre-population parameter tells online surveys where pre-populated information should be inserted into a survey. What is pre-population?
Preview View your survey as if you were a respondent.  Answers entered into a survey preview are not stored. Previewing, printing and saving your survey as a PDF
Primary Contact The lead administrator and Data Controller for a online surveys account. Managing account responsibilities
Public survey name The name/title of the survey that is displayed to respondents at the top of every survey page. How do I change the name of my survey?
Public URL The URL at which respondents can access and complete the survey.  The public URL is not active until the survey has been launched. How do I know what the URL of my survey will be?
Question visibility Whether a question is shown to or hidden from respondents when the survey is completed.  Only pre-populated questions can be hidden. What is pre-population?
Required A required question must be answered.  A respondent cannot move from one survey page to the next (or submit their answers at the end of the survey) if they have not answered all required questions. Can questions be made compulsory?
Respondent progress A section on the survey’s Distribute page that counts how many times survey respondents have dropped out of the survey on a particular page.  If a single respondent visits and then exits a survey several times without completing it, each time is counted separately. What is Respondent progress?
Routing Also known as skip logic.  Routing allows a respondent to skip pages based on the answers they provide to survey questions. Introduction to routing
Screening A method for removing a respondent from a survey if they do not meet certain criteria. Screening out certain respondents
Sharing Allowing other people to access the survey for the purposes of review or collaboration. How can I share my survey/data with someone else?
Single answer In relation to multiple choice questions, this means that a respondent can only choose one answer from a list of options. Multiple choice (single answer) questions
Survey access control Restricting respondents’ access to a survey so that only those respondents in possession of the appropriate credentials can complete the survey. Survey access control
Survey contact The online surveys user whose details are visible to respondents when they click on the ‘Survey contact details’ link. What is the survey contact?
Survey email An email that invites or reminds respondents to complete a survey. Inviting respondents to participate in your survey
Survey message A message visible to respondents if they visit the survey’s public URL before the survey has opened or after it has closed. What are survey messages?
Survey navigation A survey completion option that permits respondents to move backwards and forwards between survey pages. Setting your survey’s completion options
Survey redirect An option that allows you to redirect a respondent to another web page if they visit the survey’s public URL before the survey has opened or after it has closed. What are survey redirects?
Survey short name The final part of the survey’s public URL.  This can be changed by the survey author. How do I change the survey URL?
Survey structure The pages, questions, and notes in the survey and the order in which they appear (including routing, validation and dependency settings).  The survey structure does not include the results, nor does it include any uploaded files, images or survey access control information. Amending your survey structure
Theme A setting that determines the colour scheme, font and width of the survey as displayed to respondents. Customising your survey’s appearance
Token In relation to survey access control, the token forms part of each participant’s personalised URL. What is a token?
Unique response number A unique number allocated by online surveys to every completed and submitted survey response. What is the response ID or unique response number?
Validation If validation is applied to a question by a survey author, this restricts the type of answer that will be accepted by online surveys. What is validation?
View A modified version of the Analyse Summary report (where e.g. a filter has been applied or a cross tabulation has been run) that has been saved and given a name.  Users in an Organisation account can share views with other users. Can I save different views of my survey results?
Zero index When coding results data, to zero index means to code answer options starting with zero, so that the first option is option 0, the second option is option 1, and so on. Exporting response data