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Online surveys  (formerly BOS)

Powerful, flexible online surveys

Introduction to routing ADVANCED

Routing (also known as skip-logic or branching) allows you to direct a respondent through your survey based on the answers that they give.  If a respondent provides a particular answer then they are directed to a particular page in the survey.

Routing can be used to make long surveys shorter by having respondents automatically skip pages that are not relevant to them. Routing can also be used to make basic surveys more investigative by branching off into areas that a tailored to certain groups of respondents.

An example of simple routing:

You want to design a staff survey which includes some questions about your institution’s management of maternity leave that will only apply to female respondents.

You set up page 2 with a multiple choice (single answer) question asking whether the respondent is male or female. On page 3 you set up your questions about maternity leave, followed by a number of pages containing the rest of your questions. You set up a route that takes those respondents who selected ‘Female’ from page 2 to page 3, and then on to the rest of the survey. But those who selected ‘Male’ skip page 3, and go directly from page 2 to page 4, and then on to the rest of the survey.

Our simple routing help article provides step-by-step instructions for adding simple routing to your survey.

An example of more complex routing:

You are surveying a group of students about the support they received during their studies. You want to include a section on face-to-face contact time with tutors for on-campus students, but for those who are distance learners you want to ask about online support instead.

You put the routing question on page 3 (“Are you: a) based on campus, b) a distance learner?”). Then you set up the on-campus questions on page 4, and the distance learning questions on page 5, followed by the rest of the survey pages. You create a route which leads those who answered “a” first to page 4, then on to page 6 to complete the rest of the survey. Respondents who answer “b” are directed from page 3 straight to page 5 instead, and then carry on to page 6 and all the way to the end.

Our complex routing help article provides step-by-step instructions for incorporating complex routing into your survey.

You can also combine routing with pre-populated questions.  This allows you to automatically direct respondents to particular pages in your survey based on information you already hold about them.

Restrictions on routing

There are a few restrictions on how you can apply routing to your survey. These ensure that the routing works properly, and that respondents have all the information that they need to complete the survey successfully.

  • Routing applies to entire pages in your survey and only takes effect once a respondent has clicked on the Submit and continue/Next button at the bottom of the survey page.  The routing will then take the respondent to the beginning of the next relevant page.  You cannot use routing to skip a respondent over part of a page or from half-way through one page to the next page.  If you want your respondent to skip questions, these must be put on a separate page.
  • Only multiple choice (single answer) and selection list questions can be used as routing questions. Routing cannot be attached to combinations of answers, or answers that are not known beforehand.
  • Sub-questions cannot be used as routing questions.
  • You can only have one routing question per page. This avoids any conflicts that would arise if a respondent triggers more than one routing question, with each directing to a different page.
  • Routing can only take your respondents forward through the survey.  You cannot route back to a previous page.
  • You cannot route respondents directly to the final page of the survey. This is because all surveys have a Finish button on the second-last page which respondents must click on to submit their answers. This button would not be shown if routes were to go directly to the final page, and your respondents would not be able to submit their answers.
  • There are limitations on the ability to move questions and pages that have logic attached to them.  You will receive a warning message if you try to move a page or question to a position that would break the logic of the survey.