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Online surveys  (formerly BOS)

Powerful, flexible online surveys

Multiple choice (single answer) questions

These question types are easy to set up and are the most frequent type of question in online surveys. They allow respondents to pick just one answer from a list of given options.  The “single answer” label refers to the number of answers that a respondent can select – for this question type a respondent can only select a single answer from a list of answer options.

Multiple choice (single answer) questions place a round radio button next to the answer options in the survey.  If you wish for your respondents to be presented with a drop-down list of answer options, please use the selection list question type.  If you wish for your respondents to be presented with a tick box / check box next to each answer option, please use the multiple choice (multiple answers) question type.

Be aware that once an answer is selected it can only be changed to another option, not removed. If you think your respondents might need to change their mind on whether or not they want to answer the question, consider using either the multiple choice (multiple answers) question type and restricting how many answers a respondent can give as this will allow them to deselect and answer or including a ‘Not applicable” answer choice.

To set up a multiple choice (single answer) question:

  1. In the survey builder icon Survey builder, decide where you want to place your question and click Add item.
  2. Select multiple-choice question icon Multiple-choice (single answer) question. The question editor will open.
  3. Enter your question into the Question text box. You can also add formatting and hyperlinks.
  4. Enter a list of possible answers. You can enter the first answer in the Add answer option box, and select the plus sign underneath to add further boxes. If you have a long list of answer options you can also type or paste it into the Add many answer options box, one per line.
  5. If you need to, you can re-order the list of answer options by clicking on the up-down-arrow up/down arrow to the left of the answer option you wish to move and dragging the option to the correct place in the list.
  6. Choose whether you want the answers to be displayed vertically or horizontally, using the drop-down menu.
  7. Set up any advanced options, routing or screening, if required.
  8. Click Add question.

Your question will appear inside a box on the main survey builder page. You can preview it by clicking on the preview icon Preview icon at the top of the page it appears on. If you want to make any changes to it, click on the edit icon Edit question icon. To move, copy, delete or convert it, click on the action icon Question actions icon.

Optional settings and advanced options

There are a number of settings that you can apply to multiple choice (single answer) questions, including:

  • Non-applicable answer options: You can choose whether you want any answers to be non-applicable and thereby excluded from analysis of your survey. Click on the arrow arrow next to the relevant answer option to access this setting. If This is a non-applicable answer is selected, this answer is considered to be ‘not applicable’, and responses that have selected it will not be included in the analysis.
  • Optionality & Dependency: You can choose to make a question optional or required (compulsory).
  • Show optionality: Ticking this box displays the word “Optional” or “Required” (as appropriate) next to the question text.
  • Initial value for the question: the answer that will be displayed by default.
  • Add a text box allowing respondents to enter an “Other” answer: this adds an additional box that allows respondents to add their own response if none of the suggested answers apply.
  • More info: Use this text box to add an explanation or further information to your questions. This text will not be displayed by default to respondents, but will be shown to them if they click on more info icon More info. If you wish additional information to be visible by default, use the survey builder to add a note to the question instead.
  • Alternative question text for use in exports: If your question text is long, you can enter a shorter version here which you can choose to use instead of the full question text if you export your results data. This alternative text will not be visible to respondents.  This field is also used to apply a piping source label to the question.
  • Pre-population parameter: Pre-populate this question with information you already know about individual or groups of respondents.
  • Question visibility if answer is pre-populated: Use this setting to display or hide the pre-populated question.