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Online surveys  (formerly BOS)

Powerful, flexible online surveys

Question types

Questions with pre-defined answers

Questions with pre-defined answers, or closed-ended questions, can make a survey quick for respondents to complete. They also create response data that is easy to quantify and analyse. For example, they can be used to sort responses into demographic sub-groups, such as age, gender, profession, nationality, etc. There are several ways of giving respondents a set number of options to choose from:

multiple-choice question icon Multiple choice (single answer) questions

Multiple choice (single answer) questions allow respondents to pick just one answer from a list using circular radio buttons. When a respondent selects an answer, all other choices are automatically deselected. The list of answers can be presented vertically or horizontally. You can also include an ‘Other’ option to allow respondents to enter their own answer, if none of the given choices apply to them.

MCSA example

multiple-answer question icon Multiple choice (multiple answer) questions

Multiple choice (multiple answer) questions allow respondents to select one or several answers from a list using tick boxes. You can restrict the number of answer options that can be selected or ask the respondent to ‘select all that apply’. You can also include an ‘Other’ option to allow respondents to enter their own answer, if none of the given choices apply to them.

MCMA example

selection list question icon Selection list questions

Selection list questions are used to ask respondents to pick one answer from a drop-down list. They are a useful alternative to Multiple choice (single answer) questions where the list of choices is very long. You can also include an ‘Other’ option to allow respondents to enter their own answer, if none of the given choices apply to them.

Selection list example

scale question icon Scale/Rank questions

Scale/rank questions can be used to ask respondents whether they agree or disagree with a number of statements, to rate items on a scale, or to rank items in order of importance or preference, for example. Use this question type if you want to create Likert-type scales or semantic differential scales.

Likert scale example

Example of a Likert-type scale question.

semantic differential scale example

Example of a semantic differential scale question.

ranking question example

Example of a ranking question.

Free text questions

Free text or open-ended questions allow respondents to type their answers in their own words. They are typically used to ask respondents for information, such as their name or email address, or to give additional comments or feedback. They are also used for questions where too many answer options would have to be listed or where the answer options cannot easily be anticipated by the survey author. For certain types of studies, spontaneous or freely expressed answers can give much more valuable data than pre-defined answers, even if it is harder to quantify. Depending on the length of answer required, you can choose from two types of free text questions:

single-line text question icon Single-line free text questions

Single-line free text questions allow respondents to enter their answer into a text box that is restricted to one line of text. You can set the width of the text box as well as the number of characters that can be entered. You can also restrict the format in which an answer can be submitted, for example a number, valid email address or post code.

Single-line text question example

multiple-line text question icon Multi-line free text questions

Multi-line free text questions permit longer answers. You can set the height and width of the text box as well as the number of characters that can be entered. You can also restrict the format in which an answer can be submitted.

Multi-line text question example

Date and/or time questions

Date and time questions store the information entered by respondents in a pre-set format, allowing you to filter the response data more easily.There are three types of date and time questions:

date question icon Date questions

Date questions require respondents to either type in a date in the format DD/MM/YYYY or select a date from a calendar. You can set a date range in which answers have to fall.

Date question example

time question icon Time questions

Time questions require respondents to type in a time in the format HH:MM. You can set the time span in which answers have to fall.

Time question example

date time question icon Date and time questions

Date and time questions require respondents to enter both a date and a time within the same question in the format DD/MM/YYYY HH:MM. You can set a date and time range in which answers have to fall.

Date/time question example

 Other survey elements

grid icon Grids

Grid questions, or matrix questions, allow you to combine a number of questions in a single table. Grids can also be expanded into individual questions by respondents who are using a small-screen device or have other accessibility requirements.

grid example

Example of a grid containing a multi-line free text, a date and a multiple choice question.

section icon Sections

Sections can be inserted to break up a page with sub-headings, for example, to group questions into themes.

note icon Notes

Notes let you add text, images and other media to a survey page, without the need of a question. Use notes to add an introduction, data privacy statement or thank you message, or any other additional content.