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Option Manager

Most survey questions require multiple choice answers rather than text responses. The options for a multiple choice question are grouped into Answer Groups containing predefined options. The groups are created and the options are defined in the administrative tool's Option Manager screen. Access this screen by clicking on the Option Manager link on the Build tab's panel. Alternatively, once logged in to the administrative tool, the URL is:

As discussed in the previous section, Answer Groups can either pull their options directly from another source created in the Source Manager, or can have options stored in the E-Data Collection database. Either way, the group itself is managed from the Source Manager.

Option GroupsTo create a new group enter a unique name for the group in the Description field.

You will notice that the Group Owner is listed in a dropdownlist. If, however, you only have Survey Author rights, the Group Owner is readonly.

When a group is created, the Group Owner is, by default, the creator. Survey Publishers and Department Admin may, however, select another user as the owner. When a Survey Publisher or Department Admin user changes the owner, he is essentially assigning the item of work to another user. It is not necessary to reassign to other Department Admin or Survey Publishers since these users are granted rights to edit any item for any survey, live or inactive, regardless of whether or not he owns the item.

If this answer group will serve as an Answer Matrix to apply to entire survey sections, select True for the Is Matrix option. (We will soon discuss Answer Matrices in greater detail.)

Some groups should have a numeric value for each option. For instance, "Quality" should have a numeric rating so results can be averaged together. If the options for the group "Quality" are "poor", "fair", "good" and "excellent", "poor" may have a rating of 1 and "excellent" a rating of 4. When we run reports, we can then get an average of the responses. To make this possible, check the "True" radio button next to Use for Average.

FiltersThe Data Analyzers allow for custom filters. In order to filter results generated by the analyzers on specific questions, the question must have a Filter Alias and at least one of its answer types must Allow Filtering. If the answer group should allow filtering (like the "Locations" answer group shown on the right), then select "True" for Allow Filtering. By default, "True" is selected.

If you are defining your own options, select "Option Builder" for Source Type. Otherwise, if you are pulling options from an external source, select "Database Table".

Select Database SourceNote that external sources may not be used for averaging. When "Database Table" is selected, the form refreshes and Use for Average is disabled with "False" selected.

Also, after the form refreshes, the Data Source dropdown list appears populated with all the sources defined in the Source Manager from which you must choose. You may click the Preview icon to view the available options with the selected datasource to make sure it's the one you want.

Clicking the Preview icon will display a dropdownlist populated with the options from the data source.

Option Group AddedWhen you click Add Group, you will notice that the new option group's description appears selected in the Option Groups dropdown list, and the button changes to Update Group. If your option group is pulling data from an external datasource, there is nothing more you need to do in order to start using the option group as question responses for your surveys. If however, you selected "Option Builder" from the Source Type dropdown list, you will need to specify the options to use. Notice that after you click the Add Group button, with "Option Builder" selected, you enter edit mode. In edit mode, you have the option to Add Options to the Group Options. Indeed, if you don't specify options, your new group serves no purpose.

Add OptionsClick Add Options to add your first option. Simply enter the Option Text, and click the Add Option button. (Notice that the Option Groups form contracted to display the Group Options sub-form. To return to the Option Groups details, click the details button.

When you click the Add Option button, you will notice that the new option's description appears selected in the Group Options dropdown list, and the button changes to Update Option.

Group OptionsAlso notice that a checkbox appears for deactivating and activating the option. When the option is deactivated (unchecked), the option is not included in the group wherever that group appears in a survey. However, if surveys were submitted while that option was active and survey takers selected that option as their response to questions, the reports generated by the analyzer will include those responses.

To add additional options, either select "Add Option" from the Group Options dropdown list or click on the Group Options caption and repeat the process for each option.

To delete an option, click on the delete icon (x). Note that when you delete an option, it completely removes it from the database; in other words, survey submissions received that had selected the deleted option will appear to have made no selection for that question. Therefore, if you want to remove an option from the list of options for future survey takers while retaining older submission records from past server takers who might have selected the option, you should disable the option rather than delete it.

Update Option GroupClick on the details icon beside the Option Groups dropdown list to view the group's details again. Notice that once options have been added, they appear in a table. Using the arrows to the left of the options, you can reorder the options. The order in which the options appear here determines the order in which they will appear in the dropdownlists or radiobuttonlists. You are also able to quickly activate or deactivate individual options by checking or unchecking the checkboxes to the right of the options. Also, Survey Publishers and Department Admin users have the option to delete the selected Option Group. Care should be taken when deleting any survey element (particularly if the survey is active), however, if the group is associated with surveys or other answer matrices, you will be notified when clicking the delete button. After being warned of relationships, you can then opt to click the delete button again to permanently delete the group and all its associations.

If you had selected the "True" radiobutton option for Use for Average, you would have been presented with two additional fields in the add/edit Group Options form.

Option for AveragingReturning to edit mode for individual options, if you had selected Use for Average, you would see the form to the right, with two additional fields:

Option Value, which is the numeric value for the option; and, Use for Average, which determines whether or not to factor this option into the overall average when survey takers select this option. For example, the option "N/A" with a numeric value of 0 should, in most cases, not be averaged together with other responses.

Once you have added and ordered your options using the Option Manager, you are ready to proceed to build your surveys.

Matrix Option GroupAdditionally, once you have created at least one answer group that is used for averaging, you can create Answer Matrices by selecting the Is Matrix option when creating the group. Once you add the matrix answer group, you are presented with the form on the right. You will notice that after you create an answer group you may not change its matrix setting. If the group is an answer matrix, the matrix icon will appear beside the option groups dropdown list. Also, all matrices are Used for Averaging. Answer Matrices are simply collections of other option groups. Click on the Child Option Groups caption to add option groups to the answer matrix.

Child OptionWhen you add a new option group to the matrix, the form on the right loads. Select the option group from the Option Group dropdownlist. The page will refresh. Enter the Header Text which you want to appear at the top of the matrix describing this option group. Optionally, you may add Header Subtext as well. Subtext is useful for explaining the rating system. In the "Importance" option group, for example, 1 = "Least Important" and 4 = "Most Important". If you want to select a certain option by default, select the option in the Default Selection dropdownlist. The header for each column in the matrix may use either the option value or the option text. Use the values if the text for certain options in the group is too long to look presentable in the matrix grid. Value is selected for Column Headers by default. Click on the Group Details icon to return to the details page. The Child Option Group will appear in a grid. You can reorder how the option groups appear in the matrix using the up and down arrows in the grid. The highest group appears on the left and the lowest appears on the right. If you wish to deactivate an option group, uncheck its checkbox.

Note: Survey Authors may add new option groups and edit Option Groups that they own as long as the group is not used in a published survey or used by surveys owned by other administrators. Survey Publishers and Department Admin, on the other hand, can modify Option Groups regardless of their relations to surveys or other users.

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