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Survey Hierarchy

Before you begin to build surveys, it is important that you understand the database relationships, or survey hierarchy.

Survey Collection DropdownlistA Survey Collection is simply a way to group multiple surveys together. For example, your company may have a collection to gather customer feedback on technical support and on the products. The collection might be named "Customer Satisfaction" and may consist of two separate surveys: "Technical Support" and "Product Satisfaction". When the customer visits the survey collection URL, he will choose one of the surveys from a dropdown list within a survey page or from links on the collection index page. If only one active survey is available within the collection, the menu will not appear and, instead, the collection will always default to the one survey it contains.

You can view all active survey collections and all the active surveys created for them on the Survey Index page:

(Note: The above URL redirects to the default survey index page:

Each survey is made up of sections which, as expected, contain questions.

Although in most cases the questions will require a single response, some questions may require more than one type of response. E-Data Collection allows more than one response input per question. For example, if the question is, "Would you like to receive email offers? If so, please provide an email address," the question might have a "yes/no" radiobutton list as well as an email textbox control. Furthermore, E-Data Collection allows you to add optional comment boxes to questions.

There are two types of response that can be assigned to each question. In the admin screens they are all referred to as "Answer Groups" and they are as follows:

  • Text Input: single line textbox, multiline textbox, email control, date control
  • Option Groups: dropdown lists, radiobutton lists, and checkbox lists

Text inputs are straightforward as they don't require the survey designer to create options. The option groups, on the other hand, are created by the administrator in one of two ways:

  • The administrator can specify the options for a group which will then be assigned to a question. For example, your answer group may be named "Quality" and the answer options may consist of "poor", "fair", "good", and "excellent". In addition to text, each option may (or may not) have a numeric value used for averaging results in the report builder.
  • The administrator can fetch the options from a table in another database. For instance, if the question is "What is your instructor's name?" the options may be pulled from a table named "Instructors" in the University database. This will then populate a dropdownlist.

The figure below displays the survey hierarchy described above. (Pay particular attention to the question answer groups.)

Survey Hierarchy

The diagram above demonstrates the hierarchy applicable in most scenarios. There is, however, one other scenario which has not yet been mentioned. Answer Matrices such as the one shown below, are actually answer groups that contain other answer groups. And, rather than assigning the matrix to questions, we assign them to the section itself. The answer matrix in the example below is named "Importance:Quality" and it contains two answer groups ("Importance" and "Quality"). Notice how each answer group appears three times (once for each of the questions). When you add a question to a section that uses an answer matrix, it is automatically added to the grid with corresponding radio button groups.

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