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Quick Qualtrics Tricks #1 To collect survey data and run survey based manipulations I use Qualtrics. Even if all you need is run a survey, I would still generally recommend to administer that to your participants in a computer lab using a computerized survey. In the time that I’ve been using Qualitrics I’ve learned a few neat tips and tricks through trail and error and correspondence with the very helpful support team. I figured I might as well add those here, since I’m not sure where – if at all – this info can be found.


Controlling survey run

When running experiments using Qualtrics surveys in the classroom you would sometimes like to limit the participants to only be able to answer the questionnaire and not be able to open any other windows or tabs or to browse the web. Is there a way to limit the computer functionality while running the Qualtrics survey?

Suggestions :

1. Javascript can be used to do things like disable the web browser back button.  You might also be able to find javascript that removes the respondents ability to open a new window.  See here:

2.  You could set up the web browser settings to be in full screen mode so that the respondent cannot see anything on the computer but can only see the Qualtrics survey web page.  I know that this can be done on a Mac by selecting Shift+Command, then "F".


Getting the user to indicate agreement

Sometime you might need the users to sign not to disclose experiment related information by writing down something like "I AGREE" to indicate that they’re read and agreed to the terms . You would then need Qualtrics to validate the text.

Suggestions :

There is a way of doing this using Custom Validation. First click the text "Custom Validation" on the right sidebar. Then set up validation like is shown below:

Qualtrics - Getting the user to indicate agreement

Then choose to create a custom message:

Qualtrics - Getting the user to indicate agreement

Qualtrics - Getting the user to indicate agreement



Secure sessions

Qualtrics can run all the surveys on SSL, if you’re in need of secure sessions, say, for a Facebook App (guidelines starting October 1st 2011 enforce this). Just change the address to HTTPS instead of the default HTTP.


Even randomization

The randomizer randomizing between conditions (questions) sometimes creates a strong bias for more participants in one of the conditions. Is there a way to set it so that number of participants for each condition would be fixed?


You might consider setting up your conditions in separate blocks.  If you do the randomization within your Survey Flow rather than using the question randomizer, you’ll see that there’s an option to "Present Elements Evenly".  When this option is turned on, individual conditions will automatically be prevented from being displayed more than other conditions (each condition can only be displayed one more time than another).


Manipulating language

This is to help administer the exact same questionnaire randomly assigned in two languages. So, basically, we have two sets of questionnaires, one complete in language 1 (Chinese) and one complete in language 2 (English) and then randomly assign (evenly distributed, if possible) the subjects between those questionnaires with an indication of which of the groups they were assigned to. Both the questions and the general outline (like “next question” button and background) will all be consistently in the same language.

Suggestions :

Create two separate surveys. Create the survey in one language first (English), then copy it any translate it into the other language (Chinese). Make sure you make the surveys identical. Now, create a third survey that is the "randomizing" survey. Include only a randomizer in the Survey Flow that chooses one of two survey links (your other two surveys). You can click Customize on the End of Survey elements to add the modified forwarding behavior to redirect to one of your two surveys. Be sure to add the following (without the quotations) to the end of your two survey links: "&Q_lang=EN" for the English survey and "&Q_lang=ZH" for the Chinese survey. This will force the instructions and error messages to appear in the proper language.


Passing variables to Qualtrics

You can run Qualtrics together with a HTML/PHP and pass variables (USERNAME or ID) from Qualtrics to the PHP software and vice versa.


Typically, if you’d like to pass a unique identifier from Qualtrics to a secondary web application, you would redirect from the Qualtrics survey to the secondary application while appending the unique ID to the URL as a GET parameter. Piped text can be utilized in the URL redirect to pass this unique data.

In the survey options you’ll specify the end of survey redirects to a URL and specify the URL like this:${e://Field/ResponseID}

The ResponseID variable is defined for every Qualtrics response and is available without any further customization.

If you’re looking to do the other way around, here are some good tutorials:


BTW, University of Michigan has a good wiki on some pretty advanced Qualtrics usage.


Hope that helps. Know any other neat tricks? Let us know in the comments.

4 Responses to “Quick Qualtrics Tricks #1”

  1. keith goldstein

    what fb page can you use with a ssl version of the survey? currently users must do the survey outside of fb. is there an app that would work with qualtrics within fb? or is this theoretical? another issue is the rsl news feed update. how do i add an rsl link to the survey?

    • Fili

      keith – it’s not theoretical, i’ve done that before and it’s actually not that difficult. there are endless guides out there on how to integrate a webpage as an app or a FB page and it only takes about 5 minutes.
      not sure what you’re referring to when you mention “rsl news feed” or “rsl link”.

  2. Ananda

    Hi I was wondering if you’d know how to direct them to a site, let them see what the website is like, how to navigate it etc, and direct them back to the survey again?

    Is it possible to direct them to a site, within the survey so that they can finish the survey?


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