Best Practice Guide: Editing Live Surveys

This user guide offers helpful best practices to follow when modifying active surveys, or surveys that have completed responses.

** The most important rule to remember when modifying surveys is that any changes made to existing survey items will be reflected in previously collected responses for those items. **

CONTENTS:

  • Editing Items on Active Surveys or Surveys with Completed Responses
  • Editing Pages on Active Surveys or Surveys with Completed Responses
  • Deleting Pages or Items on Active Surveys or Surveys with Completed Responses
  • Locking a Survey Editor
  • Setting Survey Editor Permissions

Editing Items on Active Surveys or Surveys with Completed Responses

Any change you make to a survey item or answer choice is reflected on all response details, exports, and reports generated for that survey. This means that if you have a live survey and decide to change the wording of one of your answer choices midway through the survey's activation period you, for example, that answer choice text will also change on any responses captured for that question prior to the change. For this reason, it is NOT recommended that survey items be modified while the survey is live and collecting responses.

For example, lets say you have a simple survey that requests the respondent's favorite color. The options are Red, Blue, and Green.

After 10 responses are collected we export the completed responses. The the above table shows the response distribution:

Red = 5 responses
Blue = 3 responses
Green = 2 responses

Now, let's go into the survey editor and modify the active survey by changing the answer choice "Green" to "Orange."

When we go to take the survey, the new color is shown, as intended.

However, when we generate a new export of the response data, the two responses that were previously labeled "Green" are now "Orange".

Please use caution when modifying item and answer choice text!

Editing Pages on Active Surveys or Surveys with Completed Responses

Rearranging the pages of active surveys or survey that have completed responses should not affect the actual responses.

NOTE: Items or pages with logic may be affected by reordering pages or items within a survey.

For example, the survey above has two items on Page 1.

After 10 responses are collected we exported the completed responses. The the above table shows the response distribution:

Red = 5 responses
Blue = 2 responses
Orange = 3 responses

Spring = 3
Summer = 4
Fall = 2
Winter = 1

When viewed in the Response Manager instead of as an export, a single response should display as above, with both items on a single page.

Now, let's go back into the survey editor and move the second survey item to a new page.

If we then re-export our 10 responses, the data should appear exactly the same as it did before changing the page layout.

If we return to the Response Manager and look at the same individual response as before, you will now see that item 2 has been moved to Page 2. The actual response data, however, has not changed.

Deleting Pages or Items on Active Surveys or Surveys with Completed Responses

Deleting a page, item, or answer choice in a survey that has already collected responses will remove that entity from the survey's response data.

For example, the table above shows an export of 10 responses for a survey about colors. Based on the data above, three colors were selected as answers to the question "What is your favorite color?"

Red = 5 responses
Blue = 2 responses
Orange = 3 responses

Now let's say the survey creator deletes the "Orange" answer choice from this survey item. If we re-export the same 10 responses, any response that was previously "Orange" is now blank.

It is NOT recommended that you delete pages, items, or answer choices on any survey that is actively collecting responses.

Locking a Survey Editor

Locking a survey prevents any user, whether a System Administrator or not, to make changes within the Survey Editor.

Locking is enabled in the Survey Manager: Status >> Information >> enable the "Locked" option

It is recommended that all live surveys be locked until the activation period has passed.

If an authorized user attempts to edit a locked survey, the above message will appear at the top of the survey editor window.

NOTE: A Survey Administrator with administrative permissions enabled for this survey will be able return to the survey dashboard and disable the Locked function.

When creating a new survey the option to 'Allow Survey Editors to edit this survey when it is "Active" ' is enabled by default. When this setting is enabled it means that authorized users can make changes within this survey's editor while it is live and potentially collecting responses.

Deselecting this option will "lock" this survey's editor, preventing any changes to be made to survey pages, items, or logic, until the survey is "unlocked".

Setting Survey Editor Permissions

Let's say you have a live survey and wish to hide this survey's editor from all account Survey Editors or Survey Administrators.

To accomplish this, you must first log in as a System Administrator.

Next, select the survey you wish to block access to from the Survey Manager.

Select: Configure >> Permissions >> Advanced Options

On the Access List tab of the ACL (access control list) you should be able to see a list of users with access to this survey. From here, you have a two options:

A. If you wish to leave certain user permissions enabled and just remove editing capabilities you can leave the user on the access list and simply deselect the "Edit" permission.

Save your changes.

B. If you wish to remove a user from the access list entirely, move to the Add Users/Groups to Access List tab and select desired users from the left-hand pane to remove.

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