A survey (in the LimeSurvey system) is made up of three basic building blocks. The survey, question group(s), and question(s). For a survey to work, you need to have at least one of each. First, you will need to create a survey.

Creating a survey

Click the ‘create a survey’ icon in the top right of the screen.

You can now set a large amount of options. For now, the most important are those on the first page you see.

•Title allows you to fill in a title or name for the survey, this is the name that will be used to identify the survey in the server, and it will be visible to participants once they open the survey, on top of every page. A title is the only required field , as it is necessary for the server to identify your survey.

•Description allows you to give a description of the survey, this will be visible to participants below the title on every page, so an overly long description is not recommended.

•Welcome and end message; you can fill in a message to be shown to participants when they start and end the survey.

•End URL and URL description will be used at the end of the survey to present the user with a link to another webpage. For example the URL http://www.utwente.nl/igs/datalab/datacollection/surveyserver/ and description University of Twente survey server would create a link back to this page, visible to the user as University of Twente survey server.

•Date format can be changed, for example to tailor the survey to an American audience, you might use a MM-DD-YYYY date format.

•Administrator and Admin email allow you to set the name the administrator will appear as to participants, and an e-mail address they can use to mail that person with problems. You could choose to use your own name, any other name, or just ‘administrator’.

•Finally, the bounce email address will receive notifications of bounced email invitations (more about this here.)

The other tabs on this page allow you to set a range of advanced settings, but you can skip those for now, we can always change any of these settings later.

The survey screen

Once you have completed and submitted the new survey form, you will be taken to a screen with the basic info of the survey you have just created. Notice that there is now a second menu bar, the survey menu.

The survey menu contains options relevant to the entire survey, from left to right; current survey status (including the option to activate the survey), test the survey, survey properties, survey tools, display and export, responses, token management, and finally a dropdown menu for question groups and a button to create new question groups. Click the create a new question group button.

The question group has a title, description, and relevance equation. Surveys can be shown to participants per question, per group, or all at once. In all cases the question group name will show up above questions that are in that group, as will the description.

The relevance equation is special, it determines whether a question (group) should be asked to a specific participant, allowing you to do complex routing. For now, leave it blank or fill in ‘1’, then press save.

The Question Group screen

Once you have created a new question group, LimeSurvey opens the corresponding menu, which should look like the image below.

From left to right, there are buttons for testing just the current question group, editing the group, deleting it, exporting it and changing the question order. On the right side there is a dropdown menu to select questions, and a button to create a new question. Click the create a new question button.

You can now fill in the details of your question. To get started, let’s ask a participant for his/her gender.

The code field allows you to set a label for the question. This will be the code used to access the question in LimeSurvey, as well as the name of the question in SPSS when you export the data later. What you name your questions is of course up to you, but it might be useful to pick names that are easy to remember to facilitate routing and tailoring later. The question text field should contain the actual question, while the help field can contain some further optional text to clarify a question.

The bottom half of the form tells LimeSurvey how to deal with this question. First and foremost, it needs to know what type of question you are asking. Since gender is a common question, it is already in the list so select gender from the question type dropdown menu.

Next you can select what group the question should be in, whether it is a mandatory question (LimeSurvey will force participants to answer the question, and will not allow them to continue when they have not), and a validation and relevance field. Validation can be used to limit the kind of data the participant can enter as an answer, not an issue for the gender question. Relevance controls whether or not a question should be shown, leave it on 1 for now so it always shows (a 0 would mean it never shows, more on relevance in the routing section). Finally you can set where the question should appear and some advanced options, but for now, press save.

The Question Screen

You are now in the fourth and final layer of LimeSurvey, the Question layer. You will notice a fourth menu bar has appeared giving you some question specific options. These are largely the same as the question group options, with two exceptions; copying and the conditions designer. Copying a question does exactly that, and might be useful when you have multiple very similar questions. The conditions designer is one of the ways to implement routing.

For now, press the Test button in the survey menu to have a first look at the survey. Congratulations, you have created your first (albeit basic) LimeSurvey survey!

Now that you know the basics, the other sections in this manual deal with more concrete problems.