IGS University of Twente

Question Types

You can create virtually any type of question you can think of in LimeSurvey, but the process is not always straightforward. This section of the manual covers some of the basic question types.

Simple text questions

Simple text questions can be used for a large number of questions, with numerical or text input. In LimeSurvey, a simple text question is any question which uses a single input field to answer.

Creating the question

Make sure you have your survey and the right question group opened, then click the create a new question button. The simplest simple text question is a short free text question, which shows the user a small text box with a specified height and width. You can change these in the advanced options, by changing the values Input box width and Display rows. Other options include prefix and suffix (e.g. add a ‘€’ or ‘%’ before or after an input field. Other simple text questions include the long free text and huge free text; they are functionally the same, with higher default width and height settings.

Validation and logic settings allow you to use Expression Manager functions to fine-tune what kind of data the survey will accept, and how to feed information back to the participant if the data does not validate. More information on this can be found in the validation section. The randomization group name setting can be used to set within what group a question should be randomized. All questions in the group will be randomly exchanged among each other each time the survey loads.

Numerical Input

Note that validation can be used to allow numerical input only, but there is also a numerical input pre-set in the question type dropdown menu. While functionally equivalent to a short free text question, it has numerical validation pre-set, and prints a hint line stating that it will only accept numerical input.

Map

The short free text question has an advanced options group for location. Enabling the mapping service shows a Google map instead of a text input box, which the participant can use to select a location. The other options in this group change what details of the selected location you want to save, and allow you to change the zoom level and width/height of the map display. Note that when you use a map, the ‘display rows’ field in the display advanced settings group should be empty.

Multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions allow the participant to enter multiple options. The above example gives participants a list of colours to pick from, as well as the option to specify an unlisted colour.

Changing options (sub questions)

Question options are not added in the main question screen, but rather in the sub questions screen. This means that for a new multiple choice question, you first have to save the question before you can enter options (named sub questions in LimeSurvey).

The above image is taken after saving a newly created multiple choice question. Notice that LimeSurvey prints a warning stating that there are no sub questions. Click this warning or the encircled button on the question menu bar to add sub questions (options) to this question. The terminology may be somewhat confusing, but LimeSurvey sees the above example as 6 dichotomous questions, each about one colour.

A multiple choice with comments questions is very similar, and shares the same advanced options as a ‘normal’ multiple choice question, while adding a comment field to each option to allow the participant to give some additional feedback.

Advanced options

Advanced options allow you to set the number of columns, the above example uses 6 columns to put all answers on one line. Setting this to three would result in 2 lines, etc. The logic options allow you to set a minimum and maximum number of answers (the above example has these set to 2 and 4).

The randomization group name setting can be used to set within what group a question should be randomized. All questions in the group will be randomly exchanged among each other each time the survey loads.

Array filter and array filter exclusion allow you to enter the code of a previous question to filter what options are available in this question, see here for more information.

The exclusive option field allows you to fill in the code of an answer (previously set up in the sub-questions screen, see above) that is exclusive, e.g. a ‘none of the above’ answer. Checking this answer will uncheck all other checkboxes and make them read-only, as well as mark these answers as irrelevant in the database (by giving the irrelevant sub questions a NULL value).

Single Choice Questions and Scales

A single choice question gives the participant a list of options, of which he can only select one. A scale is technically a single choice question with options on a scale, the difference is mainly cosmetic.

The above image shows a simple single choice question, the below one a scale.

Changing possible answers and custom scales

Question options for a single choice question, are not added in the main question screen, but rather in the sub questions screen. This means that for a new question, you first have to save the question before you can change possible options. To change the options available, first save the question, and then click the edit answers button on the question menu.

You can then add and edit the different answer options. For example, the single point question shown in the image above has the options red, blue and yellow, the other and no answer options are automatically added based on the questions settings (i.e. this question is not mandatory, and has an other option.)

Custom scales

LimeSurvey by default only has 5-point and 10-point scales. However, since scales and single choice questions are functionally identical, you could for example create a 7-point likert scale by making a single choice question, and then adding 7 answer options on your desired scale. To make the scale display horizontally, you would then set the number of columns to 7 (or 8 if you include a ‘no answer’ category, e.g. when the question is not mandatory) in the advanced options of the question. Note that when you create a custom scale from a single choice question, you can no longer use the slider option, since that is available to scales only. Pro tip; if you plan to use your custom scale often, you can copy the question to preserve the sub questions, or you can use the “quick add...” button to change your sub questions once, and save the text you used somewhere on your computer so you can quickly paste it to other questions later.

Advanced Options

Advanced options for a single choice question allow for an ‘other’ category, the number of columns to display (the default is 1, as in the above image; 5 columns would give a layout similar to the scale below).

The randomization group name setting can be used to set within what group a question should be randomized. All questions in the group will be randomly exchanged among each other each time the survey loads.

Array filter and array filter exclusion allow you to enter the code of a previous question to filter what options are available in this question, see here for more information.

Scales have a different set of advanced options, the layout is always horizontal, but can be changed to use a slider instead of radio buttons. Array filters are irrelevant for scales, and thus cannot be changed.

Array questions

Array questions are any kind of 2-dimensional questions. This can for example be a list of scales for several related items, but LimeSurvey allows for a number of other options as well.

The above image shows a 10 point scale array, with a list of colours as sub questions, the below one a simple example of a 2-dimensional array with text fields.

Changing possible sub questions and answers

As with multiple choice, single choice, and scale questions, the answers and sub questions (the x and y axis of the array), can only be created after the question itself has been saved. Once you have created the question, you can click the edit answers button and/or the edit sub questions button to change what is displayed on the x and y axis. Note that for arrays where an answer can be filled in in every cell (text fields, multiple choice, etc.), both axis are regarded as sub questions and only that button will appear, LimeSurvey will allow you to change both axis from the sub questions page.

edit subquestionsedit answers

Custom Scales

For 5 and 10-point scales, the answers are pre-defined, and you cannot change them. If you would like to create different type of scale array (e.g. a 7-point likert scale or a 10 point scale with different labels on the answers), you will have to create it manually. Do so by picking a default array as the question type, then click the edit answers button to set up your scale.

Advanced options

Many of the advanced options are self-explanatory, those that are not are explained here or in the sections covering the ‘basic’ 1-dimensional versions of the question (e.g. scales, text fields, etc.).

The randomization group name setting can be used to set within what group a question should be randomized. All questions in the group will be randomly exchanged among each other each time the survey loads.

Array filter and array filter exclusion allow you to enter the code of a previous question to filter what answers/sub questions are available in this question, see here for more information.

Scales have a different set of advanced options, the layout is always horizontal, but can be changed to use a slider instead of radio buttons. Array filters are irrelevant for scales, and thus cannot be changed.

Validation equations and tips can be filled in for text and numerical fields, more information on them can be found here.