Three new validity checks for Internet surveys

 

Constant Sum Validity Check for TextBoxes

The first is a constant sum, where you want the responses to add up to a certain value. An example would be "What percent of your total time do you spend…" and you want the percents for each of the items to add to 100.  The Sum command may be inserted anywhere in the script. The format of the command is: Sum (the desired sum) Vx – Vy. The desired sum is enclosed in parentheses, and Vx and Vy  should be the same as the TextBox command. An example would be:

 

Question=What percent of your total time do you spend…

TextBox Eating – Sleeping

Sum (100)  Eating – Sleeping

 

In Internet surveys it is very important not to frustrate respondents.  Sometimes respondents' sums are off a little bit (e.g., they may add to 99 or 101 instead of 100). The /E switch may be added to the end of the Sum command to specify the amount of error that can be accepted before the respondent will get an error message. For example, if you were willing to accept sums that were between 98 and 102, the commands would be:

 

Question=What percent of your total time do you spend…

TextBox Eating – Sleeping

Sum (100)  Eating – Sleeping /E2

 

You may want to allow respondents to leave a series of constant sum TextBoxes blank. That is, respondents can leave the items blank or they can fill in the items so they add to a constant sum. The Missing Allowed  field in the codebook controls this feature. When Missing Allowed is checked in the codebook for the first variable in the series (i.e., Vx), then the respondent can leave all the items blank or they can fill them in so they add to a constant sum. When Missing Allowed is not checked, they will be required to make the items add to a constant sum and will not have the option to leave them blank.

 

Ranking Validity Check for TextBoxes

The second type of validity check that can be applied to grouped TextBoxes is for ranking questions. Respondents are often asked to rank items (e.g., type a 1 for the most important item, a 2 for the next most important item, etc.). The ranking validity check will check for duplicate or missing ranks. The Rank command may appear anywhere in the script. The syntax of the command is: Rank (number of ranks) Vx – Vy. The desired number of ranks is enclosed in parentheses, and Vx and Vy  should be the same as the TextBox command. If the parentheses and desired number of ranks is omitted, all items in the list will need to be ranked by the respondent.

An example where you ask respondents to rank the top two items only would be:

 

Question=Rank the two most important items:

TextBox Salary - Benefits

Rank (2) Salary - Benefits

 

You might want to allow respondents to leave a series of ranking TextBoxes blank. That is, respondents can leave the items blank or they can rank the items. The Missing Allowed  field in the codebook controls this feature. When Missing Allowed is checked in the codebook for the first variable in the series (i.e., Vx), then the respondent can leave all the items blank or they can rank them as specified by the Rank command. When Missing Allowed is not checked, they will be required to rank the items and will not have the option to leave them blank.

 

 

Validity Checks for CheckBoxes

The AtLeast command is used when you want to require the respondent to check at least x CheckBoxes. The AtLeast command may be inserted anywhere in the script. The format of the command is: AtLeast (minimum number of checks) Vx – Vy. The minimum number of checks is enclosed in parentheses, and Vx and Vy  should be the same as the CheckBox command. An example would be:

 

Question=Please select at least two of the following items.

CheckBox V20-V30

AtLeast (2) V20-V30

 

The Exactly command is used when you want to require the respondent to check exactly x CheckBoxes. The Exactly command may be inserted anywhere in the script. The format of the command is: Exactly (number of checks) Vx – Vy. The number of checks is enclosed in parentheses, and Vx and Vy  should be the same as the CheckBox command. An example would be:

 

Question=From the following list, please select your three favorite items.

CheckBox V20-V30

Exactly (3) V20-V30

 

You might want to allow respondents to leave all the CheckBoxes blank (i.e., respondents may leave all the CheckBoxes unchecked). However, if they check any boxes they must check the number specified in the AtLeast or Exactly commands. The Missing Allowed  field in the codebook controls this feature. When Missing Allowed is checked in the codebook for the first variable in the series (i.e., Vx), then the respondent can leave all the items unchecked. When Missing Allowed is not checked, they will be required to check at least the number of CheckBoxes specified in the AtLeast command or exactly the number of CheckBoxes specified in the Exactly command..

 

 

Delaying a branch for Internet surveys

 

Branching is set up in the codebook using a semi-colon to indicate a skip pattern. Any skip patterns specified in the codebook will work for internet surveys. Nothing special needs to be done. Branching is supported for radio buttons.

A branch to another question on the same page will be immediate. As soon as the respondent clicks one of the radio buttons, the screen will scroll to the branched variable. A branch to a variable on another page may be immediate (when the respondent clicks the radio button) or delayed until the respondent clicks the submit button.

The BranchDelay command may be used multiple times in the script to set the branching to immediate or delayed. It may be set to Yes or No. For example, the following command would delay branching to another page until the submit button is clicked.

 

BranchDelay=Yes

 

 

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