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FeatureFriday: Mask questions (Part 1) – master the survey basics

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    What are mask questions?

    We at LimeSurvey define mask questions as question types that provide predefined answer inputs, e.g. gender, date and time, ranking, equation or simple yes and no questions. These question types greatly facilitate the collection of basic data as well as avoid having to waste time on workaround processes. Thus, mask questions nicely complete an all-round exciting survey.

    Types of mask questions

    Date and time

    The date/time question type enables you to create a question which requires the convenient response of a specific date, such as a participant’s date of birth, or a specific time, such as the hours worked each day.
    In order to use a date/time question, create your question and in the General options, select Question type and choose the type Date/Time in the dropdown menu. Then hit Save and close.

    Select Date Question Type

    select date
    If you check out the preview of your question, it will display a text/dropdown field. Your participant can either type in a date by complying with your date format or simply pick a date from the dropdown calendar. A little green bin icon at the bottom of the calendar allows a respondent to delete a date selection made.

    Date Question Type Preview

    date preview
    Advanced tip: if you want to change the appearance of your date question type, navigate to the advanced settings in your question and switch on ‘Display dropdown boxes’. This will create three dropdown boxes for the participant to set a date.

    Date Dropdown Option

    Date Dropdown Option

    Date Dropdown Option Preview

    Date Dropdown Option Preview
    If you would like to ask for a certain time instead of a date, go to the advanced settings of your date/time question and add a (valid) time format to the Date/Time format field, for example HH:MM (Hours:Minutes). Analogous to the date question, you can set the “Display dropwdown boxes” to either on or off to change the presentation style of your question.

    Time Question Type

    select time
    With the dropdown boxes option switched off, the time input can be added manually or by the time selector.

    Time Question Type Preview

    time preview
    With the dropdown boxes option switched on, dropdown boxes according to your inserted time format will be displayed.

    Time Dropdown Option Preview

    Time Dropdown Option Preview
    Advanced tip: combine date and time function by adding both formats to the Date/Time format field in the advanced question settings, for example “dd/mm/yyyy HH:MM”.

    Date & Time Combination

    Date & Time Combination
    You can find even more detailed and advanced information on the date/time question type in our manual.

    Conclusion: date and time questions can be used flexibly and provide clarity in their usability.

    Yes and no

    The Yes/No question type is as self-explanatory as it is easy to implement as well as flexible to use. Within the question edition, navigate to the general options and select Yes/No as your question type, then save and close.

    Select Yes & No Question Type

    Select Yes & No Question Type
    By default, the Yes/No question type displays your question as a block of buttons which is greatly beneficial as the button sizes facilitate clicking on them.

    Yes & No Button Format

    Yes & No Button Format
    Advanced tip: if you prefer the good old-fashioned ratio buttons, then you will make a find in the question’s advanced settings. Here you can change the “display type” from button group to radio list.

    Yes & No Radio List Format

    Yes & No Radio List Format
    Need more information on this question type? Check out our manual.

    Conclusion: Since the answer options are pre-set to yes and no, this question type may seem somewhat restricting at first. However, the fact that basically any question fitting the logic of the yes or no format, may be applied. This makes it incredibly flexible and convenient at the same time.

    File Upload

    The file upload question type allows the attachment of any file to a posed question. Simply choose “File upload” in the question type general settings.

    File Upload Question Type

    File Upload Question Type
    Respondents may then click on the “Upload files” button of the respective question and select files from their computers to add to the survey. Simple and effective!

    File Upload Preview

    File Upload Preview
    Advanced tip: check the advanced settings of your question and have full administrative control over the file upload specifics of your respondents, i.e. restricting the maximum file size and number of files, the minimum number of files as well as all allowed file types.

    File Upload Advanced Settings

    File Upload Advanced Settings
    Need more information on this question type? Check out our manual.

    Conclusion: a very easy, but valuable question type to have at hand. One of the most prominent examples nowadays is an employer requesting uploaded documents from a job applicant within the application process.

    Gender

    The gender question type is set up by selecting “gender” within the general options of your question.

    Gender Question Type

    Gender Question Type
    Analogous to the Yes/No question type, the default display option are blocks of buttons.

    Gender Button Format

    Gender Button Format
    Advanced tip: again if you prefer radio list buttons, just change the display type in the advanced settings of your question.

    Gender Radio List Format

    Gender Radio List Format
    Need more information on this question type? Check out our manual. Conclusion: for demographic evaluation purposes, asking the gender question is one of the most basic and widespread thing to do in a survey.

    Leverage the convenience of mask questions in your own surveys

    LimeSurvey offers all features to paid subscriptions as well as free users. Mask question types are no exception here. Give it a try and create some mask questions of your choice with LimeSurvey! Simply click here to get started. If you want to learn more about mask questions in LimeSurvey, visit our LimeSurvey manual.

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