Making a relevance equation work for both open and closed access in same survey

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4 days 1 hour ago - 4 days 1 hour ago #180383 by oleggorfinkel
Hello,

I am trying to make the same survey work in both the open-access and closed-access modes, but unfortunately seem to have hit a brick wall.

My survey has a question --let's call it "Salary"-- that I want to be displayed only if the respondent is employed. In open mode, the employment status is determined by an earlier question, "EmpStatus" (possible values: "yes" or "no"). In closed mode, however, the EmpStatus question is hidden, and the information is passed in via a token attribute. (It has to be this way for me because in some situations, the survey is administered to new, unknown participants, and in others, the respondents have already entered their personal information via a prior survey, so I don't want to have them answer the same questions all over again.)

So, my first attempt at the relevance equation for Salary was:

(EmpStatus == "yes" or TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK == "yes")

where TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK provides the employment status obtained from an earlier survey.

In closed mode, this works just fine, but in open mode, with TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4 undefined, the above equation always evaluates to TRUE, regardless of the value of EmpStatus. The TRUE result is surprising in itself, as errors are normally expected to return FALSE, aren't they? The real problem, though, is that the Expression Manager keeps trying to parse the rest of the equation even after the first test returns FALSE, which results in an unavoidable error.

So, to fix the open mode processing, I took the token attribute test out of the Salary reference equation, leaving it at just (EmpStatus == "yes"), and then tried to make this work for closed mode by adding a hidden Equation-type question at the start of the form setting EmpStatus to the value of the attribute:

{EmpStatus = TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK}

(This was what I typed into the Equation field in the question definition, and I did check that TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK was, in fact, defined and had the correct value.)

Now, open mode was working fine, but in closed mode, EmpStatus still remained undefined, despite my attempt to assign it. I imagine the explanation for that has to do with this passage in the manual: "Assignment is done only in PHP. This don't update any value on same page, but only when user move next, previous save" ( manual.limesurvey.org/Expression_Manager...t_Operator_.28.3D.29 ). If I understand this statement correctly, the assignment will only have an effect if I send the page off and then come back to it via the question index -- is that what it means? If so, it would, of course, be useless for my purposes.

So, I am at the end of my rope here. Isn't there a way to either keep a relevance equation from breaking down completely when one variable is undefined, or else, to assign a value to a question, such that it would be immediately available for relevance testing on the same form?

Please help!

Thanks,
Oleg.
Last edit: 4 days 1 hour ago by oleggorfinkel.

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3 days 10 hours ago #180411 by DenisChenu

oleggorfinkel wrote: …
So, I am at the end of my rope here. Isn't there a way to either keep a relevance equation from breaking down completely when one variable is undefined, or else, to assign a value to a question, such that it would be immediately available for relevance testing on the same form?…

Hard to do …

In 2.6lts, i use a {TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_6} in template and test if it's empty or not : it's empty : it's a survey with token and 6 columns (this columns must be empty for token …), else it's a survey without token.

In fact : it's to hide (or not) the index, showing only to telephone interviewer .

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3 days 7 hours ago #180426 by davebostockgmail
I would just add in a hidden single choice list question and then populate that with the punch you need via an equation question... something along the lines of this ...

RespType: Hidden Question with the responses 1) From Token 2) From Open

Equation question :
{RespType =(if TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK=="Yes",1,2)}

and then use RespType as part of the filter in your question ....
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3 days 6 hours ago #180433 by DenisChenu
Did you try without the .NAOK ?

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3 days 6 hours ago - 3 days 6 hours ago #180435 by tpartner

So, to fix the open mode processing, I took the token attribute test out of the Salary reference equation, leaving it at just (EmpStatus == "yes"), and then tried to make this work for closed mode by adding a hidden Equation-type question at the start of the form setting EmpStatus to the value of the attribute:

{EmpStatus = TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK}


Instead of that, try loading another equation question with the token value and reference that in the relevance equation for "Salary".

So, for example, an equation question with code equation1, with this as a value:
{TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4}

And, this for the relevance equation:
mpStatus == "yes" OR equation1 == "yes"

You will still get an error in equation1 in the open survey but I don't think that will affect your relevance equation.

Cheers,
Tony Partner
Solutions, code and workarounds presented in these forums are given without any warranty, implied or otherwise.
Last edit: 3 days 6 hours ago by tpartner.
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1 day 14 hours ago #180530 by oleggorfinkel

tpartner wrote:

So, to fix the open mode processing, I took the token attribute test out of the Salary reference equation, leaving it at just (EmpStatus == "yes"), and then tried to make this work for closed mode by adding a hidden Equation-type question at the start of the form setting EmpStatus to the value of the attribute:

{EmpStatus = TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK}


Instead of that, try loading another equation question with the token value and reference that in the relevance equation for "Salary".

So, for example, an equation question with code equation1, with this as a value:
{TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4}

And, this for the relevance equation:
EmpStatus == "yes" OR equation1 == "yes"

You will still get an error in equation1 in the open survey but I don't think that will affect your relevance equation.


This did the trick -- thank you very much for the suggestion, Tony!

The curious thing is that when {TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK} is used as an equation question value and the token attribute is undefined, the expression actually returns the literal string "TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK". I find this a surprising design decision for the Expression Manager. My instinct in case of an error like this would be to return an empty string. I would also return FALSE, rather than TRUE, for relevance expressions that hit a fatal error, but when it's only a case of one of the variables being undefined, I'd have it resolve to an empty string and then process the expression accordingly -- that would make for a more intuitive error-handling behavior. These are just my suggestions, but what do you think?

Cheers,
Oleg.

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1 day 14 hours ago - 1 day 14 hours ago #180531 by oleggorfinkel

DenisChenu wrote:

Did you try without the .NAOK ?


Thanks for the suggestion, Denis. Yes, I did try that, but it didn't make a difference...
Last edit: 1 day 14 hours ago by oleggorfinkel.

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1 day 14 hours ago #180532 by oleggorfinkel

davebostockgmail wrote: I would just add in a hidden single choice list question and then populate that with the punch you need via an equation question... something along the lines of this ...

RespType: Hidden Question with the responses 1) From Token 2) From Open

Equation question :
{RespType =(if TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_4.NAOK=="Yes",1,2)}

and then use RespType as part of the filter in your question ....


Thanks for the suggestion, Dave, but this was exactly what I tried to do on my first attempt, as described in my original post. Trouble is, any expression that tries to set a non-equation question value doesn't seem to work when one of the variables is undefined. As I mentioned in my reply to Tony, I think that this is not the optimal way to handle such a soft error. Having the undefined value resolve to an empty string would be much preferable, in my view...

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1 day 11 hours ago - 1 day 11 hours ago #180537 by DenisChenu

oleggorfinkel wrote:

DenisChenu wrote:

Did you try without the .NAOK ?


Thanks for the suggestion, Denis. Yes, I did try that, but it didn't make a difference...

I think it's an issue :

TOKEN:TOKEN.NAOK must send an error : allways :)

NAOK or shown are always for question, not fixed var : manual.limesurvey.org/Expression_Manager#Access_to_Variables

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Last edit: 1 day 11 hours ago by DenisChenu.

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1 day 1 hour ago - 1 day 1 hour ago #180565 by oleggorfinkel

DenisChenu wrote:

I think it's an issue :

TOKEN:TOKEN.NAOK must send an error : allways :)

NAOK or shown are always for question, not fixed var : manual.limesurvey.org/Expression_Manager#Access_to_Variables


Another strange thing is that TOKEN:TOKEN CAN, in fact, be tested in relevance expression logic, and simply returns an empty string when undefined (i.e. when the participant table has not been initialized). TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_X, however, fails and breaks the whole expression. To me, that doesn't make sense. Wouldn't it be much better if token attributes behaved in the same way as the core token fields and returned an empty string when undefined?
Last edit: 1 day 1 hour ago by oleggorfinkel.

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18 hours 58 minutes ago #180573 by DenisChenu

oleggorfinkel wrote: Another strange thing is that TOKEN:TOKEN CAN, in fact, be tested in relevance expression logic, and simply returns an empty string when undefined (i.e. when the participant table has not been initialized). TOKEN:ATTRIBUTE_X, however, fails and breaks the whole expression. To me, that doesn't make sense. …

You can report issue BUT : we create false var for core token (TOKEN, FIRSTNAME etc …) but not for the 255 and more attribute …

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