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About Skip Logic

Service notice: All Catalyst Web Tools–except WebQ Survey and GradeBook–have been retired. View timeline and details.

Skip logic (also known as branching) allows you to create custom paths through your survey or quiz, showing the participants questions based on their response to a previous question. For each answer choice in a multiple choice question – one answer, you can select a destination question; participants who select a choice will move to the specified destination question. You can also add unconditional skip logic to other question types, such as short answer, long answer, or matrix questions, to move all participants to a destination question.

An Example

For example, on a research survey you might want to ask participants in different age groups a few different questions. In addition, all of your survey participants must be over 18. First, create a multiple choice – one answer question that asks participants to select Skip Logic Questionsan age group, and the destination questions for the groups over 18. Then add skip logic to the first question that will take those selecting “under 18” to the end of the survey, 18-24 year olds to a destination question, 25-34 year olds to a second destination, and so on. See the figure at right for an example of the finished question with skip logic.

It’s Like a River

It’s important to note that skip logic can only take participants to destination questions below the current question in the survey, or to the end of the survey. As one of our undergraduate staff said, logic is “like a river — it can only flow in one direction.” You cannot use skip logic to loop back over the same set of questions.

Automatic Page Breaks

Each page in a survey or quiz can only contain one logic origination question, and one logic destination. You can insert the page breaks yourself, or let WebQ create page breaks for you. As you add skip logic to your survey questions, WebQ will automatically insert page breaks. Also, some editing functions on the survey or quiz build page will be disabled once you have added skip logic, in order to preserve the necessary page breaks.

Conditional and Unconditional Skip Logic

WebQ supports two types of skip logic: conditional and unconditional. Conditional skip logic moves a participant to a destination question based on his/her response to a previous question. Unconditional skip logic moves all participants to the destination, without regard to their response. Unconditional skip logic can be used to move participants around a set of questions intended for those who selected a different answer choice.

To illustrate, let’s consider a survey with questions divided into four pages. The default behavior of the survey (without skip logic) would move participants directly from page two to page three and then page four. You add conditional logic to a multiple-choice Conditionquestion on the first page to move some participants to the questions on page two, while others skip to questions on page three. All participants, no matter what responses they provide, need to answer the questions on page four. To get participants from page two to page four, you add unconditional skip logic to the last question, so all participants will move on to page four. See figure at right.

Some Advice on Workflow

If your survey or quiz has more than one or two questions with skip logic, you would likely benefit from planning or sketching it out on paper in advance. Once you have planned your survey or quiz, and identified the skip origination questions and skip destination questions, then you should create the questions in WebQ. Once the questions have been created, add skip logic. Finally, review your survey or quiz, and add any additional page breaks, if necessary.

Tip: Use the preview to make sure your skip logic works as planned, following each path through the survey or quiz in turn.