IT Connect
Your connection to information technology at the UW

Add Short Response Questions

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

WebQ allows you to easily create short response questions for your survey. A short text response question allows the participant to enter a few words as a response. When creating a short response question, you can choose to limit the length of a participant’s response, and limit a response to only numbers or only integers.

Add a Short Response Question to Your Survey

Follow these steps to add a question to your survey:


  1. StepsActions
  2. On the Build Survey page, from the Add item drop-down menu, select Short response.
  3. If you have already added a question to the survey, select the position at which you want to add the content, and then click Add. You will move to the Add Short Response Question page.
  4. Enter or copy and paste the text of your question into the space provided. Click and drag to highlight text, and then use the toolbar to format the text as you would like it to appear on your published survey. You can also add section dividers (horizontal rules), insert images, and create links with the toolbar. View detailed instructions for using the text editor.

Choose Settings

You have the option of choosing question settings to customize the appearance of your question and limit the type of response a participant can submit. If you do not choose any settings, no text will be displayed initially in the answer box, the number of characters in the response will be limited to 255, and the response may contain any combination of numbers, letters, and other characters. Below are descriptions of the settings you can select:

Require a response to this question: Participants will not be able to submit the survey unless they respond to this question.

Text to display initially in the answer box: Enter some text that you would like to be displayed initially in the answer box. This text might, for example, prompt the participant to enter a response, show the appropriate format for the response, or provide a sample response.

Limit response to ### characters: Select this option to limit the number of characters a participant can enter in their response. Enter the number of characters to which you want to limit responses in the space provided. Once a participant’s response reaches the limit, they will not be able to type any additional characters. The maximum limit for a response is 255 characters, or about 30 words.

Require the response to be a number: Select this option to limit a participant’s response to numbers only. Participant’s responses can contain the characters 0-9, a single decimal point, or commas, and can be a positive or negative number. If you require a numbers only response, you can also require the response to be an integer (a whole number that can be positive or negative, or 0).

Tip: Commas will be accepted but removed from the response when submitted to allow for easier analysis of the data. Fractions will be converted to decimal numbers. If you wish to allow participants to submit responses using scientific notation, do not limit the response to number only.