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Tailor Surveys to Your Respondents with the Carry Forward Responses Feature

Tailor Surveys to Your Respondents with the Carry Forward Responses Feature

Why give your survey respondents more answer choices than they need?

Using SurveyMonkey’s new Carry Forward Responses feature, you can custom tailor your surveys by filtering out the answer choices that are irrelevant to your respondents.

Now your survey can “remember” respondents’ answers to previous questions and automatically use them to fill in answer options for the next question.

For example, let’s say you’re a soft-drink manufacturer conducting a market research survey. You want to learn about soft drink preferences of young adults, but you don’t want to muddle your data by asking them questions about drinks they’re not familiar with.

You can use Carry Forward Responses to filter out the answer choices about drinks your respondents aren’t familiar with before you even ask them about their drink preferences. Here’s how:carryforward_example

Start by asking respondents to select the soft-drink brands that they’ve heard of (these are called Sender Questions).

Then use Carry Forward Responses to customize follow-up questions (known as Receiver Questions) to only include the answers they selected in the previous question.

When you narrow down the number of choices your respondent has to consider, this lets them focus on a set of answers that’s more relevant and specifically tailored to them. That makes the survey easier for them to take and improves the chances that they’ll complete it.

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Putting Carry Forward Responses into action

It’s a snap to use Carry Forward Responses in your survey design. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Write a broad Sender Question with a lot of answer options.
  2. As you’re writing your follow-up Receiver Question, simply check the box that says Use previous answer choices at the bottom of the question editor. Alternatively, you can choose to include only the answers they didn’t select.
  3. Select your Sender Question, and Carry Forward Responses will automatically fill in the answer choices from that question.carryforward_example2

What if you want to narrow down your answer choices even further? You can use Carry Forward Responses to sift out irrelevant answers over the course of several questions by setting up Cascading Logic.

Cascading Logic means you can ask a Sender Question, and make the Receiver Question into a second Sender Question, which will further narrow down a third question’s answer choices.

For instance, what if you wanted to know what people’s top 3 favorite soft drinks are and what their very favorite soft drink is? Your survey might work a little like this:

  1. Ask them about what drinks they’re familiar with.
  2. Carry forward the responses from question 1 to ask them to select their 3 favorite drinks.
  3. Carry forward the responses from question 2 to ask them to select which of their 3 favorite drinks is their favorite.

See Carry Forward Responses in action in this video:

Parting tips

Our developer monkeys work hard to make sure every possible base is covered. Here are a few solutions to some tough situations that prove it:

  • What happens if your respondent doesn’t answer the Sender Question at all? Don’t worry—the Receiver Question will be automatically hidden from your respondents if it doesn’t have any applicable answer choices.
  • What if you want to know which drink they like the most, besides Pepsi? If you don’t want an answer choice to be displayed, you can hide it by clicking the crossed-out circle icon next to it in the Question Editor.
  • You can carry forward open-text answers that your respondents provide through the Other specify option as answer choices for future questions.

Carry Forward Responses is available to our Gold, Platinum and Enterprise customers. Upgrade today to start building smarter surveys and get access to other new advanced logic features like Block Rotation!

Have you found an interesting way to use Carry Forward Responses? Let us know in the Comments below.

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  • Nene

    Quick question: How do you carry over more than one free text response? Eg. I want my respondents to write down their top 4 favourite novels and then I want to carry over their entries to the next question.

    How do I do that?

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