Using Skip Logic in a Survey

Skip Logic illustration

What is skip logic?

Skip logic is a feature that changes what question or page a respondent sees next based on how they answer the current question. Also known as “conditional branching” or “branch logic,” skip logic creates a custom path through the survey that varies based on a respondent’s answers. This skip pattern will vary based on rules that you define for the respondent.

How skip logic can make your next survey even stronger

Worried that respondents will see questions that don’t apply to them? Want to make sure that your survey is tailored as closely to your respondents as possible? Whether you’re launching a new advertising campaign, assessing employee satisfaction, or arranging a carpool—skip logic saves you and your respondents time, and makes sure you get the right answers without confusing anyone with unnecessary questions. How does it work? With skip logic, you can change what question or page a respondent sees next based on how they answer the current question. No matter what the use case, adding conditional branching makes the survey process quicker and smoother for your respondents. One more way we help you make the best possible decisions.

Skip logic is useful for any type of project

  • New product launches. Want to know if your new laundry detergent or protein bar is going to be a big seller? Use skip logic to assess who would be most likely to buy your new product—and THEN ask them what they think about your brand.
  • Employee satisfaction. Curious if that nutritionist you bought appointments with for your employees is worth the dough? Use skip logic to find out who has actually gone—and then how the appointment went.
  • Task assignment. Figure out whether a parent volunteer would prefer to chaperone a class trip or run a bake sale to raise the cash. Once you know the answer here, use skip logic to get their preferences about dates and times, along whether they’d rather go to the zoo or the museum—or whether they plan on baking banana bread or brownies.
  • Event planning. Trying to figure out how many overhead projectors and giant pads of paper you’ll need for your next workshop? Ask presenters whether they’ll need them and THEN for how long or how many. Ask participants if they’re coming for lunch before you ask them about whether they’ll need a vegetarian meal.

Three reasons skip logic makes the survey experience better

  1. Tailor-made fit. If a question doesn’t apply to a respondent, he or she won’t know how to answer it. So if Joe doesn’t own a smartphone, asking him to rate the last 5 apps he’s downloaded on his smartphone is pretty irrelevant. Asking an irrelevant question like this will usually result in the respondent giving a random answer—or getting frustrated and closing the survey altogether. Bottom line, respondents don’t want to see questions that don’t apply to them.
  2. Short and sweet. Everyone loves a shorter survey! Giving people fewer questions to complete means higher completion rates and more thoughtful responses. If you want to know about satisfaction with buses and trains, and Mary only takes buses and Sue only takes trains, they are both more likely to finish the survey on public transit and give you the thoughtful feedback you’re looking for if they only have to answer questions about the kind of public transit they actually use. Respect your respondents’ time and your data quality and volume will benefit.
  3. Goes with the flow. Unnecessary questions interrupt the conversation. Surveys are like conversations, and non-applicable questions are distracting. If you were talking to a friend about wine tasting and she said that she didn’t drink, you’d probably change the subject to a different experience that would be more relevant to her. Persisting in discussing something that didn’t apply to her would be awkward in a conversation and it’s just as awkward in print.
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