Qualtrics is not as scary as it looks: a guide to setting up your questionnaire – caera Grady.

UL ITD have recently set up Qualtrics with the Single sign on and multifactor authentication. What does this mean? Well it means we can login with our UL login details.

Qualtrics is an online survey tool which allows you to build complex surveys for all your research needs. In this blog I am going to share some of the key features you might not know about Qualtrics.

Getting set up:

1.       Go to the ITD page here or contact the PESS Qualtrics divisional administrator (Stephen Clothier) and ask for upgrade code so you can start using Qualtrics.

2.       Set up a team: This will allow you to collaborate on surveys with multiple people in your research team. Ask the Qualtrics divisional administrator to create a team and add the relevant individuals to the team e.g. Yourself, your supervisor(s), other researchers on the project

3.       Login

Creating a survey:

1.       You can choose from existing Qualtrics templates or start from scratch.

2.       You can create folders to organise your surveys.

3.       When creating a new project you can either i) create your own questions, ii) import questions that you would like to use from pre-existing Qualtrics survey, iii) import a QRS file or iv) use a survey already in your library.

4.       If you decide to create a blank survey you still have the option to import questions from an existing survey in your library.

Making it look good:

1.       Add survey blocks to organise the survey, the participant will not see the block names but it is a good way for you to organise your survey into different sections.

2.       Add page breaks so there are not too many questions on one page for participants

3.       Use the look and feel toolbar:

a.       Edit the theme, layout of your survey

b.       In the general tab you can add a progress bar, next and previous buttons

c.       In the style tab you can change the primary and secondary colour of your survey and the font size, style and colour

d.       In the logo tab you can include your project, department or the university logo- note that if you select the UL theme this will automatically include UL logo

4.       In survey options you can do the following:

a.       Set a period for the survey to start and finish,

b.       Allow respondents to finish later (if they use the same device and close the tab without finishing they can click on the same link they will pick up where they left off),

c.       Add an end of survey message

Sharing the survey with your project team members:

1.       New features of Qualtrics allow you to add collaborators on surveys i.e. your team members. This means they will have the survey available within their project folders on Qualtrics

2.       Open the survey, click on the tools drop down menu and hit collaborate.

3.       If you have you team set up as per point two in ‘getting set up’ above then you can click the team rather than adding each individual separately.

Sharing the survey with participants:

1.       In the distributions tab select how you would like to share your survey:

a.       A single reusable link for all participants,

b.       A trackable link for each contact (if sample size is small),

c.       A QR code etc

2.       You can go a step further and create a short link by using a third party website such as bit.ly

Monitoring the responses:

1.       When the survey is open i.e. during data collection, you will only be able to see the number of surveys completed in full

2.       Please note that if participants fail to move on to the last page their response will be recorded as 99% complete.

3.       To check the number of participants who have taken part in the survey go to the data and analysis tab and check responses in progress

4.       When data collection is finished you can close the survey and it will ask what you want to do with surveys still running, you can select ‘stop them and record as partial responses’

a.       Thus, when you download your data all responses have been recorded and downloaded

Exporting the data:

1.       Qualtrics allows you to directly export the data into spss- be sure to select ‘download all fields’

2.       Alternatively you can download as an excel, csv or tsv file – be sure to select ‘use numerical values’

And finally, analyse, report, write up etc 😊

Here are some useful additional resources to get you started:

1.       Learn to use Qualtrics for your research (A series of short videos)

2.       Sharing team projects i.e. collaborating surveys (A how to guide)



Caera Grady is a PhD student in Physical Activity for Health in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences in UL.  Caera’s research focuses on adolescent physical activity promotion.  

Contact: Caera.grady@ul.ie  @caeragrady2011

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