Introducing the Datasource Question Type

Hey guys! Our dev-team has just added a new exciting question type to our already extensive list of advanced survey questions. The datasource question will allow account holders to connect a survey question to an external datasource URL in order to validate responses and provide response suggestions. The datasource question is only available to enterprise and white label account users. Let me show you how it works!

What is the a Datasource Question?

In short, the datasource question is a text response question that is connected to an external list. When a participant enters a response into this question, FluidSurveys will have the ability to recognize whether the answer corresponds with the list of options on the datasource. Even more impressive, when the datasource’s list is altered, FluidSurveys will acknowledge this and update the question automatically!

Following is a screen shot of the datasource option section:

Datasource Options

Let’s go over the datasource question’s two unique options:

1) Allow users to type their own choices: With this option, surveyors can force respondents to provide an answer that correlates with an option from the datasource. For example, if I provided a code number to each of my customers that correlated with the numbers in the datasource, during my survey I could ask respondents to provide their code in my datasource question box. If they do not input a code from the datasource list, they will receive an invalid response notification and be unable to continue the survey.
Datasource Invalid Response

2) Hide suggested options: Unchecking the ‘Hide suggested options’ button will allow FluidSurveys to provide suggestions to the respondent as they begin to type their answer. For example, if I asked for the respondent to enter a country name and they began by typing the letter ‘D,’ it would provide every country name on the datasource list that begins with the letter ‘D’ as a suggested choice.
Datasource Pic 3

Some Examples of How to Use the Datasource Question Type

This question type is useful for many reasons. Here are a couple of examples of how real businesses can benefit from the datasource question:

1) Let’s say I owned a video game store that provided a membership card with an identification number. I would probably have a large unwieldy list of these numbers that identify each of my members and their contact info. My next step would be to use these membership identifications in an online survey in order to segment my customers’ answers into different groups, allowing for better targeted promotions and advertising.
To do this, all I would need is to add a datasource question connected to the membership number identification list and uncheck the ‘Allow users to type their own answers’ option. The rest of my survey can then ask questions like: “What genre of video game do you like? (Action)(Puzzle)…” “What consoles do you own? (Xbox)(Nintendo)…”
With my members’ identification plugged right into the survey, it will be easy to create member profiles and target groups who have answered similarly with the same advertisements. Beyond this, when members are added to my datasource, they will automatically be validated in the survey!

2) Imagine I were creating a survey that required my respondents to type in the full name of their favourite co-worker. I do not want to make the question a closed-ended list of names (like a multiple choice or dropdown box) because it may bias the results based on the placement of names and aiding the respondents’ memory recall. Not to mention, a closed-ended question can result in a list of names that is far too large and difficult to navigate through.
Instead I would use a text field. However, a normal text field question will make coding and scoring responses difficult as it will count responses spelt differently as different answers even if they are meant to be the same response. For example, providing a nickname or adding a middle initial (Rick Penwarden, Richard Penwarden, Rick P Penwarden).
By using the datasource question type and unchecking the ‘Hide suggested options’ button, we avoid the issues of both the text-field question and closed-ended question types. Respondents will easily be able to give the name of their co-worker of choice without alternate spelling or seeing a list of total possible answers.

These were just two possible applications to the powerful question type! Tell us how you plan to or are currently making use of the datasource question in the comments below. If you haven’t yet created a FluidSurveys account, visit our pricing page to get started today!

Check it Out in Action!

For a look on how to set up your datasource question in your survey watch the following video, from the ‘Question Type and Settings‘ section of our help tutorials:

Until next time, happy surveying!

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