This introduction appeals to both beginners and experts designing a survey for the first time using the DCA Survey website. It provides a brief conceptual overview of the survey design tool covering the following topics:
At the highest level of survey design, you will need to decide if the survey questions will be grouped by Pages. That is to have one or more survey pages with each containing one or more survey questions. If you have survey questions that are logically related to each other, then a survey which uses Pages is a good design choice. For instance, for a health survey, you might have one page of questions which ask a person about their diet, and another page which contains questions concerning their sleep patterns. A Pages survey design is generally preferable for a long survey - one that asks many questions.
Alternatively, you may forego using Pages and instead use an Express design. This page-less design format has all of the survey questions displayed: all at once or one question at a time. As you may gather, the Express design is simpler. It may be a preferable choice for a new survey designer. The Express design also lends itself well to surveys short in length (fewer questions), including polls (a survey containing a single question).
For any survey you design, you may switch between a Page and Express design, and vice versa, at any time. The DCA Survey design tool provides complete flexibility. When creating a new survey, the default setting is: Express.
The diagrams below present a simple schematic of the two high level survey designs. Each colored rectangle contains settings specific to that "parent" rectangle and ones inherited by the inner "child" rectangle(s).
As illustrated above, the survey contains an intuitive hierarchy of design elements (i.e. a Page, a Question). A survey which uses a Page design, may contain one or more pages, which in turn contain one or more questions. What is worth noting is that the child design element may inherit the settings of its parent design element.
This survey configuration inheritance will be of great benefit to you while designing a survey. For example, if you want a survey to require a response for every question, you may indicate such at the Pages level (or Questions level for the Express design). By doing so, you will no longer be prompted with such design option each time you design a question. Of course, instead, you may defer such decision to each individual question.
The survey designer is completely flexible. You may easily switch to using inherited settings or not, and vice versa.
As you are designing a survey, at the very beginning, you will be working from left to right on the top horizontal navigation menu. You will be addressing the highest design details, e.g. "Survey", first, then work your way down to configure the most detailed survey settings, e.g. "Question". In many instances, you may find the default settings provided by each design-level's configuration page to be acceptable.
Last updated: 2012 March 03