Multiple Choice Alternate Responses

Jun 15, 2011

Rational Survey now has added support for alternate responses (also commonly known as “Other” answer choices) for multiple choice questions.

This great feature lets you simplify your surveys by allowing respondents to specify an alternate or “other” response in a free response format if they want to choose an answer that’s not in the available list of answer choices.

That way you don’t need to add any followup questions after your multiple choice asking your participants to respond to a free response question if they didn’t choose or select an answer in the previous question.

Here’s a quick step by step guide on how to take advantage of this great feature:

From the questionnaire builder page, edit an existing multiple choice question or create a new one.


Once  the question dialog opens, enter in your multiple choice question and answer choices.  Then set the “Alternate Response” option to “Y”.  This will open a small text field where you can enter in the label for your alternate response answer choice.  By default, the field is set to “Other: Please Specify”.

Once you’ve configured your survey question.  Click “Save” to add or update your question.

Now when participants access your survey, they will be presented with a list of answer choices along with an alternate response for your multiple choice question.  Also, if they click into the alternate response field, the “Alternate Response” answer choices will be automatically selected.

Now on your survey’s analytics totals page, your multiple choice question with the alternate response will have response data for all the answer choices, including the alternate response one.

Lastly, to view the individual alternate response stats, click “Show Alternate Responses” to bring up the alternate response dialog.  You’ll be able to interact with the response data the same way you would with any other free response question.

As you can see, having the ability to collect optional responses simplifies the survey and gives you a much more flexible way of collecting feedback from your survey participants.

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