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Question types (XLSForm)

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This article discusses and shows you the different options of developing questions in XLSForm. This is the human-friendly way to write questionnaires in the OpenData Kit (ODK) format, that you can use for Kobotoolbox, ODK Central, Ona, SurveyCTO, CommCare or other applications. If this seems too complicated, Kobotoolbox has a visual form developer called KoboForms and you can check out how you can develop questions in it, here.

1. select_one 

Multiple choice question; only one answer can be selected.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as select_one [variable] in column A.

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C).

Step 3: On the choices worksheet, input the answer options

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey form as:

b. select_one [variable] or_other

The ‘other’ option can be set automatically, and it will be included on the survey form.

To do this,

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input the question type as select_one [variable] or_other (column A)

Step 2: Type out a suitable name (column B)and label (column C)

Step 3: On the choices worksheet, input the desired choices.

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

*Note: Remember to include ‘other’ as an answer option in the choices worksheet

Question preview on the survey form, when the ‘other’ option is selected.

2. select_multiple 

Multiple choice question; multiple answers can be selected.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as select_multiple [variable] (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Step 3: On the choices worksheet, input the answer options

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question appears on the form as:

b. select_multiple [variable] or_other

The ‘other’ option can be set automatically, and it will be included on the survey form.

To do this,

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input the question type as select_multiple [variable] or_other (column A)

Step 2: Type out a suitable name (column B)and label (column C)

Step 3: On the choices worksheet, input the desired choices.

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

*Note: Remember to include ‘other’ as an answer option in the choices worksheet

Question preview on the survey form, when the ‘other’ option is selected.

3. text

Free text response e.g., name

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as text (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey form as:

4. integer

Integer (i.e., whole number) input.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as integer (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question appears on the survey form as:

5. decimal

Decimal input.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as decimal (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as

6. date

Date input.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as date (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question appears on the survey as:

7. Time

Time input.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as time (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as

8. dateTime

Accepts a date and time input.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as dateTime (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column  B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

9. geopoint

Collect a single GPS coordinate.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as geopoint (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

10. image

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as image (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

11. audio

Take an audio recording.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as audio (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

b. audio recording quality

A value for quality in the parameters column can be included to configure audio recording quality for question types audio or background-audio. Both question types accept  audio quality values, voice-only, low and normal in the parameters column.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as audio (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Step 3: Create a parameters column and input a suitable parameter (column D)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question will appear on the survey as:

12. video

Take a video recording.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as video (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

13. note

Display a note on the screen, takes no input.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as note (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The note would appear on the survey as:

14. barcode

Scan a barcode/QR Code; requires the barcode scanner app to be installed.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as barcode (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

15. acknowledge

Acknowledge prompt that sets value to “OK” if selected.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as acknowledge (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

16. range

Range input (including rating)

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, create a parameters column, then input your question type as range (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Step 3: In the parameters (column D), include values for start, end and step.

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

Note: step indicates the interval between one range value and the next. In the above example, the step=1 indicates that the interval between one range value and the next is 1.

The question would appear on the survey form as:

17. calculate

Perform a calculation. Calculate questions are not displayed on the survey form, but they are executed automatically as your form is being answered

For instance: To calculate the total number of children in a survey, you would need to add the number of boys and the number of girls.

Step 1: Create a calculation column (column D) in the survey worksheet

Step 2: Create a calculate question type (column A), with variable name as total_children (column B)

Step 3: Insert the formula ${boys}+${girls} in the calculation column D

The calculate question type will add the 2 prior questions with variable names boys and girls respectively.

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

18. file

Upload a file (txt, pdf, xls, xlsx, doc, docx, rtf, zip)

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as file (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question appears on the survey as

19. hidden

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as hidden (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

Note: Hidden questions are not displayed on the survey form.

20. geotrace and geoshape

To collect a line or shape of GPS coordinates, you can use one of the following; geotrace and geoshape.

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as geotrace (column A)

Step 2: Still on the survey worksheet, input your question type as geoshape (column A)

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

To use geotrace on the data collection device (e.g., a phone or a tablet):

  1. Ensure that you have installed the ODK collect/Kobo collect app on your device
  2. Download the deployed form to your device, then retrieve your survey form (in this case, the survey form is called ‘Geotrace & Geoshape’
  3. The geotrace question in the example above is labelled ‘pipeline’. Follow the instructions given; in this case, one is required to walk along the pipeline and record the coordinates of each corner point.
  4. Click on start geotrace
  5. Click on the icon, and a window opens.
  6. select your preferred input method, for instance, manual location recording
  7. Click on to pin your first point
  8. Follow the question instructions e.g., walk along the pipeline and record the coordinates of each corner point.
  9. Click on to pin your second point
  10. If satisfied, click on icon to complete the activity
  11. Click on icon to save your collected points
  12. Click on the next button to proceed to the subsequent question

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

To use geoshape on the data collection device (e.g., a phone or a tablet):

  1. Ensure that you have installed the ODK collect/Kobo collect app on your device
  2. Download the deployed form to your device, then retrieve your survey form (in this case, the survey form is called ‘Geotrace & Geoshape’
  3. The geoshape question in the example below is labelled ‘border’. Follow the question instructions given, in this case, one is required to walk along the border and record the coordinates of each corner point.
  4. Click on start geoshape
  5. Click on the icon, and a window opens.
  6. select your preferred input method, for instance, manual location recording
  7. Click on to pin your first point
  8. Follow the question instructions e.g., walk along the border and record the coordinates of each corner point.
  9. Click on to pin your second point
  10. Click once again on to secure your third point, and other subsequent points till you satisfy the fulfillment of the question
  11. If satisfied, click on icon to complete the activity
  12. Click on icon to save your collected points
  13. Click on the next button to proceed to the subsequent question(s)

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

21. rank

Rank questions; order a list

Step 1: On the survey worksheet, input your question type as rank [variable] in column A

Step 2: Input a suitable variable name (column B), and label (column C)

Step 3: Go to the choices worksheet, and input your choices

Click on the below picture to see the video of how to do it (new tab will open):

The question would appear on the survey as:

 

 

 

 

 

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