When to use this element:

When you ask an open question, the respondent answers in their own words. There are three main uses for this element:

  • Asking a question that you want the respondent to answer in their own words.
  • Asking the respondent for their contact details (e.g. an email address). 
  • If you have included 'Other' as an option in a multiple choice question and want the respondent to be able to specify what they mean.

When to ask open questions?

Open questions allow the respondent to answer freely. If you want information on a very specific topic or for the respondent to choose between different options, an open question might not be the best way to do it. Open questions —especially if they are not very clearly defined— often attract answers in which the respondent has interpreted the question differently from the intended meaning. This can lead to you receiving a lot of material that is irrelevant to the question you are asking. It is therefore advisable to use this element sparingly. 

How to use this element:

  1. Add the element to your questionnaire. Its settings are divided into three tabs: Basic, Extra and Dataname. Pictured below are the Basic settings, where you can edit:

    • Question label: Write the question here.
    • Placeholder text: Displayed in the text field where the respondent writes their answer. The text will disappear once they start typing. It can help the respondents to understand what types of answers the questionnaire producers are looking for.
    • Validate email address: This setting is only for when you are asking for contact details.


  2. Under the Extra settings tab you can:
    • Change the size of the text box in which the respondent writes their answer.
    • You can also set a maximum length for the answer and...
    • Make the question mandatory to answer.
  3. Under the Dataname tab you can alter the data name that will be used for this question in the final results Excel sheet. Before doing so, please familiarize yourself with the ground rules for data names and option identifiers.

What's the response data going to be like? 

Responses to open questions are shown as a list in the results Excel, and as word clouds in the analysis tool.

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