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Question And Answer Piping: Why It’s Essential For Your Next SMS Survey

By Elyse Desmarais on October 7, 2015


Question and Answer Piping is a feature we often promote and talk about here at Instant Census. Not only does it make building SMS surveys faster and easier, it creates a more clean and personalized experience for your respondents. But for those of you who are unfamiliar with question and answer piping and why it’s so handy, we’re here to help.

By definition, Question and Answer Piping is used in multi-question surveys to quote a respondent’s answer from an earlier question in a later question. For example, say you are a Market Researcher working for ice cream manufacturer, Wicked Good Ice Cream. You’re using Instant Census to run an SMS survey to find out what new flavor your current and potential customers would most likely try and what other ice cream brand they’ve purchased that currently offers that flavor.

Your first question might be:

What new flavor of Wicked Good Ice Cream would you most likely purchase?

1. Rocky Road

2. Black Raspberry

3. Peanut Butter Cup

When moving on to your second question, you’d want reference your respondent’s first answer. You might say something like:

What brand of [[Q1Answer]] ice cream do you currently purchase?_

1. Breyers

2. Haagen Dazs

3. Ben & Jerry’s

By placing “[[Q1_Answer]]” into the question, Instant Census’ survey builder will pull the respondent’s answer to Question 1 and pipe it into the second question. If the respondent answered “Black Raspberry,” the question would read: “What brand of Black Raspberry ice cream do you currently purchase?”

Following these responses, your next question will mostly likely incorporate these two answers. You may ask:

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being awful, 10 being delicious), how would you rate [[Q2Answer]] [[Q1Answer]] ice cream?

Depending on your respondent’s answers, this question may read something like: “On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being awful, 10 being delicious), how would you rate Haagen Daz Black Raspberry ice cream?”

Benefits of Question and Answer Piping

Now that we’ve outlined what question and answer piping is and how to properly utilize it in your next text message survey, it’s important to understand the benefits this feature creates. Not only does question and answer piping make a more personalized survey experience for your respondents, it can positively affect the data you collect. Here are a few reasons to consider:

  • By piping previous answers into questions, there will be fewer “not applicable” responses from respondents.

  • Designing your survey will be quicker and easier as each question will relate to previous responses.

  • Organizing your data becomes easier by grouping responses in sets that follow the attributes you used in piping.

Have more questions about Instant Census’ question and answer piping? Interested to know how our automated text message surveys can improve your next research study? Contact us for more information… .

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