How To Make Safe Changes to a Production Survey


Changing and editing a production survey could be risky if you are not doing it right.

This article will give you guidelines to make safe changes in a production survey, without affecting\losing any of the previous collected data.

How To: Making safe changes in production surveys:

Here are our general recommendations when changing a survey that is in production mode:

Safe Changes 

  1. Adding New Questions to the Survey: older interviews won’t have the data for this question but newer ones will.

  2. Adding Answers/Topics to Existing Questions: Use the “Add” button or “MultiAdd” to add new answers. Do not remove the entire old list and put in an entire new list, this is unsafe, read the part about removing answers. You can either add in the single line text box, or in the multi-add text box.

  3. Changing Question Texts: Changing the text of a questions body is safe.
  4. Changing Answer Texts/Topic Texts: As long as you really change the texts (Press F2 when selecting the text) and not “remove and then re-add” the Answer/Topic – see below explanation how to safely remove answers/topics. As you can see, after selecting an Answer and clicking F2, it would be available for text editing.
  5. Enabling/Disabling Quality Control Flags: Adding and/or removing Quality control flags will not change the data that was already collected, and if they were flagged they will keep the flags even after the change was done.
  6. Enabling/Disabling Survey Properties: Enabling or disabling survey properties options should not affect the collected data, please note that some properties might affect the way the data is presented/exported, e.g. Replacing how the topic variable is exporting, Showing the custom data fields in the operations console etc.
Not Safe Changes
  1. Changing a Question type - it is NOT allowed to change a question type in a production survey. Instead create a new question and then put “false” in the entrance rule or mark the question as “Hidden from surveyor = True” in the advanced tab of the question. 
  2. Removing Questions: our recommendation is NOT to remove them but rather put “false” in the entrance rule or mark the question as “Hidden from surveyor = True” in the advanced tab of the question. If you do remove the question the data collected for that question of older interviews will disappear which is a shame so please follow our recommendation.

  3. Removing Answers/Topics: our recommendation is NOT to remove them but rather hide these Answers/Topics by using the SetAnswerVisible() or SetTopicVisible()functions in the start script. If you do remove them, older interviews which have data for this Answer/Topic will now have no data. Our recommendation will also make sure that the variable names and codings stay intact.

Please note: Once you make any change to Production Survey you will need to ask your surveyors to sync to the newest version of the survey so they wouldn’t conduct interviews still using an older version of the survey.

In order to verify the version of the survey, you can find it in the Survey Info Tab:

And on the device, you would see it on the survey selection screen:

Please note that should always review your scripts after making changes to a production survey.

That’s it!

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