Matching Question Type to Data Collection Need

  • June 27, 2024

At first, it seems easy enough to select the type of field or question to the information you need to collect from an applicant. Name, campus address, email are pretty straightforward. But when you start setting up questions to collect more complex data, the type of field starts to really make a difference.

The key is to select the field or question type that minimizes the possibility of data inaccuracy, provides complete information and makes reporting easier.

Open-ended questions

When you want to ask an open-ended question with no predetermined answers, text fields are your best option. Choose from Text Field, Text Area and Rich Text Field based on how much text you want your applicants to provide.

  • Text Field, a single-line input to gather concise data, e.g. numbers, dates, etc. To help collect correct and consistent data, consider adding validation to a Text Field, such as email address, date, or number, to force applicants to enter data in a specific format.
  • Text Area which allows respondents to provide longer, more detailed responses.
  • Rich Text Field allows for longer responses and lets applicants apply styling like bullet points, bold text, images and links.

Pre-determined responses

There are many field types to choose from when you want applicants select from already determined options, such as major, program, or department. Using these field types makes reporting a breeze as responses are already standardized.

  • Multiple choice lets applicants select one answer from a (short) set of options.
  • A drop-down menu allows applicants to select a single answer from a long list of choices.
  • Checkbox displays a set of clickable checkboxes from which applicants can select one or multiple checkboxes as their answer.
  • True/False (or Yes/No) question asks respondents to select between two options. This field type is often used to set up branching or conditional logic to collect only necessary information.

Subjective information

When you want to get feedback on options or have applicants provide input on a topic, choose rating and ranking questions. These also standardize data for later reviewing and reporting.

  • A Rating Scale field type asks respondents to evaluate one item on a predefined scale. The scale can display a range of numbers, graphic symbols (stars, emojis), or descriptive terms that represent different degrees of agreement, satisfaction, or other subjective measures. Rating Scales are good for feedback on satisfaction with a process, for example.
  • Single choice matrix questions combine multiple questions with identical answers. They are useful when you need to ask respondents to rate statements on the same scale. For example, rate 5 aspects of customer service on the same scale.

Reduce the number of forms needed

  • Use conditional logic (or branched) to provide applicants with a single form that becomes customized to them based on their responses. For example, show different major options to an applicant based on the school they are in. Conditional logic is a powerful way to simplify and personalize the user experience.

InfoReady’s Form Designer provides a robust set of fields and question types to give you the most flexibility to collect precisely the information you need to make the best decisions efficiently. It’s also packed with InfoReady’s custom shortcuts built to make common data collection needs a breeze to set up. Learn more about InfoReady’s Form Designer capabilities in our Support Portal.


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