QPL Reference Manual

Warning! This page is in the process of being rewritten for QPL Version 6. It may still have references to QPL Version 5.

Check-all-that-apply questions allow the interviewer to select more than one response from a list of answers, or to select none of the answers. While they are programmed similar to multiple choice questions, they are different because multiple choice questions only allow one answer to be selected.

Usage

.QUESTION = variable name, TYPE = CHECK
.SUBTITLE = "phrase"
format tag   ...
   ...
   ...
.ANSWER = variable name
   ...
.GOTO = variable name
   ...
answer line format tag   ...
.NEXT = variable name

Commands and arguments in bold type are required. The other commands are not required, but may be used to modify how the question works. Lowercase words indicate the type of argument a command requires and ellipses show where text lines should be typed.

TYPE Command

The TYPE command must be set to "CHECK."

Standard Question Layout

By default, check-all-that-apply questions will be presented in a vertical layout with each answer listed on a separate row with a leading radio button.

You may optionally use format tag to tell the QPL converter to display the question in a horizontal format. Here, the question text is displayed in the column on the left and the answers are used as column headings. Further, you may stack several questions together to create a "matrix" where the radio buttons are inserted in the intersection between the question text and the column headings. Format tags, however, can not be used to hide CHECK questions. See Modifying the Standard Question Layout for more information.

ANSWER Command

The ANSWER command is required and is used to separate the question text from the list of responses. You may also use it to copy an answer list from a previous question. No items are checked by default.

Copying the answer lists can save programming time and computer memory because the answer list needs to be written only once. If changes need in the list need to be made while you are developing your questionnaire, only the original list needs to be edited. The changes will be copied to the other questions automatically.

.QUESTION = Q1, TYPE = CHECK
What are your favorite colors?
.ANSWER
Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue
Indigo
Violet
.NEXT

.QUESTION = Q2, TYPE = CHECK
What are your mother's favorite colors?
.ANSWER = Q1
.NEXT

In the above example, question Q2 will use the same answer list as question Q1 since its ANSWER command is set to "Q2." These questions will be displayed in your browser as shown below.

1.
Q1
What are your favorite colors?
(CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
1. Red
2. Orange
3. Yellow
4. Green
5. Blue
6. Indigo
7. Violet

2.
Q2
What are your mother's favorite colors?
(CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
1. Red
2. Orange
3. Yellow
4. Green
5. Blue
6. Indigo
7. Violet

Answer Lines

At least one answer line is required. There is no limit on the number of answer lines you may use, but each answer must be typed on a separate line and be less than 240 characters long.

You may specially highlight an answer line by putting the exclamation mark (!) format tag at the beginning of the answer line. This will cause that answer to be displayed with a grey background.

.QUESTION = Q1, TYPE = CHECK
What are your favorite colors?
.ANSWER
Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue
Indigo
Violet
!Don't know
.NEXT

1. What are your favorite colors?
(CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
1. Red
2. Orange
3. Yellow
4. Green
5. Blue
6. Indigo
7. Violet
8. Don't know

When used in a matrix layout, exclamation mark (!) format tag will cause the column for that answer to be shaded with a grey background. See Modifying the Standard Question Layout for more information.

You may also embed HTML codes within an answer line to emphasize words with bold, underlined, or italicized type or to contol line breaks. See Low-Level Formatting for more information.

Skip Instructions

Check-all-that-apply questions can be used to direct respondents into particular lines of questions using the GOTO and NEXT commands. For example, if a respondent said that they had an "Other" response, you could use the GOTO command to skip to a question where it could be described.

.QUESTION = Q1, TYPE = CHECK
What are your favorite colors?
.ANSWER
Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue
Indigo
Violet
Other
.GOTO = Q2
.NEXT = Q3

.QUESTION = Q2, TYPE = STRING
What is your other favorite color?
.ANSWER = 10
.NEXT

In this example, a GOTO command has been linked to the response called "Other." If the respondent, clicks on the Other link, the browser will automatically check the Other response before skipping to the target question. If the respondent clicks on the NEXT command link to question Q3, the browser will skip to that target question unless any answers with GOTO links have been checked. If so, the browser will display an error message to the user suggesting that they click on the GOTO link instead of the NEXT link.

1.
Q1
What are your favorite colors?
(CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
1. Red
2. Orange
3. Yellow
4. Green
5. Blue
6. Indigo
7. Violet
8. Other (GO TO QUESTION 2.)
SKIP TO QUESTION 3.

2.
Q2
What is your other favorite color?
 

Using more than one GOTO command with a check-all-that-apply question is difficult since, unlike multiple choice questions, more than one answer may be checked.

The respondent is not forced, however, to go to the question specified by the skip instructions. He or she may still scroll and click on any response field he or she chooses. When analyzing your results, you should first check the skip paths (i.e., such as recoding all questions that are off the skip path to a missing value in SAS or SPSS). (Note: The skip paths are only enforced in one circumstance. If your questionnaire is contained on only one page and the respondent is using Microsoft Internet Explorer, then the response fields that are off the skip path will be disabled. The skip path is updated after the respondent completes each answer.)

You should not use GOTO commands in a check-all-that-apply question if you will be using it in a matrix layout (since there is no room in the matrix to display the link). Any GOTO commands used this way will be ignored by the QPL convert that builds the HTML or PHP versions or your questionnaire.

Changing GO TO QUESTION...

If the target question is not numbered (i.e., you have used the "#" option), The "GO TO QUESTION..." phrase will automatically change to "GO TO SECTION:..." and insert the SUBTITLE that used used on the unnumbered target question. The SUBTITLE on the target question is used as a heading for that section in the questionnaire and is also used in the menu that is displayed in a frame to the left of the questionnaire that lets a respondent navigate from one section to another.

If the target question is not numbered and it does not have a SUBTITLE, then this phrase will automatically be changed to "GO HERE."

You can change the text used in these default phrases by assigning new phrases to their internal phrase numbers. See Changing Default Phrases for more information.

NEXT Command

The NEXT command is required to end a question. It may also be used to insert a link to another question if you do not want the respondent to go to the next question in the list. (See also Changing SKIP TO QUESTION label.)

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