<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >It’s All Conditional: Using Logic for Better Surveys</span>

It’s All Conditional: Using Logic for Better Surveys

The path between you and the survey data you need will rarely be a straight line. Instead, a well-designed survey can take many twists and turns, bypassing some questions and pages based on survey responses. In fact, your survey may seem more like a computer program than a straightforward list of questions. 

Survey logic lets you change your content, behavior, and flow based on the answers a respondent provides. Advanced survey logic might consider many other variables, such as quotas and location. These changes should be invisible to the survey taker, but require care, thought, and planning in the design stages. 

Understanding Survey Logic 

Survey logic lets you change your survey’s content, behavior, and flow. These changes should be invisible to the survey taker, but require planning and thought on your end. 

To become adept at using survey logic, you need to know when to use survey logic and how to use survey logic. The harder skill might be knowing when to use survey logic, because it requires a deep understanding of best practices, audience expectations, and your survey goals. Many of these dimensions can be subjective. Knowing how to use survey logic requires an understanding of survey programming – in this area, you can benefit from working with an experienced programmer or survey director. 

When to Use Survey Logic 

Use survey logic any time a question or page needs to be shown conditionally, not to all survey takers. This will happen most often when you need to confirm that a respondent has the experience and qualifications to answer certain questions. 

Consider these examples: 

Type of information needed 


Pet food expenditures 

Does the respondent have a pet? 

Small business hiring plans 

Does the business earn less than $40 million in annual revenue and fewer than 200 employees? (Or, more broadly, does the company meet your definition of a small business?) 

Size of carbon footprint  

Does the company measure its carbon footprint? 

Awareness of commercial bank offerings in the United Kingdom 

Does the respondent do business in the United Kingdom and require commercial banking services? 


How to Use Survey Logic 

While every platform is different, the approach to survey logic programming is similar. In some cases, it can be as simple as selecting the question or group of questions to which you want to apply logic and then setting the conditions for when the question is shown. 

In some cases, applying survey logic might not be that simple. The complexity level will rise as more conditions are needed to determine which questions are displayed. As mentioned above, a programmer or survey director can help in these situations. 

Why Survey Logic Matters 

A long survey with irrelevant questions can hurt your ability to collect accurate and usable data. Here is why: 

  • Respondents may become disinterested if they feel the survey is too long or the questions don’t pertain to them. Survey fatigue may lead to people abandoning the survey, or rushing through it to reach the end. 
  • Failing to qualify respondents before asking them certain questions adds meaningless information to your data set. This noise may hinder your ability to gain insights from the survey responses. Data cleansing can help remove this extraneous information, but not collecting it in the first place is more effective and less burdensome. 

To find out how logic fits into the big picture of survey success, download the Consultant's Guide to Due Diligence Surveys.