Your survey is just "one click" away for respondents if you email them a link. The link includes the address for your survey and optionally "passes along" information about passwords or other identifying (passed-in) information. Most email programs automatically interpret http:// as a link.
We suggest you use one of the many bulk* email packages available on the market. These permit you to automatically process hundreds or thousands of email messages at a time. When the respondent receives the email, they do not have access to the email addresses of other respondents; they only have the return path email address to your account that sent the message. An automatic bulk email package can also import customized text strings from a database into the email message. Those text strings might include the respondent's user name and/or password generated by Lighthouse Studio's Password Program/Generator.
(*Check applicable laws and regulations dealing with bulk email.)
If you type the following into an email message, it becomes a clickable link (underlined clickable text string, that sends respondents automatically to a web page):
The link sends the respondent to the survey login page. The respondent sees the login page (page 1) and enters a password (if required) to continue.
Link with Passwords
You might want to use a link that automatically logs respondents into the survey. When respondents click such a link to start the survey, they skip the Start page (page 1). Here is an example of a link that will automatically log in a respondent and take them to the second page of the survey:
In the example above the survey name is "s1". Also "username" and "password" fields have been setup and the values "michael" and "A6Z99" are being passed into them.
You can also pass additional variables into the data set, as long as those are defined as Pass-in Fields within the Questionnaire Access and Passwords dialog. For example, if we define a Pass-in Field called panelid, we can specify this directly following any password information, as below:
When respondents start the survey by clicking the link, if the passwords are valid (and the quota is not complete), the respondent is sent to the page following the password screen. If the respondent is restarting an interview, the page where he/she left off is displayed. Any passed in information is stored in the database, as if it were any other question in the survey.
If you want to restart a questionnaire and skip to ("link to") a specific question name, you can do so by including a "sys_skipto" variable within the link (note: only works for restarts). For example:
The link above restarts the s1 survey and skips respondents directly to Q11.
The most common use for this functionality is for linking multiple surveys (such as multiple conjoint modules) while still maintaining quota control. For example, consider the following study design:
Study1 (general-type survey)
•Study2 (CBC survey #1)
•Study3 (CBC survey #2)
All respondents start in Study1 and complete Q1-Q10. After Q10, respondents receive either Study2 or Study3, depending on answers within Study1. After completing the CBC section, respondents return to Study1 to complete the survey (Q11-Q20) and be counted toward the quotas that are maintained in Study1.
To do this, a skip pattern is inserted within Study1 that skips respondents from Q10 to one of two Terminate questions placed in Study1. The Terminate questions mark respondents as incomplete and link them to either Study2 or Study3. Then, at the end of Study2 and Study3, Terminate questions link respondents back to Study1, with sys_skipto=Q11 placed within the URL. Respondents finish Q11-Q20 and reach a Terminate question in Study1 that marks respondents as complete.
Note: if restarting a survey and skipping forward within the questionnaire, make sure not to set passthrough variables to new values. If a passthrough variable has already been stored and is later resubmitted as a different value, the original value is maintained.
If the text string for the URL and passwords becomes very long, your email package may automatically "wrap" the text in the middle of the link by inserting a hard return. This disables the link and it will no longer work. Some email packages by default wrap after 80 characters. Some email packages let you control how many characters are displayed before automatic wrapping occurs. For example, if using Microsoft's Outlook Express, select Tools | Options | Send and under the Mail Sending Format click the Settings... button. There is a field to specify "Automatically wrap text at ___? characters, when sending".
Make sure to test that the link works properly by sending test messages to yourself and other individuals (preferably outside your company's own internal email system) prior to emailing invitations to respondents.
Sending email in HTML format will decrease the chance of links wrapping incorrectly and becoming broken.