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Assign pre-defined passwords to participants entering survey

Hi everyone

We are currently conducting a study which requires each participant to be assigned a group condition and password. Previously we have done this by assigning these values to a pre-defined ID and then using the merge fields function (with the ID passed in via hyperlink).  

For this study we cannot use tailored hyperlinks, as participants will be directed to the survey from an external source using a standard link. But, we still need them to have an ID which is associated with a group condition and password.

Is it possible to automatically assign a pre-defined ID number (e.g. within a range 1-5000 or 4999-9999) to participants as they ENTER the survey via a standard link?

Hope someone can help with this one! Thanks in advance.
asked Jun 29, 2016 by Christine Hanley (370 points)
retagged Jun 29, 2016 by Walter Williams

2 Answers

+1 vote
When every respondent has their own unique link, it's easy to assign an ID and a group via merged fields, as you indicated.

If a generic link is to be used, meaning every respondent comes in using the same link, you are suddenly stuck with assigning an ID or group to the respondent.

Do any of these solutions assist you?

1/ Have you considered pass-in fields rather than merged fields? Define your pass-in fields under the KEY button and include the pass-in field data via the link. You can define your ID and group in each link. Look up pass-in fields in the Sawtooth Software HELP.

2/ Use multiple generic links which may assist with identifying the group? if you know which respondents belong to which groups, maybe you can send them the respective generic link? If you have 5 groups, setup 5 generic links.

3/ Can you ask them the group  in a select question? I don't know your study well enough but is this an option? Will the respondent know which group they belong to?

Does this help?
answered Jun 29, 2016 by Paul Moon Platinum (81,475 points)
Thanks Paul. I don't think we can rely on pass-in fields, as we can't use tailored hyperlinks to pass this info into the survey. We can only use a single generic link for every respondent (possibly up to 5000 unique participants).

Do you know if it's possible to "lookup" a pre-defined unique ID and use this ID for logins in real time? I could pre-load all the IDs (which have passwords and conditions already assigned), but how do I dynamically pass this into the survey? Would there be java scripting for this?
Should have also mentioned - respondents won't know their group as it is a randomised control trial.
If you can't pass the ID and group within the link, that removes the pass-in fields and merged fields options.

May I ask why each respondent must use the same generic link as this prevents the assigning of the pass-in fields?

Is there something you can ask the respondent within the survey that will enable you to assign the pass-in fields?
Thanks Paul. It is uncertain whether the external agency will be willing to send unique hyperlinks - they may prefer a quick and easy generic approach. Therefore we are looking for a solution to dynamically assign pre-defined IDs at the login page (which have group and password assigned using merged fields). It seems like something that should be possible, but maybe I'm wrong on that?
Can't you generate unique links for every respondent and pass them on to the external agency? We have done that before?
Yes we could, but we were hoping that we could avoid this and allow the external party to just send one bulk generic communication. Maybe not possible for what we need...
Have a chat to Sawtooth Software directly at support@sawtoothsoftware.com .

You can make your links look the same in an email campaign but where they direct to needs to be unique for all necessary fields to be allocated correctly.

Let me know how you go. Regards.
Thanks Paul, will do!
0 votes
Hi Hanley,

There is a way out for this. However, you need to make use of external mysql database.

Prepared a small demo for you:


Below is the method to do this:

Upload all ids in a database table with two fields - value and status. Default status of all ids will be 0.

Survey will start with a generic link, go to database table, will search for 1st id with status 0, allocate that id to respondent and change the status to 1. Further, survey will be redirected to a survey with that embedded survey

This can be done using simple perl coding in free format.

Now second respondent will come with a generic link, it will find status of first id as 1, search for ids with status 0, will be allocated second id and further change its status as 1 .

This way, you can use generic link to launch the survey and still allocate the id to each survey.

I hope you find this useful.

answered Jun 29, 2016 by Saurabh Aggarwal Gold (33,400 points)
Thanks Saurabh. I've never had to use this technique but a neat idea just the same.

Much appreciated and I'm sure Hanley will find it useful.
Thanks Saurabh - we will look into this!
Just one comment: I think Hanley will still have an issue with the allocation of the group? Whilst the next available PW / ID is neatly passed on to the respondent via the status=1 field, we still don't know which group they belong via this method. Worth thinking about.
We can add a field "group" in mysql table and pass link as http://surveylink.in/project/pwdalloc/index.php?group=1 or 2 or 3 or 4

Here the password allocated to respondent will be as per group
If the link is going to be only one generic link, that won't suffice.

If using multiple generic links is allowed for each of the groups, that should be okay.

We also need to be sure the respondents are receiving the correct generic link, as I mentioned earlier.