Self-reported data, whether as surveys or ecological momentary assessments (EMAs for short), is the cornerstone of almost all research studies involving human behavior, and hence it's an important component in Ethica platform. Each study in Ethica can have zero or more surveys of different types, asking different questions under different conditions.
A survey can be used for different purposes during the course of a study. Depending on the purpose of the survey, you need to choose a specific survey type while creating the survey:
- Eligibility Survey determines whether participants are eligible to join a study or not.
- Baseline Survey is asked only once after the participant joins the study and is ideal for asking questions such as demographic information.
- Exit Survey captures the reasons participants decide to drop out of the study.
- Generic Surveys can be prompted anytime during the participation period and collect participant's responses.
While the purpose of Eligibility Survey, Baseline Survey, and Exit Survey defines the time and conditions under which they should be prompted, Generic Surveys can be triggered in different ways, specified by their Trigger Type. For example, they can be triggered by participants by pressing the related button on the app (User Triggered), or they can be triggered based on a specific time schedule (Scheduled Trigger), or they can be triggered based on a complex logic programmed to leverage data from other sources (Advanced Trigger). In this section, we explain how to define a survey for a study and what options are available for each type of survey.
A survey also has a set of questions (referred to as the question set) which contains one or more pages of questions.
At the moment Ethica is only capable of presenting the surveys to participants through Android and iOS smartphones. Surveys cannot be presented via the web.
Surveys in Ethica are defined using a JSON document. The document describes the triggering logic for the survey, its questions, the skip patterns and loops, and any other related attributes. A valid survey JSON file is required to meet the specification defined in the Ethica Survey Schema. Using JSON file to modify the survey offers a fast method to make changes to the content of the survey. It also allows creating different versions of a given survey, which can be very valuable for longitudinal studies.
Additionally, you can use Ethica Survey Editor to create surveys. Survey Editor offers a graphical user-interface to create surveys, add questions, define triggering logic, and any other necessary tasks. Behind the scenes, the Survey Editor generates a JSON file, which you can download and edit via a text editor. Additionally, the Survey Editor allows you to upload your JSON files, and continue editing them on the site.