What to do if you need to change the survey structure after activation?

While a survey is active, it is not possible to add or remove questions or answers, or to change the type of the question. However, it is still possible to:

  • Modify the text of a question (for example to correct typos or whatever). You cannot add new languages once your survey has been activated.
  • Modify the attributes of a question (for example to include it in the public statistics, insist on a particular number of answers for a multiple options question or whatever).

If you are just testing your survey, you can just deactivate your survey when you are ready to make changes -- but you do not want to do this with a live survey, since deactivating deletes participant and response data. 

To make more complicated changes, you need to use the import/export facilities described below:

There is a workaround -- before you do the following, note that you'll be deactivating your survey -- so you're deleting all your responses and all your participant data. The procedure will let you recover your response data. If you have participant data, you'll want to export them, along with all token data, etc. 

We strongly recommend you have one of our survey gurus take care of this procedure for you. If you mess things up, all we can do is recover a backup of your data from sometime within a 2 to 4 hour window. There will be a fee to restore a backup of your account. 

Here's the procedure: 

  1. Set an expiry date on your survey for a time just prior to the current time -- if you have a very active survey, you don't want new responses to be added to the survey at any time after step 2.
  2. Backup your survey by exporting via the Survey Summary page (Display / Export -> Survey archive (.lsa) -- this way if you really mess up, you can delete your survey and re-create it from the backup.
  3. Go to your Responses, and select Export->VV-Export -- place this file somewhere safe as it contains your survey responses in a special markup format.
  4. Export any participants you have
  5. Deactivate your survey
  6. Add new questions to your survey, or delete questions/answers from your survey
  7. Activate the survey again
  8. Go to Responses->Import->VV-Import and import your VV file from step 1
  9. Import your participants list
  10. Test your survey to make sure everything works as you expect
  11. Keep your backup from step 2 above -- just in case.
WARNING: Never change question or answer/response codes when you use the above method to edit your survey structure. The system uses these values to map response data back to each question & answer when you import your file in step 8. If during import the system doesn't find a matching question or response code, that imported data will be skipped and will not be restored to your survey.


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