Conducting a long-term study that is captivating enough for participants requires some considerations such as offering incentives, designing clear onboarding processes, providing flexible adherence routines to participants, etc., and baseline surveys are strong tools that can help with this.
Some researchers choose to use a baseline survey at the beginning of their study. A baseline survey or questionnaire generally collects helpful information from the participants that will come in handy during the course of the study. It is very important to establish a line of communication between the researcher and participants, as they would feel heard and motivated to cooperate more. Customizing studies based on the responses collected from a baseline survey can help build trust between researchers and participants. Respondents are more willing to continue their contribution to the study when it is more personalized and adjusted to their condition. The more flexibility you show with your study design, the more are the chances of completing a successful remote research project with a high compliance rate.
It is easy to create a baseline survey with Ethica. This baseline survey provides you with information, based on which you can customize the app’s behaviour and increase your research study’s compliance rate. A baseline survey in Ethica appears to participants automatically right after registration.
Imagine you want to conduct an experience sampling study with two sets of surveys, each one appropriate for a specific age group. To do that, you need to create a baseline survey in which you can ask participants about their age so that our research tool knows which survey to show them. Here is one way to go about it:
1-Create a Baseline Survey
To create a baseline survey, go to the Researcher Dashboard and choose Activities from the left-side panel. Next, click on New Activity and add a Survey. We simply name it Baseline Survey here. Once you’re done adding a name and description to your survey, the research tool will redirect you to the Survey Editor page.
2-Modify the Questions
The first section which appears by default is the Content section. You can choose different question types from the New Item section in the right-side panel and add as many questions as you like.
While editing a question, click on Properties from the right-side panel and turn on the Mandatory toggle. This would mean that participants have to answer this question before moving on with the rest of the survey. All questions should be set to Mandatory in the Baseline Survey.
In this example, the last question in your baseline survey can be a Single Answer question that goes like this:
“How old are you?”
Next, modify the answers as:
“18-55” and “56-90”
Remember the Question ID and Answer IDs for later use.
3-Add a Triggering Logic
Now you need to add a Triggering Logic (TL for short) to your survey from the top panel of the Survey Editor page. Add a Time TL from the bottom menu, and delete the existing default User TL provided by the app.
In order to schedule the survey to prompt participants only and immediately at the beginning of the study, you need to set the Time TL’s Criteria. In this example, the Survey ID is 12061, the last Question ID is 7, and the Answer IDs are 1 and 2. So the criteria syntax would look like this:
NOT (Q12061_7 == 1 OR Q12061_7 == 2)
This means that as long as a participant’s answer to Question ID 7 is not Answer ID 1 or 2, the survey will be prompted. After that, the Baseline Survey will not be prompted but stays on the study’s homepage in the Participants Dashboard.
Modify the rest of the Time TL’s settings like the picture below:
Now it’s time to add a notification so that participants receive an alert when the survey is prompted. Click on Notifications from the top panel of the Survey Editor. By selecting Add a Notification, a new dialog box opens in which you can tweak the time and type of your survey’s reminders.
In this example, you can add an In-App notification that is activated immediately after the Baseline Survey is prompted. Your modifications should look like this:
5-Save & Publish Your Modifications
You can click on Save from the top panel of the Survey Editor page to edit and publish the survey later. Or Publish your survey then and there by clicking on Preview & Publish.
6-Modify the Experience Sampling Surveys
Now it’s time to add your age-specific surveys. Let’s call them Survey 1 and Survey 2 here. You want Survey 1 to only appear for participants aged 18 and 55, while Survey 2 should only be prompted to participants aged between 56 and 90.
After creating Survey 1, go to the Triggering Logic section, and add the necessary TL.
In the TL dialog box, type the following syntax in the Criteria section:
Q12061_7 == 1
Follow the same instructions for Survey 2, but type in different syntax, as follows:
Q12061_7 == 2
With a baseline survey designed according to your study’s needs and the modifications made to the experience sampling survey, only the necessary activities will be prompted to participants. This means that they would only have to participate in that section of the study concerned with them and not be bothered with irrelevant questions.
A baseline survey could also be used to learn more about participants’ personal preferences, such as when to receive a notification from the app (more on that here). As a result, using a baseline survey is one of the best practices to make sure your study achieves a high compliance rate.