Much like the Qualification attributes for perceptual questions extend the screening capabilities for your music test, Perceptual Rules are designed to make the survey itself more flexible and adaptable to your specific needs.
You access the rules for a perceptual question by clicking on the Rules button on a specific question's form:
Perceptual Rules button
If there are already rules linked to a perceptual question, you'll see a green check mark displayed to the immediate left of the Rules button, as in the case of the screen shot above.
Because Rules can only be associated with a specific, definable answer to a perceptual question, much like the Qualifications parameters, the Rules button is only available when you are editing Pick List and Yes/No questions.
Rules can only be linked to Pick List and Yes/No Questions!
It's not possible to establish any rules for Verbatim or Numeric perceptual questions, as either of these question types could have an infinite range of answers.
There are three types of rules that you can establish for a perceptual question. Most of the time you may only use one of these rules for a particular question, but you might mix and match rule types for some questions, or even repeat the same rule type (such as an AutoFill), applying it to several subsequent perceptual questions. Here's an overview of the three types of Perceptual Rules:
|•||AutoFill - Based on the respondent's answer to this question, subsequent questions can be auto-answered by ComQuest for you, eliminating the need for the interviewer to ask those questions (or even see them).|
|•||Skip - Based on the respondent's answer to this question, you can skip directly to another question in the survey. While the True/False Fork on Yes/No questions gives you a similar result, this rule is much more flexible.|
|•||Loop - Ask the same question a specified number of times. If you were collecting a respondent's three favorite songs, or a list of three favorite personalities, you could use this rule to repeat the same question three times, without having to use the Lock To feature, or entering the same question three times.|
Much like designing a perceptual survey itself, when using the Rules settings, it is easier if you decide on paper (not merely in your head), how you want the survey, and the questions and rules within the survey to flow. This will eliminate a lot of re-typing on your part later on, if you have the flow, and the rules for each question, already mapped out on paper, before you begin entering this information into ComQuest.
In the example that follows, we are going to ask a series of questions about radio station KBBB.
15 Have you ever listened to KBBB?
(If No: Answer 20, 30 & 40 No, then skip to 50)
20 Have you listened to KBBB this week?
(If Yes: Answer 30 Yes, then skip to 40)
30 Have you listened to KBBB this month?
(If No, Answer 40 No, then skip to 50)
40 Did you play the "Wake Up And Win" contest on KBBB this month?
If you follow along with the way we have designed this, if the person has never listened to KBBB, we don't want to ask them 20 or 30 (whether they listened this week or this month), because they've already told us they've never listened! We can infer from their "No" answer on 15, that if we did ask 20, 30 and 40 (about a contest aired this month on the station), that they would also answer those three questions "No" as well (and probably chastise the interviewer for even asking them, after they just said they've never listened!). So that is where we want to use the AutoFill rule; automatically filling in "No" answers for questions 20, 30 and 40, if the respondent answers "No" to question 15. Finally, after AutoFilling those three questions, we want to Skip to question 50, which presumably would be another series of questions on a totally different topic.
Similarly, review the rules for question 20. If the person tells us they have listened to KBBB in question 15, we then ask them in 20 if they've listened this week. Again, we can infer by a "Yes" answer to this question, that the answer to 30 (listening in the past month), would also be a "Yes", so we want to AutoFill a "Yes" in question 30, if we get a "Yes" in question 20 (if we get a "No" in 20, the interviewer simply proceeds to ask question 30; this is the normal flow of the test, so a special rule is not needed to achieve this result). Also, having AutoFilled 30 with a "Yes" (if we get "Yes" on 20), we then want to skip over asking 30 (it's already been AutoFilled!), and proceed to question 40, asking about the contest.
Now it's time to program this logic into the Rules screen in ComQuest.
After clicking on the Rules button for a perceptual question, you will first see a browse of any existing rules for that question. If you are adding rules for the first time to a question, the browse box will be blank, as pictured below:
Blank Perceptual Rules browse box
In this case, in question 15, we are asking the respondent if they have ever listened to KBBB. This perceptual question is defined as a Yes/No type, so we are able to add rules to it. Click the Insert button to add a new rule:
Adding a new Perceptual Rule
The first variable we have to set is the Priority for this rule. This is the order in which the rules (for this question) will be executed. The order can be important if you have more than one rule for a question, or a mix of more than one type of rule for a question, as you'll soon see. When you add a rule for the first time to a question, the priority will always default to "1", as in the example above.
The next variable to set is step 2 above, the Type of Rule we wish to execute. When you click the drop box arrow, you will see the choices: AutoFill, Skip or Loop. In this example, we want to first set a series of "No" AutoFills (for questions 20, 30 & 40), if we receive a "No" response to whether the respondent has ever listened to KBBB. After selecting AutoFill as our type, the next step (#3) is to define the specific answer we want to intercept (a "No" response to our Yes/No question).
Selecting answer to apply rule to
So for the three rules we are adding to question 15, we want to select "No" in step 3 for each one. If the answer to this question (Have you ever listened to KBBB?) is "No", we want to AutoFill an answer to a subsequent question.
Select the question you wish to AutoFill
Click the drop box on step 4 to select from all the available survey questions. Keep in mind, you will only see Pick List and Yes/No questions listed, as these are the only type of questions that you will be able to specify a unique answer to. In the screen shot above, we have selected question 20 ("Have you listened in the past week?") as our target for AutoFilling. The final step is to now tell ComQuest how you want this question answered. If you refer back to our flow outline earlier, we want to answer questions 20, 30 and 40 "No", if we get a "No" answer on 15. So select "No" in step 5; how you want this question to be answered.
Completed Perceptual Rule form for an AutoFill
After you click OK to save your entry, you will now see it listed in the rules browse box for this question. We can then add similar AutoFill rules, to complete the answers to questions 30 and 40 in the same manner; answering them "No" if the answer to question 15 is "No". Here is our browse with the three AutoFill rules for question 15 now added:
AutoFill Perceptual Rules for question 15
Reading across the first row in the browse, you can see that our first priority is if we get an answer of "No", to then AutoFill question 20 with a "No" answer. Essentially the same thing is happening on the second and third rows, with AutoFills for questions 30 and 40.
The last thing we need to do in establishing the rules for question 15 is add our Skip. Remember, if the person has never listened to KBBB, we not only want to infer (AutoFill) "No" answers to the other listening questions, but we then want to skip those questions, and next ask them question 50. So this time, click Insert to add a 4th priority rule, but this time select Skip as the rule type:
Adding a Skip Perceptual Rule
Notice that when we select Skip as our rule type, we still have to select a specific answer we want to intercept on this question ("Have you ever listened..."), and again it is the "No" answer we want to apply this rule to. The final choice on the Skip rule screen is to tell ComQuest which question to skip to. Referring to our outline, it is question 50, in this case a series of questions that begins asking about listening to another radio station, KCCC. (Note there is no step 5 when designing a Skip question; as we are not AutoFilling an answer to a subsequent question, there is no need to select an answer for the question you have selected in step 4).
AutoFill and Skip rules completed for question 15
A Skip rule must always be the last rule in your list!
Notice that we added all our AutoFill rules (priorities 1 through 3) first, and then added a Skip as our final rule. There is a very good reason for this; once a Skip rule has executed, ComQuest is finished with this question, and has moved on to the question to which you requested it skip to! If you had programmed any additional AutoFill rules after the Skip, they would not be executed, because we have now skipped to another question in the survey, and are finished processing the previous question!
If you already have a Skip rule for a question, and you wish to add one or more AutoFills, you will have to reorder (renumber) the priority of your Skip rule, so that it is last. If you think you might want to add some AutoFills later, and you already have a Skip rule for a question, you can avoid the issue of reordering the priorities, by simply making the priority for the Skip rule 10 or 20, or something that is sure to be higher than the number of rules you would ever have associated with a particular question.
You can change the priority of a rule by simply selecting it (so it is highlighted with the blue bar), and then clicking the up or down arrow, to either raise or lower its priority order:
Change Priority buttons
The True/False fork settings in Yes/No questions have precedence over Rules!
That means, if you are using either the True Fork or False Fork setting in a Yes/No question to jump to a different question, this setting will be observed, even if you have different Skip rules programmed for the responses to this question.
Similarly, if you are using the Terminate If Not Qualified setting in the Qualifications parameters for a question, that rule will take precedence over any Skip or AutoFill rules you may also have associated with that question. If you are using AutoFills for a question that also uses Terminate If Not Qualified (and the respondent's answer to this question will cause them to end the perceptual survey), any AutoFill(s) you may have programmed will not be executed (even if they meet the criteria you have specified).
Keep in mind, each question can have its own rules. Many questions may not have any. Each question's rules are specifically linked to specific answers to that question, and only to that question. And of course, even if you have the same or similar questions in two or more surveys, the rules for each of the questions in each of those surveys are stored in their own discrete files and folders.
If you change the sequence number of an existing question in your perceptual survey, and there are rules attached to this question (either rules that are executed on this question, or rules from other questions that involve this question, such as an AutoFill or Skip rule), you will be prompted upon saving the question whether you want those rules to automatically be renumbered. If you choose not to renumber the associated rules, you may suffer unintended consequences. For example, if you have a rule to AutoFill the answer to question 40, but you now renumber question 40 to be question 45, you will end up with a lot of answers for a now non-existent question 40. The key here is that after adding a new perceptual survey, or making any significant changes to an existing survey, that you first test the survey (click the Test Selected Survey button), before fielding the survey in your call center.
If you want to collect multiple answers to essentially the same question, you have a couple options with ComQuest. You can add sequential questions, such as 10, 20 and 30 and use the same wording for each question. Then, using the Lock To setting, you can have the answers to questions 20 and 30 saved as though they were from question 10. This way, when you run reports, all the answers, from all three questions, get compiled as though they were all collected from question 10 (and there will be no answers compiled for questions 20 and 30).
The other option is to use the Loop rule type in the perceptual question itself. In this case, you would have just one question, such as "What are your three favorite songs?...", and then set the rule type to Loop three times.
Setting a Loop Rule in a perceptual question
The same question stays on the interviewer's screen for three iterations, each time allowing them to select a different response. Presumably, you would only use a Loop type on a Pick List question; there is no conceivable reason why you would want to loop multiple times through a Yes/No question. Also, you would only have one loop rule for a question, if you wish it to loop. Then, on that one loop rule, you set the number of times you wish the question to be repeated (total times, including the first time it is asked). In other words, if you want the question to loop three times, as we did in the example above, you add one loop rule, and set it to loop 3 times. (You would not add 3 loop rules, each set to one loop!)
If the respondent does not have as many answers to provide as times that you are looping, the interviewer merely clicks Cancel and the looping ends (the next question in your perceptual is presented).
Even after you've begun fielding a perceptual survey, you can change the rules for any questions. For example, adjusting the number of times a question loops, either up or down, will not have any adverse consequences, except for the amount of data that is collected for that particular question. The most important rule you want to adhere to is to not change the question's meaning or context, or especially it's hard-coded sequence number once you have begun collecting data, as the previously collected data will no longer be relevant.