Introduction to questionnaires in QuizComposer©

QuizComposer© is an Internet-based system for creation and use of quizzes and questionnaires for any purpose, for example teaching, education and entertainment. The system consists of a collection of programs that run on an Internet-server. A running system on a server is called in the following pages, a quiz or questionnaire server, or plainly, a server. With the system, it's a simple matter to edit and save a quiz or questionnaire to be answered by one or more persons, for example, pupils at a school or college, applicants for a job, participants in a competition or tutorial quiz etc. Here you can see examples of quizzes and examples of questionnaires and the forms by which they are defined.

There is a separate introduction to quizzes.

This introduction is concerned with questionnaires only.

About the description of the system

The system addresses itself to any person, experienced as well as unexperrienced users of the Internet, and it consists of quite a large number of facilities many of which can be used in any order. The description of the system therefore takes form of a hyper text. For the sake of clearness many references (links) to parts of the description are represented by a single character # only. Click the nearest # for a description of a menu item.

Answering a questionnaire

To answer a questionnaire simply follow the instructions that you have recieved from the questionnaire author.

In the case of an open survey which can be answered by anybody you have been given an Internet address to be entered in the browsers 'Location' field (followed by 'Enter' key). The questionnaire will be presented to you. Fill in the entry fields of the questionnaire and click its submit button. You'll get a response from the questionnaire server acccording to specifications by the author of the questionnaire.

In the case of a survey with a closed list of participants You have recieved an identification and a password together with a questionnaire name. Then click 'Accessing a questionnaire' under 'For questionnaire answerers' (or, if you prefer not to read any further, click here) whereby you are presented with a form. Fill in the entry fields of this form and click the submit button to have the questionnaire presented to you. You'll get a response from the questionnaire server acording to specifications by the author of the questionnaire.

For mildly interested readers

If you prefer to familiarize yourself only with the facilities offered by the system click 'Introduction to creation of questionnaires'. Or click 'Examples of questionnaires' and, on the page displayed, the links to examples. Or continue reading this page.

If you are more keen on learning about the system: create a trial questionnaire

Before reading on in this text it might be advantageous to start up yet a browser window displaying the QuizComposer start page for questionnaires. You can then at the same time read this text and try out the instructions in the text.

If you wish to try to create a questionnaire then click 'Creating a trial questionnaire'. You will be presented with a form for defining such a questionnaire. What follows is a mini-guide to filling in such a form.

It suffices to fill in the two entry fields for the first question and the entry field 'Introduction to presentation of evaluation of answer' possibly using the proposed examples in parentheses. Use the copy and paste facility of your window system. In the text proposed for the phrase of the first question each brace containing a single letter represents a click button in the resulting question phrase. Clicking the blue (underlined) hash character close to each entry field in the ddefinition form presents you with the detailed explanation for that type of field.

Click the submit button at the end of all the entry fields for all questions and you will see the questionnaire unless, ofcourse, there are errors in the definition such as a missing brace. In the case of an error use the browsers 'Back' button and correct the definition form.

In the response from the server you will see the contribution of points from each click button question and the answer to each question with optional text.

Return to the definition and create a questionnaire with two questions, for example by copying the phrase and contribution of points from the first to the second. You will see when answering the questionnaire that points are summed.

As suggested by the second proposal in the entry field for contribution of points (in the first question) you can associate names with points. Each click button can have a number of associated point contributions each with its own name and a single unnamed point contribution. For the totality of clicked buttons in a submitted answer a sum of points will be computed for each name and a sum of unnamed points.

Try experimenting with texts different from the default texts in some of the other entry fields and with a text in the field 'Final message to questionnaire answerer...'. Notice the possibility of defining all messages to be displayed to the quiz answerer, also messages in foreign languages (having latin letters). Some of the entry fields may be left empty. Certain fields will, if they are empty, result in corresponding parts of the response being left out.

For very interested readers: creation of real questionnaires

If you wish to create real questionnaires (to be answered by others, that is) you must first have been registered as a quiz and/or questionnaire author on a server. You must apply for this at an administrator of QuizComposer on one of the servers on which QuizComposer has been installed. In the future the start page of QuizComposer will (probably) contain a link to a list of such servers. Till then, apply at the e-mail address at the bottom of this page.

Interested in having the system installed

If you are interested in having QuizComposer installed on a server contact a person having a UNIX or Linux server at his or her disposal and who is able to carry out the instructions presented when you click on the link 'Getting installation files' on the start page.

For questionnaire authors

Presumably you have already created a trial questionnaire. Otherwise you should try it now (possibly in a parallel browser window). You will then have seen a definition form and a corresponding questionnaire.

If you prefer to take small steps forward click the menu item 'Define a new questionnaire' on the start page (or else, click the menu item 'Accessing files, modifying questionnaire definitions, testing questionnaires, etc.' on the start page, see below). In the form select '10 questions'. You will be presented with a definition form for a questionnaire with up to 10 questions (the questionnaire can always be extended to at least 30 questions).

You need only enter your identification, your password and a name for the questionnaire in the first fields. You can postpone the specification of a heading and an introductory text (or prologue) for the questionnaire. However, before clicking the button 'SUBMIT THIS FORM' (immediately following all question fields) it is probably most natural to define the phrase and any point contributions associated with the first question. By clicking the hash character (#) you get a thorough guide to the two entry fields for a question. Write anything in the phrase field and then insert 3 braces {a} {b} {c} (in correct alphabetical order). In the field for point contributions write 3 numbers, e.g. 0 5 10.

Click the button 'SUBMIT DEFINITION FORM' and view the questionnaire. Submit the questionnaire with various buttons clicked and see the point contributions associated with the buttons. Return to the definition (via the browsers Back button), fill in the entry fields for the second question, submit the form, answer the new questionnaire and see the effect of the button contributions. Enter abitrary texts in the fields 'Introduction to presentation of evaluation of answer' and 'Final message to questionnaire answerer...', resubmit the form, answer the questionnaire and view the texts in the response from the server. You might have recognized some of the single line texts in the entry fields of the definition form between the large fields you just filled in. Alter the texts according to your taste and view the effect on the response from the server.

In the definition form enter in the phrase field of the 3rd question any text not containing a brace with a single letter, but leave the field for point contributions empty. You will see from the resulting questionnaire that you have defined a question to be answered with any text. If you answer the questionnaire you see that the answer of the 'optional answer' question is included in the response with a heading defined in the field 'Heading in presentation of optional texts written by answerer'. If you leave this field empty all answers to 'optional answer' questions will be left out in the response from the server. Try to alter other default texts in the definition form and view the effects on the questionnaire and the reponse from the server. Click the #-referrences close to the entry fields to learn more about the meaning of a field.

Normally you would set the use of the questionnaire to 'private' so that you will be the only person able to view the questionnaire while it is being developed. Later you can redefine its use to one of the 3 other possibilities the meaning of which is explained in what follows.

If you submit the questionnaires definition form with its use set to 'self-test' you create a questionnaire which can be answered by anybody having access to the server on which you are registered as being an author. This is apparent from the Location field in your browser window. The contents of that field is the Internet address of your questionnaire. Notice that the questionnaire answers are not registerred anywhere (compare with the effect of the next button in the definition form explained below).

Submitting the questionnaires definition form with its use set to 'open survey with answers being registered' creates a questionnaire which, just as for a self-test questionnaire can be answered by anyone, but the answers will be registered. You can view the answers via this form.

Submitting the questionnaires definition form with its use set to 'closed survey' creates a questionnaire accessible only to persons having an identification and a password defined by you with the aid of this form.

More information on entering values in the entry fields of the definition form is available in Introduction to creation of questionnaires.

Working with a single questionnaire

You can select this menu item when your questionnaire definition is not in your browsers session cache (for example when returning to QuizComposer after having restarted your browser). Click the menu item and enter your identification, your password, the (main) name of your questionnaire and the corresponding definition form will be presented to you. In general, however, it is better to select the next menu item: 'Accessing files, modifying questionnaire definitions, testing questionnaires, etc.' which presents you with many more possibilities as explained in the following paragraph. The only advantage of the menu item for working with a single questionnaire is that it is less confusing for a beginner.

Accessing files, modifying questionnaire definitions, testing questionnaires, etc.

Via this menu item you get simultaneous access to all your questionnaires and files and you need only state your identification and password once. On the other hand the form presented may seem somewhat more complex at first sight.

The form starts with a summary of your questionnaires stating their declared type of use. At the bottom you'll find a button for presentation of a definition form for a new questionnaire with up to 10 questions (which can be expanded to at least 30 questions).

You can use the first two buttons to view a questionnaire and its definition form, respectively. Enter the (main) name of a questionnaire in a field and click the corresponding button.

If you are a beginner you won't be particularly interested in the following buttons concerned with associated files. You probably wouldn't want to delete one or more questionnaires immediately either.

Access to forms

The next buttons in this form give you access to all forms concerned with questionnaires (without prompting for your identification and password). When you click a button you are presented with the corresponding form which, incidentally, always starts with a guide to its use.

In what follows the function of each button is explained briefly.

The first button gives you access to the form for specifying a list of participants for a closed survey, for example, a classroom. The questionnaire you want to use for the survey must have been defined with the correct type of use specified, i.e. 'closed survey'.

It is a good idea to try to create a small questionnaire and use it in a survey with a couple of answerers a and b, say, with passwords 1 and 2. A click on the nearby link 'Particant access to questionnaire' displays the form to be filled in by every participant in the survey in order to get acces to your questionnaire. If, as proposed above, you have created a list with a couple of paticipants the link gives you an easy way to try out your questionnaire. Furthermore the next button 'Get results of questionnaire survey' gives you the possibility of studying the formats in which results of surveys with registered answers can be presented.

The button 'Work with data for a questionnaire' presents you with a form which gives you low-level possibilities for altering the texts in a questionnaire definition, for example, the possibilty of changing the order of question phrases simply by renaming the phrases. You also get the possibility of storing the data for a questionnaire on your own computer by utilyzing the copy and paste facilities of your window system.

The button 'Pack/unpack one or more questionnaires' gives you the possibility of transporting questionnaires form server to server (with intermediate storing of the packed form on your computer).

A click on the button 'Transfer figure file, document file ...' presents you with a form with which you can transfer certain types of files from your computer to the server. Your questionnaires can then contain links to the copies on the server.

The button 'Transfer style properties (CSS)' presents a form with which you can transfer a file containing a description of the properties (color, fonts etc.) in the presentation of your questionnaires.

It is possible to associate with a questionnaire a program for creating certain effects, for example the highlighting of a text when the cursor passes over the text. Such a program is called a script. The button 'Transfer a script' presents you with a form with which you can transfer a script from your computer to the server.