Using the SURVEY CODE Feature

Note: If you are only interested in external study credit granting, then this section may not be applicable. This section describes how to use the survey code feature to link a sign-up in the system to data collected in the external study. However, it also describes the foundation for how the survey code feature works, which is useful in better understanding the external study credit grant feature.

For web-based studies administered outside the system, there is a special feature available for advanced users to track sign-ups in their web-based study. All while still preserving confidentiality. This feature applies only to web-based studies administered outside the system.

Before going further, it is important to note that this is an advanced feature and may require some programming skills. Sona Systems is unable to provide technical support for any programming questions.

The way this feature works is that if the text %SURVEY_CODE% is placed anywhere within the Study URL field, the system will automatically replace this text with a unique number for the participant. This unique number will be displayed next to their sign-up within the system, making it easier to match sign-ups by this number. The number can be anywhere from 2-7 characters in length, and will not contain numbers leading with zeroes (1234 is possible, but 01234 is not).

The external study will then need to be set up to process this code and log it appropriately. Sona Systems cannot provide detailed technical support on how to program an external study, as that code is external to our software.

Here is an example of how this works. Let’s say the study URL is:
https://www.myschool.edu/mysurvey.html

If the Study URL is entered in the system as:
https://www.myschool.edu/mysurvey.html?id=%SURVEY_CODE%
Then when a participant clicks on that URL, the system will replace %SURVEY_CODE% with a unique numeric value to identify the participant. For example, the URL may be changed to:
https://www.myschool.edu/mysurvey.html?id=30039

If that is the case, on the page in the system listing sign-ups for this study (i.e., in the timeslot), the code 30039 will appear next to that participant’s sign-up.

If this code is parsed and handled by the external study, the researcher can easily link up the sign-ups in the system with which they have collected data from within their external study, so they know who to give credit to. It is important to note that the crediting still will not occur automatically. The purpose of this feature is to provide a way to identify participants without compromising privacy, as the system can then be configured to not display names next to sign-ups.

If a participant is not viewing the URL (for example, the researcher is viewing the URL), this special survey code text will simply be removed. It is important to note that this special text must be in all capital letters, and surrounded by percent signs. You may confirm it was entered correctly because a sample URL will be displayed when you go to view (not edit) the study, below the normal study website link.

If you provide a SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, Inquisit or other URL from any other product supported in the Study URL field, then the system will provide guidance (after saving your changes) about how to use the survey code feature.

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