Step 12: Prime your data file

You're not done yet!  This step is critically important to get your survey working and is often overlooked.  You must be the first person to take your survey in order for your data file to be created.  Open a web browser and type the following address

where bstudent is your Bates username and mysurvey is your Survey Name.  (Note that there is a single forward slash after your username and before your Survey Name.)

You should see your consent page.  Click the Begin button at the bottom of the page to proceed to your questionnaire page.  You must provide an answer for every question on your page.  If you don't answer a question when the data file is created, there won't be a space for that variable in the data file.  That means that each subsequent user's response for that question won't be recorded even if they answer it.

Tip: The easiest way to find each question is to hit <Tab> to advance between questions.  Hitting the space bar will check radio buttons and checkboxes.  Using the mouse will slow you down.

It is important to type something in EVERY text field, even if some of them are optional to your participants. It is important to check EVERY checkbox and make sure that one of every group of radio buttons is selected.

Once you have provided data for every question on the page, click the "Click when finished..." button at the bottom of the page.  This should take you to your "Thank You" page.

The next information will depend on which option you selected for your data storage on the Finish tab.

If you chose "Store data in an online text file":

After you follow the above procedure to get your Thank You page, a data file called "mysurvey_results.txt" should have been created in your survey folder on your Paris account.  (Note that the suffix "_results.txt" might be different if you chose a different suffix on the Finish tab in the spreadsheet.)

If you chose "Receive data by email":

After you follow the above procedure to get your Thank You page, you will receive an email message containing the responses you just provided.  Your Bates email address will be used (as specified in the "Bates User Name" field on the Basic Settings tab).

Adding or changing variables

If you choose to update your survey by adding or renaming variables, you must delete or rename the existing results file and reprime the data file.  Otherwise your new or renamed variables will not appear in the data file.  If you are receiving data by email, you should retest your survey to make sure that your new variables are being processed correctly.

Random Assignment

If you have enabled Random Assignment, you must prime the data file for each condition of your survey.  Start on the consent page and click the Begin button.  This will take you randomly to one of your conditions.  You can see which one in the address bar.  Answer all of the questions and hit the Click when finished button.  Use your browser's Back button to return to the Consent page.  Hit the Begin button on the consent page to proceed randomly to another condition.  Fill out this version of your questionnaire.  Repeat until all conditions have a data file.  It is possible that you will be linked to some conditions repeatedly before you're done, but you can simply go back and keep clicking the button on the consent page until you see all conditions.

Dealing with errors

If you get the Thank You page after you submit your questionnaire page, then everything worked.  However, there are some common errors that appear if things haven't been set up quite right.  Please see the section on Dealing with Error Messages for assistance.

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