There are three different Choice field types you can add to your form


Note: This article covers the Choice field types. For a full list of available field types, see here. To see what the above fields will look like to the fieldworker on their handset, make use of the 'Preview' button on the far right in your top toolbar. 


Select (one/many) field 


Use this field type if the participant needs to choose a response from a simple list of options. 


You can choose between two answer formats (1): 

  • Select one - the respondent is only allowed to choose one option from the list
  • Select many - the respondent can choose more than one option from the list


Note: once your changes have been published, you cannot change the answer format.


 

If you want a specific option / options to be selected by default whenever this field is displayed on the handset, you can select a default value from a drop-down (2) in the Basics tab. This is optional - if nothing is selected, the response will be blank by default. 


Setting up your Option list


All Choice field types (Select (one/many), Cascading Select and Likert) rely on a list of predefined options which the participant can choose from. 


To set up this list of options, click on the relevant field and go to the Option list tab (1). Each option has two compulsory parts: 

  • The option Text (2) - this is the label / text that is displayed in the form.
  • The option Value (3) - this is what is stored when the option is selected and is used for data analysis. It is not displayed when the form is being captured. When adding a new option, the value will default to the same as the label text (spaces replaced with underscores), but can be edited at any time. Only alphanumeric characters are allowed. Try to keep option values short and meaningful.


You can add your options one at a time by typing in the text box and pressing 'Enter' (4). You can also add multiple options at once by copying a list from elsewhere and pasting it in the text box. 


To reorder the options, click on the 'move' icon on the left of the option to drag and drop it in the correct position (5).


You can remove your options one at a time by clicking on the 'bin' icon on the right (6). You can also delete all your options at once by selecting 'Remove all' at the bottom.


By default, options are listed vertically, but you can modify this and other appearance settings from the 'Advanced settings' tab.



Hint: To see what these fields will look like to the fieldworker on their handset, make use of the 'Preview' button on the top right of your top toolbar.



"Other" option

To add an "Other" option to your option list, simply check the tick box next to 'Add an "Other" option with comment field' (3). This will automatically add a comment field that will display only if the "Other" option is selected by the fieldworker.


You have to specify the following for this option:

  • Option label (4) - this is displayed to the fieldworker on their handset.
  • Option value (5) - this is stored and exported for use in data analysis.
  • Comment field name (6) - this is the name of the free text comment field which the participant captures if the "Other" option was selected. This is also used in data analysis and is not shown on the handset.


When selecting this "Other" options, defaults are added for the above. You can edit them at any time. 





To populate an options list from an external source (e.g. a CSV file), open the Option list tab and select "Get options from a source file". This is very useful for long option lists (e.g. countries) or dynamic option lists that changes over time.


Steps to upload CSV files and resources to your resource library is covered in detail here.



  1. Once you have uploaded the CSV file containing your options into your project's resource library, select it from the 'Source file' drop-down.
  2. Choose the source column for the option label (text).
  3. Choose the source column for the option value.
  4. You can download a template CSV file to populate and upload to your project resource library.


Note: It is best practice to remove spaces from the value columns (replacing spaces with underscores is a good alternative).



Hint: By default, options will be listed vertically. For long option lists we'd recommend selecting "Searchable option list" from the Advanced settings tab. Configuring the display of option lists is covered in our article on appearance settings.


Note: If your form has been translated into multiple languages, you can add columns in your CSV file for each translation. Simply specify the column to use for the text. This will need to be specified for each language that the form has been translated in. Values are used as field identifiers for data analysis and will remain the same across all languages.


Likert field


This field type is used to capture a response from a list of options presented on a scale.


In the option list, the labels and values are pre-populated with the following common scale:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree


These options (and their corresponding values) can be edited at any time.




When previewing this field, you will see that it is displayed as a horizontal scale.







Cascading select field


You can use this field type if you want to capture a selection from a hierarchical list of options. You can create option lists that are organised into tiers or levels: selecting an option at one level filters the options at the next level. At the bottom level, the final selection can be made.

 

You cannot set a default value for this field type.


Example: Select the city where the household member currently lives. The city falls in a particular district, and the district falls in a particular country. 


  • In the Options tab, first enter your level headings (1), starting with the highest level and ending with the lowest level. In this example it will be Country > District > City. You will notice that the drop-downs to the right of the level headings are disabled .



  • Set up your list of options for the Country level in the same way you would for any other Choice field type (2). As you add your first option, the drop-down next to the Country level heading will become enabled. As you add options to the option list for Country, the options will be added to this drop-down (3).



  • Select a country from the first drop-down list. You can now add options for the second level (District) in the context of the selected country (4), i.e. if you've chosen 'South Africa' in the Country drop-down, you can now add the list of districts in 'South Africa'. As you add options to the District option list, the options will be added to the drop-down next to the District level heading (5). To add districts for the other countries, simply select another country from the Country drop-down list and add district options for that country in the same way.




  • To add City options for a district, select the relevant district from the drop-down (6) and add options for it (7), i.e. if you have chosen 'Western Cape' in the District drop-down, you can now add the list of cities in 'Western Cape'. To add cities for the other districts in South Africa, simply select another district from the District drop-down list and add city options for that district in the same way.




To populate the list of options from an external source (e.g. a CSV file), open the Option list tab and select "Get options from a source file". This is very useful for large option lists or dynamic option lists that changes over time.


Steps to upload CSV files and other resources to your project's resource library is covered in detail here.




  1. Once you have uploaded the CSV file containing your options into your project's resource library, select it from the 'Source file' drop-down. The format of the CSV file is important and it must contain columns that relate to each level in your cascade - e.g. if your cascade will have three levels: Country > District > City your CSV file should contain a column for each level.
  2. Enter a heading for each level of the cascade.
  3. Choose the source column to use for the option text (label) for each level.
  4. Choose the source column to use for the option value for each level.
  5. You can download a template CSV file to populate and upload to your project resource library.


Note: It is best practice to remove spaces from the value columns (replacing spaces with underscores is a good alternative).



Note: If your form has been translated into multiple languagesyou can add columns in your CSV file for each translation. Simply specify the column to use for the text. This will need to be specified for each language that the form has been translated in. Values are used as field identifiers for data analysis and will remain the same across all languages. 



When completing the form, you'll be required to select an option for the top level (Country) first. In the drop-down for the next level (District), it then only shows the options relevant to the selection on the first level, and in the drop-down for the third level (City), it only shows options relevant to the District you've selected.





Using the legacy form designer? Have a look at our article on Field Types in the legacy form designer.