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scripting questionnaires for an experiment


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I'm trying to create a computerized questionnaire for subjects in my psychology experiment. Ideally, they would see uniform instructions in the header of each screen, receive each question individually, and use radio buttons to respond before pressing a button that moves them to the next question on the next page. I've figured out how to do all of this manually, but I'm sure I'm doing it the most absolutely dumb way ever (I'm a graduate student who has never used Filemaker before and I have a hunch that each question really shouldn't need it's own separate layout - really, it's ok to laugh). Any help would be very much appreciated by everyone in my lab. Think of your advice as a contribution to science.

Cheers-

Johanna

FileMaker Version: 7

Platform: Mac OS X Jaguar

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Welcome Johanna,

An easy way is to have 2 files: Question and Answer. The Question file has one record for each question, you should include fields Question Text and Question Number (numbered from 1 to whatever.) Then in the Answer file, have a Question Number field, and an Answer field. Create a relationship in Answer to the Question file based on Question Number.

On a form layout in the Answer file, insert the related Question Text field, with space for even the longest question.

Make a script that will (1. create a new record in Answer for each new question that your subject is answering. (2. Set the correct question number.

In the Answer file, you will also need some way to know which records are from the same person. Make sure your scripting takes this into account.

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Johanna:

Alternately, you could stick with your one file and the method you've got. If you want the test subjects to only see one question at a time, then you do indeed want each question to be on its own layout. Of course, you can then have another layout (that only you can access) which would have all the questions and answers on it for each test, so you can see the results clearly...

So, when starting a test, you'd create a new record, and then you'd have a layout at the beginning where the test subject enters info about themselves (if that's needed); then you just go from layout to layout, via scripted buttons, until the test is over. It sounds to me like this is essentially what you've already got, and it sounds good to me.

-Stanley

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Hi Stanley -

Thanks so much for your advice. Things seemed to be working really well until I tried to incorporate validations for each of the questions (e.g., must enter data for each question). So, on one layout I have questions about the subject's gender and ethnicity, and on the next layout I have the first questionnaire item. After completing the gender and ethnicity questions, I attempted to move to the first questionnaire item, but was prompted by an invalidation pop-up with the message saying I needed to respond the first questionnaire item before moving forward. Of course this isn't possible because I hadn't even gotten to the layout containing question 1. Is there some way to move from layout to layout (each layout containing a single question, but all coming from the same table), when there are multiple validations (one for each different question)? Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Johanna

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Johanna:

I've answered this in your new posting. As you've discovered, there are definite limitations to the built-in validation system, and sometimes you've got to roll your own...

-Stanley

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