AnswerRemoved event in paradata

User Andreas has asked the following question:

The event “AnswerRemoved”, is this being recorded when a) the interviewer clears a question b) Survey Solutions removes responses automatically (e.g. answers on a roster row that is being deleted)? or c) both cases?

The answer is C - in both cases. But case B should be taken with care. Removing an item from the roster is not the only situation when this can occur in practice. The following situations come to mind:

  • a multiselect question, when the user unchecks the only selection;
  • a linked question is reset because the source question no longer supplies a currently selected choice;
  • a select question with filter, where the change elsewhere filters out the current selection from the choice set.

This list may not be exhaustive, but “removing the responses automatically” is a good term covering these situations.

Note that if the question simply becomes disabled the AnswerRemoved event is not fired for it! So when determining the final answer to the question the researcher should distinguish between the situations:

  • I want to determine what was last said about X, and
  • I want to determine what is recorded in the exported data about X.

For the latter case the disabled questions are covered with missing values, overriding the earlier provided answers (the former case).

Hope this helps, Sergiy

To illustrate the case, consider an example with a simple questionnaire where a numeric question q1 regulates size of a roster where a text question q2 is being asked:

The last column describes the actual actions taken by the interviewer.

The blue block (records 1…5 in order) is the actions instantiating a new interview (automatic). The first answer was given in record 6 to question q1 setting it to 1. Later the interviewer responded “FOO” to q2 in the first row of the roster. Then q1 was set to zero, eliminating the first row of the roster and correspondingly removing the earlier taken answer to question q2 (record 10).

The last block (11…15) replicates the same, but with the answer to q1 cleared in 14, rather than set to 0, but the consequence is the same.

Best, Sergiy

Many thanks Sergiy for the clear response! It is helpful indeed!

Best, Andreas