Facility to add extra info to linked question options

Use case: Currently, linked questions show the values of the questions to which they are linked. For example, the names of household members are shown as answer options for a linked question that points at the list/roster of household members. But often more information is needed to disambiguate answer options in practice (e.g., two members named Mohamed). To meet this need, allow users to script which additional attributes (up to some limit) are shown alongside values of the linked questions. Obviously, this only makes sense for linked questions that point to rosters, where other attributes are availalbe for the target question (e.g., each member in the roster has a name, age, sex, etc.)

This is useful wherever questionnaires asks who is responsible for X (e.g., who manages sales decision for harvest of plot Z), who is related to whom(e.g., who is A’s mother in the household), etc.

An example from CSPro:

An example from a SuSo list question whose look is closer ot what I have in mind:


Changes/Implementation ideas:

Consider a simple templating language that combines text and placeholders for variable values.

My inspiration is the R pakage glue.

Here’s the idea in a quick example from the package overview:


Here’s some of my own code for preloading the text pictured above.


In a sense, this would involve extending the customization of roster button labels to linked question text.


  • Make interviewers write more descriptive answers to the targets of linked questions. But your mileage may vary. First, interviewers don’t always follow instructions. Second, interviewers don’t know which questions will be targeted by linked questions. They don’t see our Designer questionnaire. Third, writing more descriptive answers takes time. Fourth, writing more descriptive answers may involve capturing information gathered later in the questionnaire (e.g., when listing household members, one is not yet asking about the age, gender, etc of members).
  • Preload the answers you want for linked questions. This only works for surveys where preloading is done. This data manipulation may not always be easy for some users.

Hello Arthur,

this is an issue that was already encountered before by anyone who worked with repeating visits.
Developing a new language for describing the text substitution doesn’t look like a viable option. And it doesn’t look like it is required here. I was considering allowing link to a variable, rather than a question, such as


which could be relying solely on the existing built-in C# features.

Yet, for categorical questions you would be forced to include the string constants into the code, thus making it incompatible with translations.

Going back to the original question, the two-Mohammed-problem can be solved by validation of the list for duplicates, and requiring the interviewers to provide more identification, such as Mohammed (son) and Mohammed (father).

Thanks for the additional implementation idea: using C# to add extra info to linked question answer options.

You’re right that translations would be problematic, but my sense is that this feature would be helpful without translations. In many cases, interviewers would know both the original and translation language of the questionnaire (e.g., French and Wolof in Senegal). In web interview, this would remain a problem.