Create a Diary Survey

Diary surveys are a common survey design. In diary surveys respondents take the survey at regular intervals – daily, weekly, monthly, etc. –  to record behaviors like sleep, food consumption, purchases, etc.

Usually, survey researchers would like for this data to be in the same survey so that they can easily make data comparisons in the analysis phase. This requires returning respondents to the same response to provide additional data. We will accomplish this by sending a delayed send email action which contains an edit link. If you prefer to use another method, check out our tutorial on Returning Respondents to a Later Page in a Survey for other options.

Step 1: Create Your Initial Survey Questions

For this tutorial example let's say we're collecting sleep diary data from our respondents for an entire week.

We'll start by setting up the questions we wish to ask once, e.g. demographic questions, on the first page/s of the survey. In one of these questions, we'll collect the respondent's email address as we'll need this later to return them to their response.

Step 2: Set Up Your Diary Interval Pages

On a new page we'll begin setting up our diary questions. Typically, the questions are the same for each interval of the diary so we'll just copy this page for Tuesday - Sunday.

Step 3: Set Up Intermediate Thank You Pages

Now, we're going to add a page to follow each day's page that will work like a thank you page for that day's response. The set up for these pages is more or less identical, so, once you have one page created (including the send email action covered in Step 4) you'll just be able to copy each.

To make your thank-you page work as a thank-you page, you'll need to set it up as a terminal page. To do so, click the pencil icon to edit the page and go to the Logic tab. Under Terminal Page select Yes. Now, when survey respondents reach this page it will appear as if they are done with the survey for now.

Step 4: Set Up Send Email Actions on Your Intermediate Thank-You Pages

Now we're ready to set up our method for returning respondents to the survey. For this example, we'll be using a delayed send email action that includes an edit link that will return the respondent to their response. We'll also add a special URL Variable that navigates them to the correct page.

To get started, we'll add a send email action to our intermediate thank you page.

In the Recipient Email Address field, using the survey taker link below the field, we'll select the field in our survey where we collected an email address from the respondent.

In the Message Body, we'll add our text inviting the survey respondent to return to the survey. As part of the message body, we'll need to add the edit link merge code. To do so, click the Insert merge code link to the lower-left corner of the message body and select Edit Link under the Advanced section of the dropdown menu. Click the Insert button to insert at your cursor.

Once we've included our edit link we will need to add a URL variable to the end of the edit link that will navigate the respondent to the proper page. Before we can do so, we need to get the ID or SKU for the pages you wish the survey respondent to land when returning to the survey.

To obtain page IDs click the View Settings link in the upper-right corner of the Build tab. Select Page IDs and click Apply.

Your page IDs will then display to the right of your page title on the Build tab.

We recommend making a quick list like the below list to reference while building out the edit links in each of your send email actions.

With our page ID handy, we'll add the __sgtarget URL variable to the end of our edit link merge code starting with an ampersand, 2 underscores, and sgtarget=ID. The result will look like this:

[survey("edit link")]&__sgtarget=4

Finally, we need to delay the send email action for the amount of time we wish to elapse before inviting the survey respondent to return to the survey. To do so, go to the Advanced tab of the send email action and in the Time delay field enter the time delay you wish to use. This could be +30 days, +2 months, etc.

Click Save Action!

Once you've set up your first intermediate thank you page and send email action you can now copy the page and make the appropriate edits (page ID and message body text) and then reorder the new page to the appropriate location!

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