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Qualtrics Tutorials: Incentives

Use branch logic and end-of-survey redirects to collect respondents' contact information for distributing incentives while keeping their survey responses anonymous.

Distributing incentives when a survey is anonymous

Suppose that you are offering respondents an incentive to complete your survey; for example, a chance to win one of four $25 gift cards. Your survey promises the respondents that their responses will be anonymous; however, you will need to obtain some identifiable information about them in order to distribute the incentives, whether it's an email address (if sending a digital code for a gift card) or a physical address (if physically mailing a gift card).

To obtain respondent information and still keep survey responses anonymous, you will need to create two surveys: your “actual” survey and a second “incentives” survey that will collect only the information that’s necessary to deliver the incentive to the participants. This way, the survey responses and the contact information are stored in two separate “pools”, and will not be linked to each other.

Edit (June 2020): Researchers implementing this approach should be aware of the potential for abuse from individuals attempting to fill out the incentives survey more than once. We have added an additional step to these instructions (step 1.3), which will restrict access to the incentives survey to only those individuals who are coming from the "main" survey. (Stated differently, it will prevent individuals from directly navigating to the incentives survey by sharing the incentive survey URL.) This cannot completely prevent abuse, but implementing this step will make it so that only individuals referred by your "main" survey can access the incentives survey. We also recommend that researchers review Qualtrics's page on Survey Protection options.


  1. Create a new survey. This will be the “incentives” survey used to collect the contact information for distributing the incentives. On this survey:
    1. Create the questions needed that collect the minimum amount of data needed to distribute your incentive. Remember to use content validation if collecting email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
    2. Set up the appropriate custom end-of-survey message (if needed).
    3. Customize the Look & Feel of this survey to match your ‘actual’ survey.
    4. (Optional but recommended) Restrict access to the incentive survey to only those who are coming from your main survey:
      1. Click Survey Options, then click Security.
      2. Locate the option Add a referral website URL (previously called "HTTP Referer" or "HTTP Referer Verification" and change its setting to On. Erase the contents in the text box that appears, then copy and paste the URL of your main survey into the box. (If you have not yet published your main survey, your main survey will not have a URL assigned. You will need to get that URL in order to complete this step. If you are not yet finished setting up the main survey, you can temporarily publish it just to obtain its URL, then unpublish the survey to continue working on it.)

        Screenshot of the Survey Options: Security window with the Add referral website URL option highlighted.

    5. Click Publish to activate this survey. Copy this survey's URL to the clipboard; we’ll need it for when we set up the redirect.
  2. Return to your "main" survey. At the end of the "main" survey (ideally on its own page), add a single-choice, multiple choice question. This question will ask the respondent if they want to receive the incentive. There should only be two choices, an affirmative (Yes) or a negative (No). Enable Forced Response for this question.
  3. Click Survey Flow. We will set up the branch logic to handle the positive (affirmative) cases first.
    1. Click Add a New Element Here. Select Branch.
    2. Click Add a Condition.
      1. From the Select Question dropdown box, select the survey incentive question you created.
      2. From the Select Choice dropdown box, select the "Yes" (affirmative) answer.
      3. Click OK.
    3. There will now be an arrow pointing away from your Then Branch If box toward Add a New Element Here. Click on Add a New Element Here.
    4. Select End of Survey. Then click Customize.
      1. Select Redirect to a URL. Copy and paste the URL of the “incentives” survey into the text box. Then click OK.
    5. Now we will handle the No (negative) cases.
      1. Click Add a New Element Here. Select Branch. This element should be at the same level as your affirmative Then Branch If; it should not be underneath the affirmative branch.
      2. Click Add a Condition.
        1. From the Select Question dropdown box, select the survey incentive question you created.
        2. From the Select Choice dropdown box, select your "No" (negative) answer.
      3. Click OK.
    6. There will now be an arrow pointing away from your Then Branch If box toward Add a New Element Here; click on it.
    7. Select End of Survey. You can either leave it as is, which will send the negative respondents to the default end-of-survey message, or you can click Customize to send them to a different survey ending of choice. You may want the end-of-survey message to be identical for both the “actual” survey and the “incentives” survey.
    8. When finished, click Apply.
      1. Note: Depending on your screen resolution and the size of your browser window, the Apply button is sometimes pushed off-screen. If this occurs, changing your browser's zoom level to to 80% or 90% can sometimes help. In most browsers, you can change the zoom level using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + -  [the hyphen key] (Mac: Cmd + -).

When you have completed setting up the branch logic, the Survey Flow window should look similar to this:

Other Tips

  • When creating the text of your "Do you want to receive the incentive" question, it is good practice to let the user know that if they answer yes, they will be redirected to a separate survey where their contact information will be collected.
  • Make sure that your "Do you want to receive the incentive" question has Forced Response turned on. If it does not, then users who do not answer this question may experience unexpected behavior from the survey. Alternatively, if you do want users to be able to skip this question, make sure that you go to Survey Options and set up the "general" end-of-survey message. You may wish to make the "general" end-of-survey message match the one shown to users who answer "No" to the incentives question.
  • Be sure to test the survey in Preview Mode to make sure that each possible outcome of this question is working as expected.

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