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FocusVision Knowledge Base

About the Sample Source and Survey URL

1: Overview

Sample sources determine how respondents get to the survey and where they are directed after finishing the survey. Sample sources are needed when you have more than one source of sample for the survey. When you want to have more than one exit URL or exit text, or add extra variables to the data that are collected via the URL, you need to create a special lock-down of the survey. Sample sources can be locked down to allow only one unique ID, or they can be setup to a static link that doesn't track ID's. Most likely you will need to setup sample source before you launch but not in all cases.

You do not need to add a sample source if you meet all of these conditions:

  • Only one source of sample for the survey (such as one email list, one personal panel, one intercept from a single website)
  • Only one exit URL or exit text
  • Do not need to create any special lock-down of the survey or add extra variables to the data collected via the URL

2:  Using Pre-Programmed Sample Sources

When you highlight Sample Sources in the element tree and click "+Add New Sample Source" from the Builder's stage, you are presented with several Panel companies, such as GMI, reInvention, Toluna, and more. These options are pre-setup with those vendors, meaning Builder already has the needed variables setup and the exit URLs in place to allow the vendor to send sample and get the appropriate feedback when the respondent terms, overquotas, or qualifies. Each option is tracked using a special reserved variable named "list".  The list variable is used in the URL, collected in the data when the respondent enters the survey, and can then be used to classify the respondents source of entry in the field report, report and data downloads. More than one Panel company can be used for a single project.  Purchase of the sample for the project should be done in advance through one of our Decipher Account Managers, or directly with that vendor.  (Decipher may be able to provide better rates, so please reach out if you need a bid.)

3: Using a Custom Sample Source

You can specify to use a custom sample source if:

  • The vendor you would like to use is not in the list
  • You have your own custom panel,
  • You need to track one or more email lists

Custom sample sources have many options to help tailor to your specific needs.  The benefit of the custom sample sources is that you can have more than one variation of exit text if respondents are coming from multiple locations (panel, email, intercept, etc.) or you can send respondents to any specified URL that can also contain special variables for passing information to that URL (such as, a unique ID to a panel or a username to a website).

Here's some more insight into the capabilities of custom samples sources:

They can be locked down to allow only one unique ID, or they can be setup to be a static link that doesn't track ID's. 

There is a field called "extraVariables" that sometimes causes confusion.  You only need an extraVariable if you are passing variables in the URL.  As mentioned above, there is a variable called "list" that is used for each sample source. Decipher also has a default variable called "source" that can be used for a unique ID.  There's also the "decLang" for tracking languages.  You will notice when you add the sample source, the list and decLang extra variables get added to the URL by default.

4: Survey URL and Variables

There is a URL variable called "list" that is used for each sample source.  Decipher also has a default variable called "source" that can be used for a unique ID.  There's also the "decLang" for tracking languages.  You will notice when you add the sample source, the list and decLang extra variables get added to the URL by default. You only need an extraVariable if you are passing variables in the URL. 

To see this in action, first setup a sample source, then go to the "Test" menu and select  "Test Survey". You should see the default URL for testing and fielding the survey at the bottom of the window. If you have multiple sample sources and languages, there is a drop-down menu available to configure your URLs.

Your URL(s) should look something like:

http://v2.decipherinc.com/survey/selfserve/abc/123456?list=1&decLang=english

If you added "var1" in the extraVariables field, then your link might now look like:

http://v2.decipherinc.com/survey/selfserve/abc/123456?list=1&var1=$var1&decLang=english

Where $var1 would be replaced with some special value you are piping into the survey.

By adding var1 to the extraVariables it adds a variable in the dataset that stores the data for downloading later.  It also would allow it to pass to an exit URL if needed.  Note that the extraVariable field in sample sources is optional.