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changing skip during active survey

If I change a skip pattern during an active survey, could this result in the loss of any data? I would only be adding a question and changing a skip not deleting questions...  I just want to make sure this will not mean a loss of data.  I changed one question from multiple-select to single-select and that did result in a loss of data (which was recoverable from previous downloaded files).
asked Jul 3, 2021 by sallen Bronze (2,315 points)

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It is okay to change skips during a survey, but you need to consider the effects of that change.

Let us break the issue down in to 4 groups ...

1/ Respondents who have not started the survey.
They will see the new version of the survey.

2/ Respondents who have completed or disqualified from the survey.
Their data will not be affected at all. The data will represent the old version of the survey.

3/ Respondents who have started the survey, are incompletes and have not reached the question where the skip was changed.
These respondents will see the new version of the survey.

4/ Respondents who have started the survey, are incompletes and have passed he question where the skip was changed.
These respondents will have their data resemble the old version of the survey. One additional consideration here is where a respondent can click the back button (if you have it activated). They can go back to the point where the skip was changed. They will then see the new question and experience the new skip.

So consider all of the above and the different effects the skip change will have.

I have encountered this issue many times before, made the change, and finished up with data that looked just fine.

To boost your confidence, I recommend you start a couple of test surveys (one before the skip change and one after the skip change) and suspend them as incompletes. Make the change to the survey, then go back in and complete both test surveys. Then check the data to see what they look like.

Just one final point to review: Go and have a look at the incompletes and see how many surveys are hovering around the question/s where the skip is about to be made. It would be nice if the counts were low around the question/s where the skip change is being made.

And a further comment on changing MR questions to SR questions (or vice-versa), your data for these questions will change structure. So the most appropriate action to take here is to skip the old MR question always, and insert the new SR question that the respondents will now see. So you have some data appearing as the old MR question, and some data appearing as the new SR question. Your data stores both types and you can analyse as you see fit.
answered Jul 3, 2021 by Paul Moon Platinum (101,255 points)
selected Jul 3, 2021 by sallen
Thanks!  I would do this when no respondent is currently active in the survey. I can try the test as you mention during that time and see how it works. That would have been a better idea on the MR to SR... next time I will definitely do that.
Regarding the MR to SR issue, I have also done this and learned the hard way. However, I believe the MR variables with data already collected get appended to the end of the dataset (or near the end).  I could be wrong, but I believe that is the case.  I seem to recall making a change where the variable was not where I expected it to be and it was ordered after the other questions.
Jay, I believe the data renames these deleted questions as "Q1_2_old" or something like that? I can't recall how you import it in to Sawtooth if the old question has been wiped?

I played it safe and kept both versions and everything was kept intact.
I could be wrong, but if he felt he lost data it's worth checking.  The question name would be the same but MR would have underscores and SR would not.
Agree, I believe the data would still be there but the deleted question data would have renamed variables with the "old" notation being used.
I dont see the old data at the end.  I have it in previously downloaded data but it does not appear in the data once I change the question from MR to SR.