When you add a new survey to your study via the Researcher Dashboard, you will be taken to the Survey Editor where you can program and modify your survey:

Survey Editor allows moifying your survey

At the top of the page you have access to three tabs which can take you to the survey's settings, question flow, or the preview section. On the top right corner you will see a set of actions for the survey where you can save, publish, export, or validate your survey.

Below we describe what each action does and what each section offers.

Saving and Publishing

As you edit a survey, the Survey Editor periodically saves your work as draft to make sure you won't accidentally lose your modifications. You can also save your work by pressig the Save button on the top right corner of the Survey Editor. Your draft modifications remain pending and won't be available to participants until you publish them. You can use the Publish and Discard buttons of the Survey Editor to either publish them to make them available to all participants, or discard them and go back to the last published version before the draft changes, as shown below:

Publish or Discard the Draft Modifications

When you press the Publish button to publish your changes, Ethica will ask whether you also want to update participants' devices or not:

Survey Editor Publish Changes Dialog

In this dialog, you can choose to:

  • Update all participants. In this case, Ethica will try to update the smartphone of all currently enrolled participants who have not finished their study participation yet.
  • Update only a subset of participants. In this case, you can choose which participant should get the update.
  • Do not update participant's devices. In this case Ethica won't explicitly update any of participants' devices.

When you publish a survey, you make it available to all currently enrolled or prospective participants. Even if you choose not to update participants' devices, and their Ethica app connects to the server and asks for the latest version of the study, they will receive the updated version of your survey. Therefore, if you do not want the changes to be received by participants, do not publish it.

Pressing Publish in this dialog will publish the draft changes, increases the survey version number, and updates participants' app with the most recent changes (if you chose to do so).

Validating your Survey

Usually surveys consist of complex settings and flow control that makes them prone to mistakes and erros. Ethica always validates your survey before publishing it to make sure all configurations are properly set. This validation is not comprehensive and passing it does not guarantee the survey flow is semantically correct, but it ensures there is no syntactic error in the survey. You can also validate the survey at any time by pressing the Validate button on the top right corner of the Survey Editor.

Amonst other things, the validation checks for the following issues:

  • If you have a placeholder in your survey, it's properly entered and points to a valid question.
  • There is no empty page in your survey, or any multiple choice question with no possible answer.
  • The survey flow is correct. There is no page which can never be accessed, or there is no malformatted criteria.
  • The settings for all questions are correct.

Survey Tab

After openning your survey in the Survey Editor, the first tab that you see is the Survey tab. Here you can configure settings such as Triggering Logic and Notification for this survey. The first part of the Survey tab allows you to assign a Name to the survey and write a few lines of Description. The survey name and description are not shown to the participants and are for your own reference:

Adding name and description to the survey

The second part, Triggering Logic, allows you to define when this survey should be prompted to the participants. You can read more about each type of Triggering Logic supported by Ethica in the Triggering Logic page:

Adding Triggering Logic to the Survey

The next section, Notifications, defines how and when the participant should be notified or reminded about this survey. You can read more about survey notifications in the Notifications page:

Adding Notifications to the Survey

The Survey Settings section includes additional configuration for your survey, such as the expiry time or whether the survey should capture participant's location as well or not. You can read more about each of these settings in the Additional Configuration:

Additional Survey Settings

Questions Tab

The second tab of the Survey Editor, Questions, presents the questions flow in terms of pages and questions within each page, and allows you to modify it. When you create a new survey, it already contains one question which you can either modify or delete and replace it with other questions:

Questions Tab in the Survey Editor

As you can see above, you have your pages and their questions in the center of the page, the question type list on the left side which you can pick from them and add them to your pages, and the Properties panel on the right side which you can use to modify the properties of a selected element. We will describe each part below.


Each survey element such as page, question, or potential answer, has certain attributes which you can modify as part of creating your survey. For example, whether a question has to be enabled or disabled by default, or whether selecting a given answer should end the survey or not. The Survey Editor shows all properties for a given element in the Properties panel on the right side. When you select a given element from the center of the page, the properties available for that element is shown in the Properties panel. The following image shows the properties for a Calendar question as an example:

Properties of a Calendar Question

In the Questions page we explain in details what are the available properties for each type of question evailable in Ethica.


Your survey's flow consists of one or more survey pages, where each contains one or more questions. When a survey is triggered, Ethica presents the content of the first page to the participant. Each page should specify the next page, where the participants will be directed to it after finishing the current page. Any given page can also indicate that it's the last page. In that case, the participant will finish the survey after finishing the page.

You can add a new page to your survey by clicking on the Add Page icon on the top right corner of each page. This will open a menu and allows you to select whether you want to add the page below or above the current page:

Adding a Page Above or Below the Current Page

You can also delete a given page by clicking on the Delete Page button above the page which you want to delete. Note that you cannot delete the last page of the survey, as your survey is required to have at least one page. Also when you delete a page, all questions inside that page will be deleted as well:

Deleting a Page from Your Survey

You can further modify the properties for a given page by clicking on it. This will select the page and show its properties in the Properties panel on the right side of the page. There, you can specify what should be the next page after this page, and what is the criteria for showing this page. You can further specify whether this page should be looped based on response to another question or not. You can read more about looped pages here.

Properties for a Given Survey Page


You can add one or more questions to each page of your survey by simply draging the question from the Questions panel on the left side and drop it at the location you prefer in the page. After placing the question on the page, you can re-order the questions by dragging them up and down. Each question also allows you to create a copy of it or delete it by clicking on the Duplicate or Delete buttons respectively.

You may also click on the question's text to open the editor and modify the content of the questions: Modifying Question Content

Each question also has a set of properties which are described in details in the Questions section. You can view and modify these properties by clicking and selecting the question. This will show the properties for the selected question in the Properties panel.

Preview Tab

The Preview tab in the Survey Editor allows you to check the flow of your surveys and their questions in your browser, before publishing it to the participants or trying out the flow on your phone. This can help speeding up the programming of the survey quickly spotting issues and mistakes in your survey.

Note that there are certain features supported by the Ethica Survey that are not available in the Survey Preview, and therefore, the Preview cannot simulate the complete flow of the survey as the participant would experience on their phone. For example, if your survey's flow depends on participant's responses to questions in other surveys within the same study, or your questions' content contain placeholders, they are not properly shown in the Survey Preview. We encourage you to always test your survey in an smartphone before finalizing it. You can read more on that here.