In the previous section, we added one activity to our study. Participants could tap on the button for that activity from the home screen of their app and respond to it. They could do it as many times as they wanted, and any time they wanted.
In some cases, this is ideal, for example, if we are asking participants to report anything that motivates them to exercise. But in many cases, we may have certain conditions on when the activity should be presented to the participants, how often it should be presented, and how much time participants have to complete the activity. The logic that defines these is called Triggering Logic.
Our previous activity,
Exercise Motivations, used a User-Triggered Triggering
Logic. It means participants decide when and how many times to trigger the
activity. That's why the button for the activity is always on the home screen of
Ethica supports other types of triggering logics as well. For example, a Time-Triggered Triggering Logic prompts the activity based on a certain timetable. Another example is the Proximity-Triggered Triggering Logic which prompts the survey based on Bluetooth-based sensor data. Or Geo-fence Triggering Logic which uses GPS data for prompting a given activity.
You can read more about this in the Study Activity documentation. Here we continue our example study by adding a survey activity to it which is prompted once a day at 7 pm and asks about their general health.
To do this, we again go to the Activities page of the Researcher Dashboard and
New Activity to create a new survey. In the Survey Editor, I set the
Quality of Life, and remove the content in the description. I also
delete the default User-Triggered Triggering Logic:
Then, in the Triggering Logic section, click on
Time to add a new Time
This dialog has many settings and we don't plan to go through all of it here. But we encourage you to read the details in the Triggering Logic section.
For our use case here, we set the
Time Format to
Base Time to
Study Registration Date. This way, all the calculations will be based on the
midnight before the participant joined the study. For example, whether the
participant joins at 10 am or 5 pm on Nov. 11th, the calculations
will be based on Nov. 11th 00:00.
We also set the
First Trigger to be on Day 1 at 19:00:00. We further set it to
repeat once a day for 14 days. The image below shows the settings of our
Now if you click on the
Test The Schedule button, you can try out how Ethica
will calculate the activity prompt time based on this setting. You can choose a
date and time to represent a participation start time of a hypothetical
participant, and Ethica shows what time our survey will be presented.
For example below you can see that based on our settings, if a participant joins on Nov., 19th, at 9:15, they will receive surveys on Nov., 20th at 19:00, Nov., 21th at 19:00, and so on:
Now if you click anywhere outside of the Triggering Logic box, the new triggering logic is saved in our survey.
Ethica by default does not prompt any notification when an activity is prompted.
You need to add your notification and their schedule to your activity as well.
This can be done simply in the
Notifications section of the Survey Editor:
Here we click on
Add a New Notification to create a new one. In the dialog
that opens, we can specify 3 important settings:
- How long after the survey is presented you want this notification to be sent?
- Through what mediums you want this notifications to be sent?
- What should be the content of the notification for each medium?
In our case, we want to send the notification right away, so we set the time to 0 minutes. We also choose the In-App medium, and type the notification message as well:
We also want to give 1 hour to participants to complete each session of the
survey. If they don't complete a session within this 1 hour, we want it to be
expired. To do so, go back to the Contents section and open the
on the lower right side of the screen. At the bottom of the Settings find the
Expiry Time option, and set it to After 60 minutes:
In the last step, we add a question to our survey. As this is about quality of health, we use a vertical visual analog scale as shown below:
Then we finish by publishing the survey. When the survey is published, Ethica reloads the device for our current participant and schedules the survey sessions for him or her every day at 7 pm.
Unlike User-Triggered Triggering Logic, if you check the app as a participant, you will not see any survey waiting for your response. This is because the first survey is supposed to be prompted at 7 pm, and be available for 1 hour. You will receive a notification at 7 pm when the survey is available.
But you can check the schedule Ethica has for this participant via the Sessions
page. So let's go back to the Researcher Dashboard and click on Sessions from
the left panel. Then choose our participant from the list, and from the list of
activities, choose the survey we just created. For the date range, we choose
relative dates from 0 to 45. Pressing
Go will show all scheduled surveys for
As you can see above, the participant starts receiving the survey every day at 7 pm, starting from Day 2, and none of those surveys are responded to yet. As the participant completes these surveys, the status of these sessions is updated here.
Also, note that even though we configured our survey to be promoted from day 1, here we see the first prompt for our participant starts from day 2. This is because the participant joined our study before we added this survey. When we added the survey, the participant was already on his or her second day of the study. So Ethica skipped the first prompt and scheduled the remaining 13 sessions.