This Tutorial will help you get started with using the KoBo Form Designer to build an electronic survey compatible with KoBo Collect. There are some more detailed Help topics in the User Guide.
First, consider that creating a survey is only one step in a larger research process, please refer to the System Diagram for an overview of where creating a survey fits in the scheme.
Concentrating on the creation of the survey form, let's get started by getting access to the KoBo Form Designer. KFD works offline or online, but KFD works the same way in either case, as an application running in a web browser.
Step 1: Access the KoBo Form Designer
Step 2: Write a list of Questions
Before you begin working in the Form Designer, consider your research topic and what set of questions you need to ask to complete that research. You can create your survey entirely within KFD, but most people start with a survey instrument in a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet.
Each individual question has certain elements.
An example question, "What is your favorite color?" has the following elements:
Question Text: What is your favorite color?
Hint: Please choose from available colors.
Select Options: Red, Green, Blue
Option Values: Red=1
Creating a spreadsheet in advance with these elements in discrete columns will make form building easy.
Step 3: Log in
KFD has a log in feature which will allow you to save your surveys offline, so that you can complete a survey in multiple sessions. Log-in in is not required. Surveys and log in information are only stored locally, never remotely. There is a note on security here.
Sign-up by clicking the "Sign Up" button in the top right corner.
Create a username and password.
Please note: at this time, there is no password recovery feature, so try to remember your password.
On your next visit to the KFD, you can log in, and your previously saved surveys will be available to you under the main menu.
At this point, the KFD has a toolbar across the top, and two empty zones labelled "Form Tree View" and "Properties View".
Step 4: Create a New Form
The button at the top left is the Main Menu, clicking it will give you a drop down, select "New Form" from the drop down.
You can create any number of forms.
Your will be asked to name the form, give it a short, descriptive name.
You will see now that the "Form Tree View" and "Properties View" have been populated with some basic data about your form.
The Form Tree View will show you the name of the form and the questions included in that form.
You will notice that a Question has been added by default, "Question A01.
The Properties View will show you information about the item selected in the Form Tree. Be sure that the top level form is selected, and edit the name of the Form in the Properties View. Note that the edits you make are reflected in the Form Tree View immediately. When you edit in the Properties View, there is no need to hit Enter or Save. The changes are instantly added.
Step 5: Add a Question
Let's look at the elements of a Question. Use the mouse to highlight QuestionA01 in the Form Tree View and notice that its properties are shown in the Properties View.
Here are the elements that can be edited for an individual question.
Question text: This is the label that is presented to the user. This is a field that you will always edit, so let's go ahead and edit this field to read "What is your favorite color?"
Itext ID: KFD generates a default ID to attach to your text. This is for use in internationalization, presenting your survey in multiple languages. We will cover this topic in a more advanced tutorial, and under most circumstances, you can just leave this field with the autogenerated ID (A01).
Hint: any special instructions will appear in italics beneath the Question text.
Question Type: can be set to Single-Select, Multi-Select, Text input, or a number of other types. This option can be set when you add the question by selecting from the "Add Question" drop down, or it can be changed here in the Properties View. The many kinds of question types are detailed here.
XML Node: This is the name of the data storage location. It is auto-named and can be left alone. KFD will name every question's XML Node with ascending names; A01, A02, A03... The XML Node is the same as the Itext ID, though you can change these to any arbitrary label, they don't have to be the same. Learn more about XML Nodes.
Visible: determines if the questions will be hidden or shown. Uncheck to hide. Some questions can be hidden, but enabled, allowing you to collect data like timestamps and Meta Data.
Enabled: determines if the question allows user input. You may want to display a question with default data but not Enabled so that
Required: If required, the user must provide an answer to the question before being allowed to proceed to the next question.
Default Value: Entering a value here will pre-populate the question's answer. As long as the question is Visible and Enabled, the user can change this default value.
Edit the Values for your first question to match the values here.
Question Text: What is your favorite color?
Hint: only primary colors, please
Default Value: blue
Leave the other values at their defaults.
Step 6: Add Select Options
Please note that the Question Type is Single Select, but there isn't anything to select from. Add an option by clicking Add Select Option from the toolbar.
If you look at the properties, you will see that KFD automatically adds TWO options (you can't choose from ONE option!)
The Option Text is the label that will be displayed for the user. Edit that value to read "Red"
The IText ID: KFD generates a default ID to attach to your option label. This is for use in internationalization, presenting your survey in multiple languages.
The Value will be recorded into the Node and stored with the survey results, if this option is selected by the user. KFD automatically generates a numeric value (starting with '1' and incrementing with each added option. Storing a number instead of the label 'Red' makes the data easier to analyze and reduces the file size of the data. You can change the Value to match the Itext ID to make your data more human readable if you like.
Add more options and edit their properties so that you have a set of options listing all available colors with numeric values:
Look in the Form Tree View you will see that your form now has one complete question with a set of options.
The user will be able to choose just one of the colors. Selecting a different color will de-select the previous choice.
Whatever option the user selects, the corresponding numeric value will be stored in the XML Node (A01).
If the user selects Red with a value of '1', the final XML output will contain a node:
Step 7: Add More Questions
Now, add follow up questions to determine if the respondent has a hat the same color as the reported favorite color.
Click the Add Question button, by default if will add a Single-select type question.
Only edit the Question Text element to read "Do you have a Red hat?" Leave all the other values at the default.
This is a Single-Select, so now add select options for Yes and No.
Edit the text and value of the option to be No=1 and Yes=2.
Add two more Single-Select questions.
"Do you have a Blue hat?"
"Do you have a Green hat?"
Step 8: Copy & Paste
You can use Copy & Paste to recycle the Yes/No options from the first question, "Do you have a Red hat?"
You can copy and paste just one item at a time, so highlight "Yes" under the Red Had question, then click Copy.
In the Form Tree, highlight "Do you have a Blue hat?" and click Paste.
Next, In the Form Tree, highlight "Do you have a Green hat?" and click Paste.
Copy "Yes" from the Red Hat question and paste it under Green and Blue hat questions.
Now your Form Tree should appear as shown.
This is a form with four questions, these questions will be presented to the user in the order that they appear here.
However, we only really want to know if the respondent has a hat matching the reported favorite color.
So, only the matching color hat question is relevant.
For each of the hat questions, we are going to add Skip Logic.
Step 9: Add Skip Logic
Detailed instructions on how Skip Logic works are here.
The Skip Logic dialog is in the Properties View beneath the question properties.
Simply add the skip logic conditions by clicking on the line < Click here to add new condition >
The condition will assume that this question is relevant to a specific answer to the first question "What is your favorite color?".
Edit the condition to read <> What is your favorite color? is equal to: Red
This skip logic condition will cause the form to only show this question if the user has responded "Red" to the question "What is your favorite color?"
Add skip logic to the Blue hat and Green hat question:
<> What is your favorite color? is equal to: Blue
<> What is your favorite color? is equal to: Green
Now, the user will answer the favorite color question, and the next question will be the hat question with the relevant color, the other questions will be skipped.
Step 10: Add Validation Logic
Detailed instructions on how Validation logic works are here.
Validation logic, or data constraints, can make sure that data entered matches a certain pattern, like falling into a range.
For illustration, let's add a numerical entry question and constrain the answer.
Using the drop down menu from the Add question button in the tool bar.
An Integer question will only allow entry of whole numbers, and the use will be presented with a number keyboard for entry.
In the Properties view, edit the Question text to read "What is your Age?"
Next to the Skip Logic tab, click the tab that reads "Validation."
We are going to add a condition that will make sure that Age input is more than 18 and less than 99, so that our respondent is an adult, and a the user can't accidentally put in a meaningless number (like 999).
The Error message is only displayed if the user enters data that does NOT comply with the validation logic.
Click to add a new condition and edit it to read:
<> Value is greater than or equal to 18
Click to add another new condition and edit it to read:
<> Value is less than or equal to 100
Now, when this question is presented to the user, if a number that does not fall between 18 and 99, the error message will pop up. The user will have to enter a valid number to continue to the next question.
Step 10: Save the survey
Assuming that you have added all the questions for your survey, and set up the skip logic and validation for each question, then your survey is complete. You should save the survey. There are two kinds of saving, Save to Browser & Save to File.
If you are logged in to the browser with a username, you can save the file to your browser's HTML5 storage by selecting Save to Browser under the Main Menu. This is fine for a partially completed survey, but you will want to save to your file system before you can use the survey with KoBo Collect.
Select Save to File under the Main Menu
You may get a pop-up security warning that will ask for permission to save the file to your file system.
(also click "Always trust content from this publisher, unless you want to see this warning every time you save the file.)
You will get a file dialog that will allow you to rename your form, if you wish, and save the survey to your desktop or anywhere in your file-system you choose.
Your survey is complete.
Step 11: Load the survey onto an Android
Step 12: Collect Data
Using KoBo Collect, open your survey and collect some data. You can complete the form several times so that you have some data to work with.
More detailed instructions on using KoBo Collect can be found here.
Step 13: Synchronize Your Data
Using the KoBo Post Processor built into the Form Designer (or using the standalone version), synchronize your data from your Android to your filesystem.
The Post Processor will output a CSV file containing all the aggregated results of your collected data.
More detailed instructions for using the Post Processor can be found here.
The CSV is the terminal output of the KoBo system. It is up to the individual researcher to take the next steps.
Step 14: Analyze your data
Using Excel, SPSS, SAS, R, or another statistics analysis software, analyze the data you have collected.
Step 15: Report your Findings
Create a report that details and explains your results, put your data in context of a narrative.
Don't forget to add a methodology section and mention that you used KoBo for digital data collection, enabling your to collect fast, accurate data.
This is the end of the Getting Started Tutorial, please let us know if you have any feedback or questions by contacting us on the Contact Page.