Importing Data From Qualtrics

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This page contains details about using SPSS .sav files from Qualtrics. Please note that if your Qualtrics account permits, you can also obtain your survey data from Qualtrics directly by using their API - see Importing Data from the Qualtrics API.

Qualtrics Export Steps

To download SPSS data from Qualtrics, use the following options:

  1. On the Data & Analysis tab, click Export/Import > Export Data.
  2. In the next dialogue box and select SPSS.
  3. Click More Options at the bottom, and tick Recode seen but unanswered questions as -99. Then click the blue -99 and change it to 0 (zero).
  4. Click the Download button at the bottom.

Notes for Using Qualtrics

There are some aspects of the way Qualtrics' SPSS files are generated that require extra care and consideration when the file is imported into Q:

  • Qualtrics truncates their Variable Labels to 99 characters. Qualtrics' support recommends that question labels and/or variable labels are added for answer choices, that labels are shortened, or that they are edited after the download. Alternatively, when scripting a Qualtrics survey, ensure that long introductions and question texts are kept in Descriptive Text nodes, with shorter text in the question text proper.
  • Multiple-response variables in Qualtrics SPSS exports do not include a Missing Value for respondents who skip a question or option. Ordinarily, Q uses the missing values to determine the base sample size for the question when it is displayed in a table. For Qualtrics data files, Q will automatically rebase multiple-response questions to the NET, which corresponds to the set of respondents who have made at least one selection among the options in the question. In situations where this is not desired, such questions can be rebased by using one of the methods outlined here.
  • When multiple select style questions show images as the options to choose (rather than labels), the file names of the images are not stored in the data, and this results in blank Variable Labels. Manual labeling may therefore be required.
  • It is further possible to duplicate question/variable names in Qualtrics. Always ensure that these are unique prior to export, as these are instrumental to Q when deciding which variables should be grouped together into questions.
  • The data stored by Qualtrics for their Conjoint question type shows the results of the experiment (e.g. utility scores), but does not include the raw data used to calculate those results. As such it is not appropriate for use in Q's Experiment question type.
  • Value Labels for Bipolar and Profile questions may require manual editing (see below for details).
  • Like/Dislike Hotspot questions can sometimes have extra, empty variables included (see below for details).
  • Q's ability to set up Qualtrics files depends on certain aspects of the structure of the data file. It is best to not edit the data file in SPSS or any other data processing software before importing it into Q.

Qualtrics question types mapping in Q

The below table clarifies how the various Qualtrics question types are set up by Q upon data file import.

Qualtrics Question Type Qualtrics sub-type How it appears in Q See also
Multiple Choice Single Answer (all layouts) Pick One
Multiple Choice Multiple Answer (all layouts) Pick Any
Multiple Choice Dropdown List; Select Box Pick One
Multiple Choice Multiple Selection Box Pick Any
Text Entry Single Line; Multiline; Password; Essay; Form Text
Rank Order Drag and Drop; Drag and Drop Graphic; Radio Buttons; Horizontal; Horizontal Graphic; Horizontal Text Entry; Selection Box; Vertical; Vertical Graphic; Vertical Text Entry Number - Multi If open text is also collected, this will appear as Text in Q.
Matrix Table Bipolar; Likert, Single Answer; Likert, Drop Down List; Profile, Drop Down List; Profile, Single Answer Pick One - Multi Notes below Bipolar and Profile Questions
Matrix Table Likert, Multiple Answer; Profile, Multiple Answer Pick Any - Grid
Matrix Table Constant Sum, with Total Box; Constant Sum, without Total Box; Rank Order Number - Grid
Matrix Table MaxDiff Number - Multi
Matrix Table Text Entry, Short; Text Entry, Medium; Text Entry, Long Text
Slider Draggable Bars; Draggable Sliders; Stars Number - Multi
Constant Sum Draggable Bars; Horizontal Graphic; Horizontal Text; Vertical Graphic; Vertical Text; Vertical Text Entry; Vertical Graphic w/Total; Vertical Text w/Total Number - Multi
Hot Spot Like / Dislike Pick One - Multi Notes below Hot Spot - Like/Dislike
Hot Spot On / Off Pick Any
Graphic Slider Text Above; Text Below; Text Right; Text Left Pick One
Heat Map Heat Map Number - Multi
Net Promoter Score NPS Pick One
Side by Side Side by Side N/A Qualtrics - Side by Side
Pick, Group, and Rank Drag and Drop; Drag and Drop, No Columns N/A Qualtrics - Pick, Group, and Rank
Drill Down Drill Down N/A Qualtrics - Drill Down
Gap Analysis Negative; Positive N/A Qualtrics - Gap Analysis

Bipolar and Profile Questions

In Qualtrics the Bipolar and Profile question types allow the survey author to have several different scales within the same question layout. In most cases people would probably use the same scale for each item, but this is not mandatory. When the data is imported into Q, these different scales will get grouped together as there is no information in the data file to say that the scales are different.

For example, we may have two five-point scales within the same Bipolar question: one may be a satisfaction scale, and the other a frequency of consumption scale. In cases like this, there is no reason to show the two scales in the same table because they are not comparable. Thus, in Q, we split these items into separate questions.

A Bipolar question in Qualtrics appears as a Pick One – Multi question in Q where the meaning of the scale is shown in the row labels rather than the columns. To split these up, do the following:  

  1. Highlight the variables for the Bipolar question in the Variables and Questions tab.
  2. Right-click and select Revert to Source.
  3. For each of the variables, note the text in the Label column (which describes the scale), then click the Values (...) button and modify the entries in the Label column appropriately for the scale.
  4. Update the Question text to reflect the scale.

A Qualtrics Profile question is similar except that the categories do not necessarily have to be a scale. You can employ a similar strategy to the above. However, when exported from Qualtrics, the value labels are stored as “Answer 1”, “Answer 2” etc., and so you will need to enter in the correct category labels manually.   In both cases, if the sets of categories are the same between items, then you can simply leave the questions as Pick One - Multi questions.

Hot Spot - Like/Dislike

For Like/Dislike Hotspot questions, Qualtrics sometimes stores extra variables in addition to the variables for the areas of the image specified in the questionnaire programming. These variables appear to be empty, and it is likely just an error in the Qualtrics export process. To remove the extra variables from the question, highlight the relevant rows in the Variables and Questions tab, right-click and select Split Variables from Question.