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Branching

5th Gear: Branching forms -- creating unique forms depending on user responses (great for assessing what students really know and don’t know) -- Or return to 4th Gear: Scripts.

We’re about to delve back into the form side of things and start looking at some more advanced approaches to building your form.One feature we’ll work with is the Page Break item. But, used with the Multiple Choice or Choose from a List field types, you can create branching forms that respond to answers by serving appropriate questions that follow.

To get an idea of your options, take a look at the chart below.

The left-hand column has a straightforward path from beginning to end. Users answer a few questions, click “Next” and get the next set of questions. They repeat this until they reach the end and submit their response.

The right-hand columns are a little more complicated. Take a moment to study it, then read the description that follows.

Page Breaks (Automatic)

 

Page Breaks (Conditional)

Page one 

 

Page One

 

Item 1 leads to...

 

Item 1



 

Page two

 

leads to...

Item 1 B   .... or...

Item 1 C  .... or...

Item 1 D

Item 2 leads to...

 

Item 2

 

 

Page three

 

 leads to...

Item 2 B    .... or...

Item 2 C    .... or...

Item 2 D

Item 3

 

Item 3

Etc…

Submit

 

Submit

The right-hand columns require a bit of planning in advance, but they can be powerful in creating a form that is tailored to the particular user filling it out. 

In this scenario, the user’s answer to Item 1 determines whether the next item is 1B, 1C, or 1D. Likewise, the answer to that question determines the next item: 2, 2B, 2C, or 2D (or back to 1, or any other item for that matter).

Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure approach.  Each item chooses the next item from a range of possibilities. We’ll look at a couple examples of why you’d want to use these, and take a look at how to create them, but for now, keep in mind the following:

·         Only Multiple Choice and Choose from a List field types allow you to use conditional navigation

·         Users can go back from subsequent pages without recording their choices in both options. 

Now let's create one.Return to the form you started earlier and go to the last item on the page (your second question, or maybe your third or fourth?) 

1.    Choose the arrow below your last item and select Page break

2.    The item that appears says that the title of your new page is optional, but I recommend giving it a logical title.

3.    Once you’ve created your new page, you can continue creating new items just as before.

4.    If you want to create a second new page (making a total of three)  and a few quick items below, we’ll see how a branching form can work.  

NOTE: Google Forms attempts to help you by remembering the last item type you created. So when you want to switch from Page break to multiple choice, be sure to use the dropdown arrow to make your selection. Otherwise you’ll end up with lots of new pages!

Here’s a sample of what your form might look like when you’re done with this process:


I created four new pages (Chocolate options, Vanilla options, Container options, and Waffle options).

Then I created a single item on each new page. The first one, Chocolate type, is a multiple choice item. The other two are Choose from a list. (Normally, I’d advise using a consistent approach, but this shows the options in the first and squeezes the next two on the screen shot).

All three of these pages appear below my original 3 question form that I created earlier.

If I wanted my respondents to simply move through the form from start to finish, I’d be done. But I want more….

By creating page breaks in Google Forms, you can control the path that your respondents use, based on their answers to previous questions. (Remember, the original question for this feature must be either Multiple Choice or Choose from a List type).

Here’s how to do it.


I return to my first question on my form, the one that asks visitors to choose their favorite ice cream flavor. Next to the “Choose from a List” option, there’s a checkbox called “Go to page based on answer”.

Once I checked this box, each of my options in my list suddenly had a new option to its right that says:

“Go to next page” with an arrow next to it. This is the default setting, but I can change it.

By clicking on the arrow I can choose from any of the pages in the form. Since I’ve titled them, it’s easy to find the one I want. I have a second question for those who like chocolate, and a second one for those who like vanilla. The others don’t have second questions, so I simply let them move on to the next option.

Here’s what it looks like after I’ve made my page selections.

When someone chooses Chocolate or Vanilla, they will be presented with a second, clarifying question. If they choose one of the other choices, they’ll simply move on to the question about cones and containers.

Here’s an overview of what’s going on.

Ice Cream Choice

Chocolate Choice

Vanilla Choice

Container Choice

Waffle Choice

Submit

Chocolate

X

 

X

Cake

 

X

Vanilla

 

X

X

Sugar

 

X

Rocky Road

 

X

Waffle

X

X

Mint Chip

 

X

None

 

X

Strawberry

 

X

 

Here's the final form version of the form created using this flowchart. Feel free to try out different responses to see how the resulting options change. 

This can be a powerful way to fine tune how you collect data from various visitors to your form. It takes a little planning and some careful tweaking, but if you know the limits of what you can do with branching forms, you can probably come up with a variety of uses that are well within the limits.

Just keep in mind that if you want conditional navigation, you can only use Multiple Choice of Choose from a List to start the branching action. Once you reach your destination, you can use any type of form item. 



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