It can be useful to pass parameters to or from a 1000minds survey for purposes such as:

  • You have a database of stakeholders to survey and would like to pre-populate identifying information in the survey form, either to ensure accuracy or to simplify the process for those being surveyed.
  • You want to link a 1000minds survey to another survey tool such as a Google Forms survey and pre-populate identifying information in order to connect the data.
  • You want to link the 1000minds survey back to your own web site with identifying information.
  • You want to link two 1000minds surveys together.

Passing parameters from 1000minds to another site or survey tool

Example linking back to a web site

At the end of the 1000minds survey you might like to link the person back to your own web site. For example, imagine that Springfield City Council is running a survey of its citizens; it might want a message saying something like:

Citizen, thank you for your democratic contribution to the running of this fair town!

If you have more time, please return to Springfield’s Citizen Democracy Portal to help us to understand you even better.

Now, it might be nice if the link to the Citizen Democracy Portal were to include the person’s name and email address – given 1000minds has just asked for it, let’s not bother asking them for it again – and then the portal can welcome them back with a hearty “Dear Lisa...”

To pass these parameters back to the council’s web site, the URL for another page to finish on of the 1000minds survey page could be changed from, say:

http://portal.springfield-council.gov/surveys

to

http://portal.springfield-council.gov/surveys?&email={emailUrlEncoded}&name={fullnameUrlEncoded}&1000mindsID={1000mindsID}

When this link is embedded in URL for another page to finish on of the 1000minds survey page, the {emailUrlEncoded}, {fullNameUrlEncoded} and {1000mindsID} values will automatically be replaced with the person’s email address, full name and a unique ID for the respondent respectively.

Example using a Google Survey

1000minds lets you customise the page that is displayed when a person finishes a survey. This is a great place to either embed another survey tool or link to it.

The following example shows you how to craft a URL that will pass the email address and full name of the person on to a Google survey using the Google features documented at http://support.google.com/docs/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=160000.

First of all, follow the instructions in one of the step-by-step guides available from How to run a distributed process? to create a survey and embed the Google Forms survey at the end of the 1000minds survey (see the help tips).

Next, adjust the “src” attribute of the iframe URL to pass the name and address as parameters to the survey.

For example, you might change the address of the Google survey from something like this:

https://docs.google.com/a/1000minds.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dHhacTByNXNfZktFZXNPMU5EdjFpWGc6MQ

to something like this:

https://docs.google.com/a/1000minds.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dHhacTByNXNfZktFZXNPMU5EdjFpWGc6MQ&entry_0={emailUrlEncoded}&entry_1={fullnameUrlEncoded}&entry_2={1000mindsID}

When this link is embedded in URL for another page to finish on of the 1000minds survey page, the {emailUrlEncoded}, {fullNameUrlEncoded} and {1000mindsID} values will automatically be replaced with the person’s email address, full name and a unique ID for the respondent respectively. You don't have to use all of these values if you don't want to.

The Google fields are actually numbered pretty randomly. To discover the number you need to inspect the web page code, eg. in Google Chrome you could right click on it and choose Inspect Element.

Note we recommend using Wufoo (see below) rather than Google as it lets you hide fields and redirect between it and 1000minds more flexibly.

Passing parameters to a 1000minds survey from another site, tool, survey, database, email, etc

This requirement is rare because 1000minds already allows you to load up names and email addresses and send out a survey by email.

However, you might want to include a personalised link in something like a newsletter email or from a personalised section of a web site or from another survey tool that has already asked for the person’s name and address.

(Note that this won’t work with Google Docs or SurveyMonkey because they are unable to serve up parameterised URLs based on survey content, so it is better to put the 1000minds survey first, as above.)

First of all, follow the instructions in one of the step-by-step guides available from How to run a distributed process? to set up your survey in 1000minds with a “web sign-up address”. As an example I’ve set up this one (feel free to give it a go):

www.1000minds.com/go/MyTestSurvey

But let’s say we really want to automatically populate this form without the user even seeing it. To do this, your site/tool needs to generate a URL using the data about the person (either already collected from them or already known), adding other parameters to automatically sign-up the user, eg. this signs up Lisa:

www.1000minds.com/go/MyTestSurvey?auto=1&fullname=Lisa%20Simpson&email=lisa%40springfield-high.edu&comment=meh

auto=1 will bypass the start page if all the necessary parameters have been provided.

fullname is optional, but you could put the person’s name here or some kind of ID.

email is required only if it’s required by the survey, ie. these two checkboxes in 1000minds (when you’re setting up the survey at the email / webpage step):

  • Require participants’ email addresses (if you untick this, consider changing the instructions below)
  • Email sign-up web address to participants before they can start survey (so email addresses are verified)

We recommend you do require the email address if you have it (the first checkbox) so that they get sent a link back to the survey (in case they abandon the survey and want to return later to finish it). Requiring an email is the only way of ensuring a unique response for the user. For ease of use the second checkbox is best unticked.

comment is optional and is only displayed in 1000minds when you click on Participants.

Wufoo (recommended)

Wufoo is more flexible than Google Forms and although it's not free, it's relatively inexpensive. Wufoo lets you use hidden fields so that the respondent isn't bothered by them, and it lets you move to and from 1000minds. A common example is to have the respondent complete a 1000minds survey, then fill in demographic data at Wufoo, and then return to 1000minds to see the result of their 1000minds survey (eg. preference values or ranked alternatives).

First of all, sign up to Wufoo for free so that you can create a form and learn about how to customise it and get data out of it. Once you're comfortable with Wufoo, buy a month's access so that it will enable the advanced features you need below.

To record the 1000minds IDs (so you can match preference data with demographic data and so that you can return the participant to 1000minds after the Wufoo survey), you need to pass special parameters from 1000minds to the Wufoo form, store them in hidden fields, and then redirect back to 1000minds passing some of the fields back again.

Thus, to store hidden fields in the Wufoo form you simply create "Single Line Text" fields and enter hide where it says "Add CSS Layout Keywords". To be sure you have everything you might need, create hidden fields called 1000mindsID, 1000mindsParticipantID, 1000mindsResponseID.

To have these fields automatically populated when redirected from 1000minds, you need to enter something like this in URL for another page to finish on of the 1000minds survey page (e.g. start by copying and pasting this, but note “coolinc” and “your-cool-form-name” are made-up names, to be replaced by your own names):

https://coolinc.wufoo.eu/forms/your-cool-form-name/def/field128={1000mindsID}&field129={1000mindsParticipantID}&field130={1000mindsResponseID}

To find the correct field numbers (e.g. 128, 129, 130, as above), edit the Wufoo Form, click Form Settings and then click the Template Tags link. (Note 1: This Wufoo feature is only available if you've paid Wufoo for access. Note 2: To many web-savvy people, the above URL looks wrong because there's no question mark before all the parameters, but that's just the way Wufoo rolls!)

This is also where you configure Wufoo to return to 1000minds – under Form Settings, Confirmation Options, tick Redirect to Website and enter:

https://engine.1000minds.com/xFinish.aspx

(1000minds uses some cookies so that it knows where to return to.)

For more information, see Wufoo's URL-Modifications documentation.

Linking two 1000minds surveys together

Create a sign-up web address for the second survey, let's assume this is, www.1000minds.com/go/MyTestSurvey2.

Put this address in the first survey's URL for another page to finish on (at the bottom of the survey page) and append
?auto=1&1000mindsParticipantID={1000mindsParticipantID} so that the full address is

www.1000minds.com/go/MyTestSurvey2?auto=1&1000mindsParticipantID={1000mindsParticipantID}

NOTE: the two surveys must be in the same 1000minds Process for this to work.

Help

If you have any problems, email support@1000minds.com and we’ll help you with basic advice.

However, due to the large number of users of 1000minds surveys, we are sorry but we can’t afford to offer technical support for free without a license (see our pricing philosophy). If you are a researcher or student with an academic award, you might like to consult a colleague or friend who knows a bit about web development in order to understand how this all fits together.