You are currently viewing Learn how to optimize your survey form with pre-loaded choice lists
SurveyCTO Webinar Series: Learn how to optimize your survey form with pre-loaded choice lists

Much of survey work and data collection is longitudinal in nature, involving repeated observations of the same variables over a period of time. If there is pre-existing data, it can be really helpful to reference and use to confirm the same subjects observed in current survey projects.

When collecting data, it’s common to ask respondents questions to which you already know the range of answers. At other times, it makes sense to provide a list of possible answers to prevent others from being offered. While it’s easy to create choice lists in SurveyCTO, we recommend loading multiple choices from pre-loaded data if the lists sizes are large.

In our last webinar, we walked you through “pre-loading,” a SurveyCTO feature that allows you to pre-populate forms with pre-existing data. In this webinar, we’ll continue guiding you on how to pre-load data; however, this time we’ll show you how to return a list of values instead of individual values, by pre-loading choice lists for select_one and select_multiple fields with pre-existing data.

Specifically, you’ll receive step-by-step guidance on the following:

  • Attaching pre-loaded data to a form, to query from inside the form.
  • The syntax of the search() function, which is used to query your attached pre-loaded data and turn into choice lists.
  • Configuring the whole process of loading multiple choices from pre-loaded data using the form designer.

This will help save you time when designing your form, optimize your form’s performance, and ensure that you collect the best quality data possible.

Relevant links for this webinar:

You can also check out the video recording of our last webinar on how to pre-load data into your forms. And if you need help now, our support team is available 24×7. Go to the Support Center and click on the link to “Submit a support request.” No question is too small.

Chris Robert


Chris is the founder of SurveyCTO. He now serves as Director and Founder Emeritus, supporting Dobility in a variety of part-time capacities. Over the course of Dobility’s first 10 years, he held several positions, including CEO, CTO, and Head of Product.

Before founding Dobility, he was involved in a long-term project to evaluate the impacts of microfinance in South India; developed online curriculum for a program to promote the use of evidence in policy-making in Pakistan and India; and taught statistics and policy analysis at the Harvard Kennedy School. Before that, he co-founded and helped grow an internet technology consultancy and led technology efforts for the top provider of software and hardware for multi-user bulletin board systems (the online systems most prominent before the Internet).