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URL to the Questionnaire

Every website needs its URL. So does your questionnaire. To lead questionees to your questionnaire, they will need this adress. This chapter gives tips on how to best use the URL and what possibilities you have.

The Survey's URL

The URL of your questionnaire is put together from SoSciSurvey's URL ( and the project directory (e.g. demo). Between those components is a slash (/). There is a slash at the end of the address as well, because the address refers to a directory, not a file:

You will find your survey's URL under Survey ProjectProject Settings → Tab General SettingsProject folder. There you can also change the project's folder – but only as long as the survey adminitsration period has not started yet. If necessary, you can change the survey period at any time (e.g. set the start of the period to tomorrow's date).

Note: If you omit the slash at the end, the participant will still be automatically forwarded to the directory – you can see that the slash in the address line of the browser is added. This redirection will take a short moment, however.

In the link you can send SoSci Survey further instructions and information. For example, which questionnaire should be opened (if there are several questionnaires in the project) or that the dataset has a marker/reference (e.g. the subgroup that the participant belongs to).


The instruction/information (parameters) always have the same structure: There is a key that specifies which parameter it is, and a value that is to be transmitted for this parameter. Parameters or keys are available:

To set parameters in the link, you need to learn a little about the GET syntax of the HTTP protocol:

  • Between key and value there is an equal sign (=')
  • Several parameters are separated by an ampersand (&)
  • Between the survey URL (see above) and the parameter there is a question mark (?)


Warning: When you insert a link in Outlook or Word, a distinction is made between the text that is displayed and where the link actually points (for testing: If you change something in the link, then you may only change the text, but not the link behind it!

Note: To use the parameters documented below, no adjustments are required in SoSci Survey or in the Project Settings. Just copy the the survey's URL (e.g., write the parameters (e.g. ?r=Berlin%) behind it and insert the link ( in an email or as a link on a website.

Note: Please read above what the question mark (?) and the ampersand (&) are all about and how they are used in the link.

Note: The keys for the parameters can be adjusted under Survey ProjectProject Settings → Tab Expert SettingsVariables in the Questionnaire's URL. Normally this is not necessary and we generally advise against changing the keys.


In a survey project 3 target groups are addressed. In the survey project two questionnaires “q1” and “q2” are created. The target groups “A” and “B” should receive the questionnaire “q1” and target group “C” the questionnaire “q2”. The data record should then show to which target group each row of data belongs.

Target group “A” is addressed in a forum. The following link will be placed there:

Target group “B” is recruited via a banner. The banner calls the following link:

Target group “C” is invited by email. The following link will be sent via the company's email distribution list:

If the questionnaire is called up via the first link, the value “A” is stored in the data record in variable “REF” - correspondingly “B” and “C” are stored for the other two links.

Important: Please read the notes (above).

Selection of a questionnaire (q)

In case you have created more than one questionnaire in your survey project, you can decide, which questionnaire is being shown. You have two options on how to do this (see also: Random Questionnaires)

  1. Standard questionnaire: If only one questionnaire (of several created questionnaires) should be shown, you can define the standard questionnaire at Compose Questionnaire → Further Questionnaires → Random selection for questionnaires. Whenever the project directory is called with no further q-parameters, it will open the standard questionnaire.
  2. Specific selection: To select a specific questionnaire, use the parameter q and the questionnaire's ID (Name). To choose the questionnaire “qn” in the project “demo”, use:
  3. Random selection: In case you want SoSciSurvey to choose randomly between several questionnaires, set this at Compose Questionnaire → Further Questionnaires → Random selection for questionnaires. Whenever the project directory is called with no further q-parameters, it will open a randomly chosen questionnaire.

Marking a URL (r)

If you want to track where your participants come from (e.g. you invited them by email and via Facebook and want to see which was more successful), you might want to “mark” the URL.

This is also useful, if you would like to save a unique ID for participants into the dataset. E.g. when sending two questionnaires to two different people that belong together (wife and husband) and you want to be able to allocate those later on, you can send them a link with the same ID (in this case you are able to send them different questionnaires by using different q, but same r-parameters).

You do this by using the parameter r. The text following the parameter will simply be saves as a variable REF into the dataset. So when someone clicks the link you will find the reference “12345” in the dataset.

Advice: In general, you are able to use any signs except single and double quotes (' and "), equal-signs (=) and the ampersand (&). However, spaces and other special signs can cause problems depending on browser interpretation. To avoid any problems, use only letters, numbers and the underscore (_).

Important: Please read the notes (above).

Delivering a Serial (s)

A special case of marking is the serial. This is a one-time-password that allows him to access a questionnaire using Access restrictions.

For this to work, every participant needs his valid serial. He doesn't need to type it in by himself – this is why the serial can be added as the parameter s to the URL:

Tip: When sending personalized URLs using serials, participants are able to interrupt the interview and resume it later where they left off. This even works for questionnaires that are basically public. Nevertheless, every participant needs to have his own serial beforehand.

Important: An individual serial is only valid until exactly one questionnaire is completed. Afterwards, the serial is used up.

Important:​ An individual serial is only valid until the questionnaire was completed (to the last page) once. For details see Serial Numbers.

Participation code serial mail (d)

If sending a serial mail using SoSciSurvey and using the placeholder %link% for personalized links, SoSciSurvey will attach the parameter d (delivery ID).

This is a software-internal code that is being recreated for every serial mail and every participant. So the parameter d should be left to the software and should not be used by yourself.

Specify a language (l)

If several languages are available to the questionnaire, you can specify it using the parameter l. After the equal sign, place the three-figure language code. The statement in the URL overwrites the language setting of the questionnaire.


Password (password)

In case you have secured your questionnaire by passwords, you can deliver those in the link. The parameter is password. If the password was “secret123”, the following link would give access to the questionnaire:

However, it is not reasonable to post a link containing a password publicly on a webpage. This makes the password protection useless. Using this parameter is more useful when inviting participants via email. But the more secure way is using the serial mail or the serial number (because those are one-time only).

Variing the pretest-mode (debug)

When a questionnaire is in pretest, the participants can receive a particular pretest-version with a feedback option or the original questionnaire. The first one is standard when your survey is in pretest. Stating the parameter debug (with no value this time), will call for the original version:

If you want to lead pretesters to the original version without them having to type a password, you can combine the parameters debug and password:

Interview Token (i)

Each interview has an unique token (ID string). This token is accessible via caseToken() or the placeholder %caseToken%.

If a suspended interview's token is known (e.g., because it was sent to an external website), the interview can be resumed, using the i parameter containing the token:

User defined variables

Using the PHP-function readGET() allows you to call user defined variables from the questionnaire's URL.

You should not use the above variables (q, r, s, d, l, password, debug) as well as the following: a, act, adid, ajax, file, image, info, script, sp, t

To ensure your user defined variables won't collide with standard variables, choose a name starting with u. Those are explicitly reserved for user defined variables.

en/survey/url.txt · Last modified: 27.11.2020 21:18 by sophia.schauer
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