Editing a survey: you tested your survey, you sent it to your customers to collect responses and now you’re ready to collect your data. But all of a sudden you realize you forgot a question or one of your options is incorrect.

What to do now? Is it correct to edit a live survey or we have to accept the error and go on?


Yes to editing a survey, but be careful

Editing a survey is always possible: errare humanum est (“To err is human”) and we don’t have a time machine yet. But it’s good practice to keep in mind some expedients.

Let’s check our “best practices”:

1 Before editing make sure your survey is “not live”
We suggest to set your survey link on “not live” and to put it back on just after your editing is done.
2 How many answers did you get?
 if you got no answer, you can edit the entire survey without corrupting answers
⁃ if you got few answers, you can still do some editing without conditioning results
3 Change answer options
Editing or adding an answer option can be a good way to correct survey errors especially if you used matrix questions. Be very careful if you decide to delete survey questions as it may corrupt your data. It’s better to hide it with a special logic condition.
4 Adding a question? Yes, but with logic
Did you forget a specific question? You can always add that. But remember to add it in the rightest position so that the survey still has the correct logic flow.
5 Including new rules to your survey? Here’s how with no risk
Do you want the respondent to be able to answer the survey multiple times? Do you want the interview to be anonymous?  
You can do any of this editing with no consequences on the results.
6 Deleting questions but not data
Don’t take things lightly: deleting a question you may also lose related answers. Here are two solutions:

  • You can create a copy of your survey and edit that. Once all is done you can go live with this copy;
  • You can duplicate the question to edit and hide the incorrect one. All collected answers will be saved.

The best solution

So, with this in mind, all modern software for survey management can edit or delete questions and answers with no consequences on collected data. Also, most professional tools have a test mode that allows you to check a preview survey and edit the questionnaire before it’s live.
For example, IdSurvey saves collected answers even if you delete or edit a question or answer option and allows you to use the survey test mode for a seamless survey design process.


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