I am preparing the questionnaire for my Doctor of Business Administration research; for the purposes of this question (on Academia SE), I am investigating techniques used in customising cars. It is conceivable that a respondent has used several techniques, so I envisage repeating the same questions, each time for a a different car or technique.

I imagine that the same repeating structure would be needed in a medical exam, where the respondent can give data about several complaints.

Is there a name for this technique? Does it have a canonical source?

I appreciate that this question might not be within the scope of this site.

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about the contents of research, specifically survey design, and not about academia
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 8:50

2 Answers 2


This is a form of branching (I guess "conditional branching" based on a screening question).

A good model for this is the Bureau of Justic Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey. In that survey, respondents are asked screening questions that identify incidents of crime victimization (e.g., respondent was attacked). Respondents are then asked to complete an "incident report", which asks an extensive number of questions about the episode of victimization. Here's an example of such an incident report for the 2012 survey. Respondents may complete zero of these incident reports or they complete up to ten.

Another, simpler, model is the U.S. Census (or most household surveys) that ask for basic details about household members. For example, the 2010 Census Form asked for details of up to 12 household members. In a telephone or online context, of course, respondents would not see the questions relating to household members beyond the number they initially list.

  • This is the correct idea, but I wanted to know whether this technique had a name. What you called 'branching' is more commonly known as 'filtering' - there are 'filter questions'. In the time since writing the question, I seem to dropped this idea of repeating sections from the questionnaire. Commented May 31, 2014 at 3:49

It is usually referred to as a "checklist". This term also implies that multiple answers are allowed, while "multiple choice" may mean either single or multiple answers.

Depends you how you structure it, the name can change as well. For instance if you line up all the customizing techniques in columns and all the cars in rows, the questionnaire then can be called a "checklist matrix".

Regardless what you end up calling it, people are usually not very good at identifying the names of all these questionnaire formats. So, I will suggest attaching a non-technical description (like your question's wording) and/or an actual sample question in your document to avoid misunderstanding.

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