Problem with criteria - wrong questions sent

Hi Ethica team,

Since a few days, two of my participants are receiving wrong questions for survey 19038 (study #3302). When answering “no” on a certain question (specifically #6), they should not receive a certain number of questions. However, it seems that they receive at least one (or more) questions that they should not based on the criteria properties of that question (concerns question #90). It also seems very random because that question was prompted while the ones before with similar criteria properties were not prompted. The criteria for that question is Q6 != 1 AND Q7 == 5 OR Q7 == 6 OR Q7 == 7 OR Q7 == 8 OR Q7 == 10 AND Q7 != 1 AND Q7 != 2 AND Q7 != 3 AND Q7 != 4 AND Q7 != 9 .
Until a few days ago, this worked properly without any problems. I did not make any changes to the survey. In the preview, it also works correctly. I just published it again (without any changes) as I thought it might help.

Could you please have a look at this quickly, as it is quite frustrating for the participants?

Thank you very much in advance!

Dear Susanne,

I speculate that you were able to solve the problem by using parentheses in your criterias. I used “Activity Response” page to see the responses that had “Q6 == 1 (niet)” and responseful “Q90” and I saw that these cases were for version 10 or below of the Survey 19038 where the Q90 had a criteria without explicit parentheses to group the expressions:
Q6 != 1 AND Q7 == 5 OR Q7 == 6 OR Q7 == 7 OR Q7 == 8 OR Q7 == 10 AND Q7 != 1 AND Q7 != 2 AND Q7 != 3 AND Q7 != 4 AND Q7 != 9
which is roughly equivalent to:
((((((((((Q6 != 1 AND Q7 == 5) OR Q7 == 6) OR Q7 == 7) OR Q7 == 8) OR Q7 == 10) AND Q7 != 1) AND Q7 != 2) AND Q7 != 3) AND Q7 != 4) AND Q7 != 9)

Which means that if the criteria below is evaluated to true, then the criteria for Q90 would surely become true as well:
(Q7 == 6 OR Q7 == 7 OR Q7 == 8 OR Q7 == 10) AND Q7 != 1 AND Q7 != 2 AND Q7 != 3 AND Q7 != 4 AND Q7 != 9.

In the cases that I found, Q7 weren’t presented (due the the fact that it had the criteria of Q6>1). Thus the system assumes the last response to Q7 in past sessions then, which was {7,5}. This makes the criteria true and therefore, Q90 is presented.

Please note that our criteria system is one of the most robust parts of our system and it never acts randomly. There are always a good explanation on why something may have happened and it’s often because of an error in the usages of the criteria system. You can always use Ethica’s Filter Box feature in the Activity Responses page to debug what has happened and how to improve the criteria expressions you write.


Dear @sepehr,

Thank you for your response. Yes, I tried out different options to prevent as much data loss as possible. I didn’t know that parentheses were possible because if I recall correctly, I could not add them when I first created the survey.

Also, I thought that if Q7 isn’t presented, Ethica would just use the first criteria (Q6 != 1). But if it uses last responses as indication, it makes sense that these items were displayed. It appeared ‘random’ to me as some participants received follow up questions regarding Q7==1 and others to Q7 != 1, but that was because that is how they responded earlier. Thanks for clarifying that!
I’ve tried the Filter Box before as well, but it didn’t work for me. Will try it again following the instructions you sent.

Best wishes,