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How to identify Survey Builder respondent

It has been a while since I have worked on the APEX Survey Builder packaged application but I still get questions about it. One question that comes up repeatedly is how to associate the questionnaire responses with the person that responded. At first this question surprised me somewhat because survey research is about populations not individuals so surveys should be anonymous. To quote Designing an Effective Survey by Mark Kasunic:

“A survey, when conducted properly, allows you to generalize about the beliefs and opinions of many people by studying a subset of them”

Survey research lets you say with confidence “87% of our customers feel that the produce makes them more productive” not that John Snyders thinks he is more productive after using the product.

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Survey Builder Design

One of my first projects after joining the APEX team was creating the Survey Builder packaged application (available in Oracle Application Express 4.2.2). This was my first experience creating an APEX app. A number of people helped out on the implementation (especially on reports) and also helped me learn APEX. I worked on the overall design and functionality and focused on implementing the questionnaire page and questionnaire editing page, both of which required lots of JavaScript. The paper Designing an Effective Survey by Mark Kasunic provided invaluable background information on the survey process and I recommend it to anyone new to conducting survey research.

Survey Builder is a little different from typical APEX apps (if there even is such a thing as a typical APEX app). Here I want to describe a couple of requirements that shaped its design and the resulting APEX implementation. A great thing about APEX is that it comes with a number of fully functional packaged applications such as Survey Builder that you can use as-is, tweak to do what you want or just open up to see how it works. So feel free to install Survey Builder, unlock it, and follow along.

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