Edit Question/Question Type, retain prior data

03-29-2022 07:15 AM
New Contributor II

Having created and posted a public survey using Survey123, we have identified a few errors. Can we make edits to questions and somehow retain the information already gathered?

1. For one question, the wording of the question needs to be adjusted, no changes to the answer options.

2. One multiple choice question could be improved with the addition of Other (and fill in) as an answer option.

3. A third question was created as a Numbers question but really would work better as Single-line text question.

The survey has already been completed by a number of members of the public. We do not want to lose the responses they have provided to us.

Are there ways to either:

  1. make these changes to the existing survey and retain the results OR
  2. creating a new version of the survey and merge the results of the old and new versions?


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2 Replies
Occasional Contributor

Good morning DaveJ, My experience has been that your suggested changes should not affect past data for questions 1 and 2.  To be more transparent, my experience has been modifying existing forms within Survey123 Connect and not via web tools.  My experience also includes new databases created by Survey123 Connect and connecting to existing feature services.  I have use "Other" only one time but Survey123 Connect created a new field for "Other" responses as a String and did not change the original field.  

Question 3 is changing the schema which, in GIS FGDBs, normally deletes the existing field from the database and creates a new field - in this case you might loose data.  I would suggest creating a new question for #3 with a new "name" in the XLSForm and hide the original question so that you don't delete the old data.  Once the form is published, you might go into the database with ArcGIS Pro and copy old data into the new field before deleting the original question #3.  

I hope this is all correct because I have not tested changing the schema of a question in Survey123 - this is based on my experience using ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro in ESRI file geodatabases and SQL Server geodatabases.

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New Contributor II


Thank you for replying. I have not had experience with most of the features you noted. I do get the general idea.

Did not have experience with Hiding a Question. I can see that as a workaround, possibly for all three instances. Not elegant, but it could work.

While extra review prior to posting would be the best prevention, things do get overlooked in the effort to get things posted and knowing some work-arounds always helps.

Still open to other options.



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