Add participant screening questions

To make sure your participants meet your criteria you can set screening questions at the start of your study.

Updated over a week ago

How to create an in-study participant screening question

Adding screening questions at the beginning of your study makes sure that you only receive responses from participants who meet certain criteria. Screening questions come in handy in a number of situations.

You can add multiple screening questions to your study to help you get the responses you need. Keep in mind that the more screening questions you add, the more criteria your participants need to meet in order to take your study.

Screening questions and our participant recruitment service

If you find yourself adding a large number of screening questions to your study, you may benefit from ordering participants through our participant recruitment service instead.

We offer two types of participant recruitment:

  • In-app order: You can order participants in the Recruit tab in Treejack, OptimalSort, Chalkmark or Questions. You can set basic demographic information such as age range, country, gender, occupation status and education level.

  • Custom recruitment order: You can order targeted participants by getting in touch with our customer success team. This type of recruitment order allows you to get very specific with your criteria, which basically pre-screens your participants for you.

We still recommend including a screener, even if you’re using targeted recruitment. This acts as an extra check to ensure you’re getting the right participants for your study. For example, recruited participants’ circumstances may have changed and this is yet to be updated.

You can find more information on our recruitment service and its interaction with screening questions in the section ‘Using a screening question with our participant recruitment service’.

How to set up your screening question

1. Add a screening question

On the Questionnaire tab of the study setup page press the “+ Add screening question” button. Type your question into the Question box then select the way you’d like your candidates to respond from the Options section.

There are three options available:


This is the option we’d encourage you to use.

These are good to hide the intention of your study so participants can’t guess what the study is about and provide whatever answer they think will get them through to the next question.

Ideally, a checkbox screener would have one answer that aligns with your study, and lots of answers that are irrelevant to your study. Depending on your screener question, it doesn’t matter how many of the irrelevant answers participants select.

We recommend including the answer ‘none’ or ‘none of the above’ to eliminate participants selecting all answers.

Radio button:

This is a button that a participant can click to ‘check’ or select, like a checkbox. Unlike the checkbox, the participant can only click one option.

Drop-down: This will produce a drop-down menu that your participants can select one answer from.

2. Choose which responses will accept and reject candidates

Once you’ve selected your question type, you’ll add in your options (the participant’s choice of responses) by clicking the “+Add option” button.

Your screening questions must have at least 1 correct response available so the correct participants can move through to the study. Your screening questions also must have at least 1 incorrect response that will reject some candidates. In other words, you cannot launch a study with all correct responses or all incorrect responses.

To select the response(s) that will reject your candidates, simply select “Reject” in the drop-down for all that apply.

3. Choose how rejected candidates will be handled

Rejection Message:

You can choose to provide your rejected candidates with a Rejection Message. This is the default option when you add a screening question to your study.

There is already a default message provided in the “Rejection Message” text box. If you want to, this can be edited to display the message of your choice by simply pressing the “Edit” button.

Rejection URL:

Alternatively, instead of being shown the Rejection Message, rejected candidates can be redirected to a Rejection URL of your choice by filling in the “Rejection URL” box.

4. Complete the setup of your study and launch it

Once you’ve completed the rest of the set up for your study, have a quick preview to check that it’s all working correctly.

Once you’ve done that, you can launch your study and share the link to your study to start getting those responses rolling in! Your participants will see the screening question on the welcome page of your study, pictured below.

How to check the effectiveness of your screening questions

To see if your screening questions are doing their job, simply head on over to the Results section of your study and select the Overview tab. In the Summary, look for the message “xx (xx%) of applicants have been screened out of participating in the study.” This will tell you how many candidates have been rejected from your study.

Participants that have been rejected will not show up in the results of your study, they can be found in the ‘excluded participants’ list as they did not actually enter the study in the first place. This way, you can rest assured your results will be targeted and high quality.

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