The distribute question type prompts respondents to allocate numeric values among 2 to 7 items. It asks respondents to indicate how much value they see in each of the listed qualities, or how they would distribute a budget among listed items. 

To insert a distribute question, simply drag and drop the distribute icon from the sidebar into the survey editor. 

Next, you can adjust the number of items. To add items, simply click the “+” below the last item. 

To delete an item, hover to the left of the corresponding item number and click the “x” that appears. 

You can change the order in which items appear for each respondent by turning on global randomization. Even with global randomization selected, you can still anchor items in place. Simply activate the anchor icon adjacent to the desired item.

Then, enter the total amount in the format that’s relevant to your study in the sums/units field. For example, you can enter $100, £36, €50 etc., or $10/month, 5 tons/year, etc. We will mimic your format for each item and use it as the upper limit on each slider.

The combobox next to the sum/units field allows you to set up the increment and number of stops on the sliders. By default, it is set to the smallest increment and largest number of stops. You can adjust it to other increments according to your preference and common expectations for the currency/units you are using. The maximum number of steps on the slider is 100.

Now let’s explore two special settings for this question type: constant sum and continuous sum. 

Constant sum allows respondents to distribute a fixed budget among the listed items. Each time the respondent moves a slider, it will deduct a corresponding amount from the overall budget. The respondent must allocate the entire budget in order to advance to the next question. 

On the other hand, continuous sum allows respondents to position each item anywhere in the range from 0 to the upper limit, or specified sum. Use continuous sum if you would like to set the maximum limit for each item, but you’re not concerned about the overall sum, which will fluctuate. 

With continuous sum, you can choose to show the sum to respondents or hide it. It is useful to keep respondents appraised of the total amount that they’ve used among all items, such as when you collect feedback on the cost of an event or project. 

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