Recollective Fall 2016 Update

Written by Philippe Dame • Posted on October 25, 2016
artboard-2 We're improving Recollective on a daily basis and have small updates going out weekly. We're also hard at work on bigger features that we aim to release every 2 to 3 months. The most recent update to Recollective started rolling out mid-October and it introduced a major new task type we call "Fill the Blanks". task-type-list

"Fill the Blanks" Task Type

This new task type allows you to create a template response for your participants whereby they need only complete the questions or "blank spaces" you define. Relative to the task types already available in Recollective, Fill the Blanks has some unique advantages:
  • Free-form structure maximizes flexibility
  • Efficient to setup and complete due to density of questions on a single page
  • Allows for greater guidance and consistency in responses
The task type can be used a number of ways:
  • Qualitative research via projective and storytelling techniques
  • Quantitative research via short surveys
  • Basic data collection via online forms


Watch a quick demonstration below (4:03):

Task Response Template

There are two primary ways to layout the template response of a Fill the Blanks task and you're welcome to mix the two, or come up with your own. The first approach is to place the blanks inline with your template text as shown below. Participants simply complete the sentences. The second approach is to arrange text labels above blanks like a form or survey. Blanks are then typically put on their own line and given a size to guide the desired response. formstyle There's nothing preventing you from creating your own layout and even mixing images with your template text and blanks.

Defining Blanks

When configuring the response template, you add a blank by pressing the Insert Blank button. You can also highlight any text you've typed or pasted and then select Convert to Blank (the highlighted text becomes question in a single step). You can currently choose between two types of blanks:
  • Plain Text
  • Poll

Plain Text Blanks

The open-ended Plain Text blank is ideal for capturing a single word, phrase or a paragraph. You can enforce minimum and maximum character limits as needed. Text collected in a Plain-Text blank will appear in its own word cloud and roll-up to be included in the overall word cloud found on the Summary tab. wordsoverview

Poll Blanks

You can ask a closed-ended question by selecting Poll as the blank type and then defining a list of choices. The blank can be configured to accept a single choice or allow multiple choices. Those choices can be randomized with select choices locked into place, and they can be configured drive participant segmentation (both adding or removing segments as needed). Each Poll blank will get its own chart overview that will also roll-up alongside all other chartable task types. chartsoverview

Required vs. Optional

If the overall task is configured as Required, then at least one blank must be completed by the participant, even if all blanks are configured as optional. Blanks can be individually set as required (which is the default).

Presentation Options

Once a blank has been added to the response template, you can click it again to access a menu to customize how it appears: blank-actionmenu blank-customlabel
Things to consider:
  • Is there enough context for the blank to really start blank or do you want to include the question or some other text?
  • Should it appear inline with template text, be on its own line?
  • If the blank is on its own line, how wide and tall should it be?

Stream and Excerpts

Like all other tasks types, Recollective will provide a compact summary of responses in the Stream. From there you can provide feedback, mark it "reviewed" and access various overviews. You can restore line breaks and even save excerpts that include the template text for added context, all without leaving the stream. stream-expand-excerpt


The Fill the Blanks task is ideal for capturing both qualitative and quantitative data. It offers a lot of room for creativity. With the ability to place dozens of open and closed ended questions on the same page, we hope both administrators and participants will have a better overall experience. We really hope you enjoy this new capability and can't wait to see all the creative ways it will be put to use in your studies. Please send us your feedback as usual. Note that we plan to add more types of blanks in the near future. Let us know what you'd like to see!

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