Open end encoder

The Open end encoder is IdSurvey’s tool that allows you to assign an answer code to any open-ended response in order to simplify data analysis. With this tool you can transform textual answers into structured, quantifiable data, making it easier to identify recurring themes, trends, and opinions expressed by participants. Open end encoder allows you to categorize answers into predefined groups or create new categories based on the content of the answers themselves, improving the effectiveness and accuracy of the interpretation of collected data.

Open end encoder integrates advanced AI features to associate open ends semi-automatically with the answer options in the question. In addition, it can suggest new options if trends emerge that were not predicted in the original question. This makes the procedure extremely powerful and immediate, improving efficiency and accuracy in data analysis and allowing it to capture nuances and insights that might otherwise be missed.

Example of use

Let’s imagine a simple question as an example. In the question, the respondent is asked to choose which color they prefer. The question has only a few main colors (Green, Red and Blue) and an open-ended “Other, please specify.”

Some respondents indicated colors such as “light green” or “ruby red,” which could be assigned to the closed options “Green” and “Red,” already provided in the question.
By manual or automatic assignment -with the support of artificial intelligence- you can easily reassign these answers to existing options, so you can optimize the survey dataset by making it easy to analyze.

Other respondents typed in “Yellow,” a color that was not intended as a closed option.
With Open end encoder you can add a new “Yellow” answer choice and assign open ends that match this color. You can choose whether the new Yellow option should be visible in new interviews or leave it hidden. In addition, the AI can automatically propose new answer options to you that could be added to the question based on relevant trends identified in the analyzed open-ended responses.

List of open-ended questions

Access the Open end encoder from the Tools menu. The list of questions that contain an open answer will be shown. On the right-hand side of each question is the number of open end options not yet coded (in red) and the total open end options encoded (in black).

Click on the desired question to access the coding interface.

List of open-ended questions

Coding interface

At the top of the page you can find the gear with some functions described below, the code, the question text, and apply changes or exit the page without losing the changes buttons.
On the left side of the screen is the list of open answers.
If multiple respondents answered by typing exactly the same text, the number of occurrences will be shown next to the open answer in brackets.
By default only open answers that have not yet been recoded are shown. For each one, the badge with the current answer code is shown. This code will originally correspond to that of the question option containing the open-ended.
On the right-hand side we find the answer options present in the question. For each, the number of open ended reassigned to that particular option is displayed in green. The open answer option (e.g., Other, specify), on the other hand, shows the number of answers (in red) still associated with the original code.
The rightmost column is reserved for the number of A.I. candidates, i.e., the number of open-ended answers that the artificial intelligence suggests to be associated with each answer choice.
There is also a button that allows you to add new options to the question. It is possible to create new visible options on the questionnaire or hidden options that are useful only for coding and data analysis.
At the bottom of the page you can start the AI analysis procedure.

Coding interface

Basic observations

All changes made in the Open end encoder interface are automatically saved as a draft and are not immediately applied to the interviews. You can re-enter the draft and resume assignments at any time and apply changes when you have completed your work.
To exit the draft and return to the list, click Close and save draft or you can also leave the page without pressing the button, the draft will still be saved.
To confirm the changes click Apply. The new answer codes assigned to open options will be viewable in the data export and in all IdSurvey analysis tools.

If you collect new open answers after creating a draft, they will not be automatically included in the current recoding project. To include these answers, you will have to apply all the changes in the current draft. After that, you can create a new draft that will include the answers from the new interviews. 
Alternatively, you can delete the current draft via the gear menu. Then, by accessing Open end encoder of the question again, a new draft will be created that will contain all the open answers.

Open end encoder is a “data editing and validation” tool, such as Quality control. Any changes made to the interviews do not overwrite the original data. In fact, from Quality control it is possible to restore the original interview at any time.

Open end encoder takes into account all collected interviews not yet validated or discarded by Quality control.

Assigning Open Answers to an Answer Option

To code open answers, select them from the list and click on the answer option you wish to assign them to. The green counter will increase to show the number of open answers assigned to that option. Conversely, the red counter will decrease indicating the number of open answers not yet coded.
To search for similar answers in the list, it may be helpful to type part of a word into the search bar.

Changing an Assignment

If you want to change the assignment of one or more open answers or restore their original code, start by selecting “All Open Answers” from the drop-down list menu to make sure you also see the answers already assigned. Then proceed as usual by selecting the open options you want to change and choosing the answer choice you want to assign them to.

Adding a new answer choice

Some open-ended answers may not be consistent with any of the answer options originally in the question. To code these answers you can add new options to the question. New options can be hidden (not visible in any new interviews), and therefore only useful for analysis, reporting, and data export, or real (visible in new interviews).
Click Add new answer option, then specify the code, text, and choose between hidden option or real option. Click Apply to confirm.

Adding a new answer choice

New answer choice

You can reorder the answer options by simply moving them around while holding.

Automatic analysis and recoding with AI

Take advantage of ChatGPT integration for automatic encoding of open end answers.
Click on the button in the AI Analysis and Recoding box at the bottom of the page.
The AI will analyze the open-ended answers by interpreting them based on the text written by respondents, the survey name, the question text, and the closed options already present. You can also add explanatory text to make the AI better understand the context.
After completing the procedure you need to wait a few minutes. Processing time may vary depending on the number of open-ended answers to be analyzed and other factors.

Automatic analysis and recoding with AI Step 1

Automatic analysis and recoding with AI Step 2

Automatic analysis and recoding with AI Step 3

Automatic analysis and recoding with AI Step 4

Although the AI analyzes all open answers, it will suggest associations only for those not yet encoded, without altering associations made manually. You can also continue with manual coding while waiting for AI results.

Automatic analysis and recoding with AI Step 5

If necessary, you can delete all AI suggestions from the gear menu. Assignments already made will not be affected. After deleting AI suggestions, you can initiate a new analysis procedure. Due to the nature of AI, the results obtained may vary significantly with each new query.

Evaluate and confirm AI candidate associations

Once the process is complete, the AI Candidates column will display the number of open responses for which the AI has identified an association for each answer choice. Move your mouse over the number of AI Candidates, then click the “See” button.

Evaluate and confirm AI candidate associations

Check the candidate and uncheck the unwanted ones, then click Apply to confirm the association of the selected ones.

Evaluate and confirm AI candidate associations

Confirm AI-suggested answer options

Open-ended answers that the AI was unable to associate with any of the existing options are re-evaluated to identify suggestions for new answer options.
To add a suggested answer choice, move your mouse over the relevant AI candidate number and click Add.

Confirm AI-suggested answer options

Specify a code for the option, edit the text if necessary, and choose the type (hidden or real). Then click See AI candidates to view the open answers assigned to the new answer choice you are creating. Check the list, uncheck the unwanted ones, and click apply to create the new option and confirm its association.