How can I limit responses to one per column, without limiting to one per row?


In my role I regularly need to set up retrospective pre-test surveys but am having difficulty finding a way to do this in SurveyGizmo.

In this type of survey, there are two or more rows of potential actions that respondents can select. We want to know what action they would take NOW (after completing a program), and what action they would have taken BEFORE completing our program.  Here is an example of what it looks like:


They should only be able to select ONE response for the NOW column, and ONE response for the BEFORE column.

It may be the same response for both NOW and BEFORE.  So, the person might pick “Peter parker” for both NOW and BEFORE, this would be fine. However, they shouldn’t be able to pick both “Peter Parker” and “Clark Kent” as their choice now.

I’ve seen options to limit answers per column using radio grid, but this doesn’t work for this purpose, as the answers may be the same NOW and BEFORE program participation.

For previous surveys, I’ve had to use custom grid, and not limit the number of responses per column, but I’ve then had the problem of people selecting more than one in a column, and having to deal with this in the analysis.

Thank you for having a look at this, and thanks in advance for any ideas you may have.


AndyN answered

    Sadly no! The survey I was sending out when I made that post needed to go out, and so we just weren’t able to limit the responses by column. For the questions that had this issue, about 10% of respondents selected more than one answer, despite our efforts to specify in the instructions (and at the top of each column) that they should select only one. 

    What does the workaround that you’ve tried look like? 


    Kirsten answered

      This *might* work for you … try a “Dropdown Menu List”

      In the example above, the two rows would be “Now” and “Before”

      The drop-downs would contain the names (and thus be one selection)

      AndyN answered

        I have the same problem. Has anyone figured this out? The best I have come up with is a group with two single column questions.

        Kari Kron answered

          One option, though maybe less than ideal – is to use a Radio Button Grid, but flip your rows and columns.

          Now and Before would be the rows – meaning you only get one answer per row, but because their different rows, the same column could be selected for each row.

          The main thing that I would be concerned about is whether the data output would give you what you are looking for.

          I hope this helps!

          Dominic Sharpe answered

            Hi Chris,

            Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately the “radio button grid” doesn’t work in this case, because it should be possible for a respondent to pick the same response for both “NOW” and “BEFORE” but the radio grid won’t permit two answers per row.  (If I pick “clark kent” now, and then before, it will move the selection from now to before…)

            If any other ideas are out there would love to hear them!



            Kirsten answered


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