ONA Surveys Help Manual
ONA Surveys Help

1. Creating an Account

2. Setting up the Survey

2.1. Creating a Survey

2.2. Survey Areas

2.3. Survey Options

2.4. About Respondents

2.5. Relationships

3. Managing the Survey

4. Import data into visualization software

5. Managing your ONA Surveys Account Details

6. Privacy Statement


2. Setting up the Survey

2.1 Creating a Survey

When you log on this is the first screen you will see. This is the 'Survey Manager' area.

ONA Surveys is pre-populated with a sample survey.

When you are ready to create your first survey:

  • Click on 'Create New Survey', or
  • 'Clone' the sample survey.

You can create as many surveys as you like. After the survey has been created you will see 4 major areas which make up the survey.

2.2 Survey Areas

Edit SurveyA survey consists of 4 major areas:

  1. Survey Options - overall settings for the survey.

  2. About Respondent - questions you want to ask about the respondent.

  3. Relationships - options and questions for one or more sets of relationships (e.g. set of work-related relationships or set of social relationships).

  4. Preview Survey - see what the survey will look like for a respondent.

Each of these 4 areas appear as menu items at the top of the screen. You can jump between them anytime you like.

The 'About Respondent'' area will only be shown to the respondent if questions have been added. So, if you don't have any 'About Respondent' questions this step will simply be skipped.

2.3 Survey Options

When you create a survey there are a number of settings you need to consider:

  • Survey Name

  • Language

  • Mailing list

  • Banner

  • Survey colors (consultant subsription only)

  • Tab name (consultant subscription only)

  • Reply Email and Reply Name (only available in the 'Consultant' subscription)

  • Survey introduction

  • "Thank you' text

  • Landing Page text

2.3.1 Survey Name

The name of the survey is used for two purposes.

  1. As the title for the survey so it can easily be identified

  2. As the subject line in the email survey invitation

2.3.2 Language

Choose from the list of available languages. If your preferred language is not on the list, please use the 'Support' button above to request it. We will then send you a translation table, and when we get the translation back from you we will make this available to all users of www.onasurveys.com

2.3.3. Mailing List

The mailing list is where you will create, or upload, a list of respondents for your survey.

Microsoft Excel 2007/2010 or Google Docs

You can create and modify Excel 2007/2010 and Google Docs spreadsheets directly in ONA Surveys.

Other file formats

ONA Surveys can handle a number of other file formats:

  • Previous versions of Microsoft Excel.

  • Excel for Mac.

  • Comma Separated Value (*.csv) file.

  • *.xml file.

However, these other file formats cannot be created or modified directly in ONA Surveys. You will need create the file on your computer and then upload it to ONA Surveys. To modify the file you will need to download it, modify it on your computer and then upload it again.

Getting started

The first time you create a list you simply click the button called 'Create'. After that, the button is called 'Manage Lists', and you click on this button to create additional lists:

  • Existing Lists - This is where your lists will be available once created.

  • Create List - Create new lists (Excel 2007/2010 or Google Docs spreadsheets).

  • Upload List - Upload a list based on another file-format (*.csv or *.xml).

ONA Surveys uses the 'Name' column as a unique identifier for each person. This means that if you have two or more people with an identical name their relationships will appear under the same name. To avoid this add a middle name or some other text to differentiate these names.

Create List - using Excel 2007/2010

If you have Excel 2007/2010 installed on your computer you will see an option to create a list using this application.

If Excel 2007/2010 is not installed on your computer see below under 'Create List - using other file formats'.

When you click on the button to create a new list you get a near empty file.

By default we have added two columns ('Name' and' Email'). As a minimum you must add this information. These two column headings are case-sensitive, so it is very important that you do not change them

  • You can add as many other columns with additional data as you like, e.g. Company, Location, Role etc.

  • All this information will be exported into the visualization tools as attributes, so you can generate ONA maps based on these attributes.

  • Tip: The more data you can collect in advance the better. For example, you might be able to get a list of where people work and which business unit they work for. Respondents typically appreciate that they don't have to supply you with information which you could have collected yourself.

  • Save the spreadsheet when you have added all the data. Click 'Save' in Excel.

    Note: Do not use Excel's 'Save As...' feature as this will not store the file back to ONA Surveys.

To create a mailing list:

  • Type in a name for your list under 'List name'.

  • Click 'Create New List using Excel 2007/2010'.

    When Excel opens the spreadsheet you may see a warning that the file has been opened in 'Protected View'. To edit the file you need to click 'Enable Editing'.

  • When you have finished editing the spreadsheet click 'Save' in Excel to save the file back to ONA Surveys.

Create List - using Google Docs

To create a list in Google Docs based on the ONA Surveys template do the following:

  • Click on the 'Open Google Docs' button.
  • Locate and open the 'ONA Surveys Template' file in Google Docs.

    Note: The list template consists of 3 worksheets. You only need to fill in the first worksheet called 'Mailing List'. The other sheets can be used if you want the respondents to select people (or other entities) which are different to what is on the mailing list. Read more about this further below.

  • Click 'File/Make a copy...' and give your file a new name.

  • Click 'Share/Sharing settings...', and add 'onasurveys@gmail.com'. This will share your list so it is available to you in ONA Surveys.

  • Click 'Share' and then 'Close'.

  • Edit the Google Docs spreadsheet.

  • Save and then close your list in Google Docs when you are done.

Create List - using other file formats

If you are using a previous version of Excel, or Excel for Mac, then you need to use the ONA Surveys Template:

  • Under 'Create from Template' click on the link to download the template.

  • Save the template on your computer.

  • Add respondent data.

    Note: The list template consists of 3 worksheets. You only need to fill in the first worksheet called 'Mailing List'. The other sheets can be used if you want the respondents to select people (or other entities) which are different to what is on the mailing list. Read more about this further below.

  • Go to the 'Upload Lists' tab and upload the list (see instructions below).

Upload List

To upload a new list do the following:

  • Click on the 'Upload List' tab.

  • In the 'List' drop-down select 'New list'.

  • In the 'New List' field choose a name for the new list.

  • Browse for the location of the file on your hard-drive.

  • Click 'Upload' to upload the file to ONA Surveys.

Existing Lists

On the 'Existing Lists' tab you will find all the lists you have created.

Please note the following about lists created using Google Docs:

  • Lists will have a '[G]' after the list name.

  • You cannot delete the list directly in ONA Surveys. This needs to be done in Google Docs.

  • If you believe you have shared a list with ONA Surveys in Google Docs, but cannot see it on the 'Existing Lists' tab click on the 'Refresh missing Google spreadsheets' button.

When you are editing an Excel 2007/2010 spreadsheet remember to click 'Save' in Excel to save it back to ONA Surveys. Do not use 'Save As' as this will save it to your local disk.

2.3.4 Banner

You can add a banner to your survey which will be visible to all survey respondents. The banner should be either a JPEG or a GIF file, and make sure it isn't wider than 760 pixels to align with the width of the survey.

2.3.5 Survey Colors (consultant subscription only)

Use these settings to create a Define the color scheme of the survey that the respondents will see.

2.3.6 Tab name (consultant subscription only)

If you would like to change the 'Start', 'About you' or the 'Finish' tab names to something else, this is where you do it. The tabs in ONA Surveys that the respondent will see are typically as follows:

  • 'Start' (if an introduction has been added)
  • 'About you' (if questions have been added)
  • One or more tabs for each relationship set. The name of the tab is equal to the relationship set name
  • 'Finish'


2.3.7 Reply Email and Reply Name (consultant subscription only)

If you have purchased the 'Consultant' subscription you will be able to modify the email address which is associated with the survey. For instance, if you want the survey invitation to come from another person than the ONA Surveys account holder you can add a different name and email address. This can be configured for each individual survey.


2.3.8 Email/SMTP Gateway (consultant subscription only)

In a few rare situations some email servers will consider email messages sent out by ONA Surveys as spam. If you have purchased the 'Consultant' subscription you will be able to specify a SMTP gateway. A SMTP gateway is an external host (system), that is used to send emails through the SMTP protocol. This means that you can send out the ONA Survey emails via your own mail server rather than via ONA Surveys.


See also the Downloading Survey Data section below that describes the unique survey URL which is included in the export file ('Consultant' subscription only). This list of survey URLs can also be used to send the survey email directly to your recipients outside of ONA Surveys.


2.3.9 'Thank you' Text

You can also write the 'Thank you' note which respondents will see once they have finished the survey.

  • You should provide the respondent with information about what happens next and who can be contacted if there are any questions.
  • Consider finishing your 'Thank You' section with a 'You can now close this window.'

Click on 'Save' to store what you have done so far, or click 'Save/Next Step' if you are ready to start adding questions to your survey. 

2.3.10 Landing page

This is the page respondents arrive at when the Data Entry Link is used. Use the text editor field to customise the text that is presented to the respondent

2.4 About Respondents

These questions are about the respondent rather than about the respondent's relationships.

Here you can ask about any information which you believe is appropriate to collect for subsequent analysis.

For example you could ask about how old the respondent is, or for how long they have worked for their organization.

The questions can appear at the start of the survey (in the step called 'About You' when the respondent completes the survey'', and/or towards the end of the survey (in the step called 'Finish').

Click on the '+ insert question' to add a question in 'Start of Survey' section. Alternatively, click on the 'End of Survey' and then on the '+ insert question' to add a question.


2.4.1 Questions

Add your question in the text box. Use the text formatting tools if required.

2.4.2 Short Name

The short name is used when your data is exported. For instance, if you have asked the question "How old are you?" and chosen 'age' as the short name, the export will contain all the respondents' answers in a column called 'age'.

2.4.3 Properties

By default questions are optional. Remember to tick the 'Compulsory' box if you want to change it.

2.4.4 Format

6 different types of questions are available. Each has a number of pros and cons. See which one works best for you.

In the screenshot on the right the format 'Choice Down' was selected.

Text for user

This is the text the respondent will see when they open the survey.

Coding Field

About RespondentsThe coding field is what is actually exported. In some situations where you have longer descriptions presented to users, but only need summary text in your visualization tool you can change the coding field.

The 'Coding' field will default to the same as the 'Text for user', but you can change that if you like. E.g. the text for the user says "Younger than 15", but the coding field says "<15". When you export the data you will only see "<15".

Default Reponse

When a question format includes options then you can make one of the options the default response, by ticking the 'Def' checkbox.

Remember to click 'Add Question' or 'Save Question' when you are done.

Inflow users: Make sure that every coding field is different. Inflow looks for a name across all fields so if you use identical values in multiple fields you will get surprising selection results. This could easily happen if you use numbers in the Coding field.

2.5 Relationships

The 'Relationships' area is where you create questions you would like to ask respondents about their relationships.

A very important concept is what is called a 'Relationship Set'. A survey can have one or multiple relationship sets. For instance your survey might only target relationships in a work context (one relationship set), or it might target different relationship sets such as work, social and family (multiple relationship sets).

ONA Surveys allow you provide respondents with different list of people (or other entities) for each relationship set. That means that you can show respondents a list of colleagues for one relationship set and a list of friends for another relationship set.

A relationship set consists of:

  • Options - where you determine the options which will impact all the questions.

  • Questions - where you create the questions you want to ask respondents about their relationships.

To move between the options and the questions simply click on the buttons called 'options' and 'questions'.




2.5.1 Relationship Set Options

There are a number of options available. The options are specific to each relationship set.

Relationship Set Name

The relationship name is used for two purposes:

  • To quickly be able to find a relationship set.

  • As a heading in the survey the respondents complete.

If you operate with multiple relationship set names it is a good idea to keep the name as short as possible (e.g. 'Work' rather than 'Relationships at work'. Otherwise the screen your respondents' see will most likely be wider than what can typically be displayed on a monitor without having to scroll sideways.


Select a node list / Manage Lists

The node list contains names of people (or other entities) you want your respondents to choose from.

You can choose to apply a different list to each relationship set, or reuse a list. You create and manage a list by clicking on 'Manage Lists'.

This works exactly the same as the mailing list, so you can manage node lists in Excel 2007/2010 and Google Docs spreadsheets directly in ONA Surveys. Similarly, files created using previous versions of Microsoft Excel, or Excel for Mac will need to be uploaded/downloaded on your computer.

However, rather than creating a new list, you can simply add the node list to your existing spreadsheet as a new worksheet. If you add your node list to a spreadsheet as a worksheet the name of the worksheet will appear in brackets after the spreadsheet (see example on the right).

There are a couple of important things to note:

  • There is no need to add an email column against an entry on the node list.

  • CSV files do not operate with worksheets, so if you are working with a CSV file this will not work. In this case you will need to create a CSV file for each list and upload them individually.

By default the list will be presented to the respondents in alphabetical order. You can deselect this option which will result in the list being sorted according to the order in which they appear in your list.

Maximum Nodes

This is the maximum number of nodes the respondents can choose and/or add.

Question Layout

Here you can choose between a 'question-centric' or a 'person-centric' survey. This option allows you to arrange the survey such that respondents are presented with:

  • A number of relationships for assessment against each question (question-centric), or

  • A number of questions for each participant (person-centric).

The question-centric approach works well if you are working with a larger number of people and with fewer questions. The person-centric approach works well if you are working with a smaller number of people and have many questions. You can swap at any stage between the two.

Note: The 'matrix' question type (see below) is only available if you selected 'Question Centric', and the peer-to-peer questions are only available if you selected 'Person Centric'. If you are changing between person and question-centric, these questions may not be able to be shown under certain circumstances. You will be notified if this is the case.


Add nodes / Hide added nodes

When you tick the 'Add people' box, respondents are allowed to add additional contacts (often referred to as 'snowball' surveys).



Once a person has been added, the name will be included on the list and is therefore available for subsequent respondents to select. If you want to be able to identify who was on the original list of respondents you can add this as an attribute on your list. For example, add a column-heading on your list called "Original" and enter a "yes" against the names of the people you have entered. When additional names are added to the list by respondents, these added names will not have a "yes" in the "Orginal" column making it easy to identify who was on the original list and who have been added subsequently.

  • If you don't tick the box respondents will only be able to select people from your original pre-defined list.

  • If you tick the 'Hide added people' box any added names will not be available for subsequent respondents. This feature could be valuable if you don't want to lead respondents by displaying people nominated by other respondents.

    Important note: It also means that you potentially run the risk of respondents separately adding an individual's name multiple times and that you might need to remove duplicates manually.

The 'Super user view added nodes' is a special feature which has been set up to make data-entry faster and simpler. When the box is ticked, the 'Hide added nodes' is overridden for super users. See'Data Entry Link' in section 3.5.4 below for a more detailed desription about super users and the situations where this feature will be valuable.


Collecting attribute data about added nodes

If you have decided to allow the respondents to add nodes you may also want to capture some additional attribute information about these added nodes.

For example, you are running a survey to uncover collaboration patterns between locations in a large company. In the 'About you' section you have a question about location, so you know that you will capture this data as the respondents complete the survey. However, the respondents add new people (nodes) to the list and these added people are not being surveyed. In this scenario you may want to ask the respondent to tell you where the added person is located. If you don't do this you will have a number of people for whom you don't have attribute data.

When you tick the 'Add nodes' box you will see an additional option called '+node?' appearing in the area where the relationship sets are listed.

When you click on '+node?' you can add attribute questions, which will only be asked when the respondent adds a new name to the list.


Can skip

By default respondents will be asked to choose one or more names from the list you have provided. In some situations the respondent may not know any of the names on the list, and can feel 'trapped' as they can't progress the survey without selecting a name. The 'Can skip' feature allows a respondent to skip the name generator question and the questions associated with this.


Use Drop-down Search

If you survey is using a list with more than 1,000 nodes it is recommended that the Drop-down search feature is enabled. Large lists can take a while to load such that they can be browsed whereas the 'drop down search' is faster as it does not preload the entire list. It will only show names matching the search criteria.

Note: Respondents must enter min. 3 characters before search results are shown


Allow Select All

By default ONA Surveys will present to the respondent all the names of the people/entities which you have chosen from a list.

It is then up to the respondent to choose from the list of names.

In some circumstances it may be appropriate for the respondent to select everyone one the list rather than selecting them one by one. If you activate the 'Allow select all nodes' then the respondents will get the option to select all the name of people/entities you have provided.

Node Selection

The 'Node Selection' option allow you to choose between three different options:

  • Normal: All the entities/people from your list will be shown.

  • Filtered: Any attribute data you have added on your lists (e.g. department, location or similar) will be available to filter the list by. For example, if you have uploaded a node list of work colleagues you could add a 'location' attribute to the list. If you set the node selection to 'Filtered' the respondents will be able to filter the node list by 'location' to receive a smaller subset list to select from.

    Note: If you are allowing the respondents to add new names (and you are not hiding these from subsequent respondents using the 'Hide added nodes' options) you will be missing attribute data from these added people. As a consequence, these added people will not be visibile for respondents who are using the filters.
  • Automatic: Will skip the 'Name Generator Question', and re-use the names selected during the previous relationship set.

    Note: This option is only applicable if you are working with multiple relationship sets and only works if your respondents have picked people/entities during a previous relationship set.

Name Generator Question

The purpose of the 'Name Generator Question' is to provide a context for the respondents to think of names (or other entities) which is relevant for you survey.

For instance, you might be trying to uncover the informal network in an organisation. The name generator question could be "Who are the top 5-10 people you typically rely on to get work done?".

For the set of people the respondent has selected you then ask a series of targeted questions (see below under 'Relationship Set Questions').


Note: It is not strictly required that you add questions in a relationship set. If you don't ask any questions then ONA Surveys will simple export the list of people the respondent had chosen based on the name generator question.



2.5.2 Relationship Set Questions

This step is entirely focused on creating questions about the respondents' relationships. For example you might want to understand how frequently the respondent interacts with other people or the methods they use to communicate with each of these.

To get started:

  • Click on 'questions' button for the relationship set you are working on.

  • Click on the 'insert question' button.

Note: It is not strictly required that you add questions in a relationship set. If you don't ask any questions then ONA Surveys will simple export the list of people the respondent had chosen based on the name generator question.


2.5.3 Formatting Questions

There are 5 different question types available:

  • Text (covered above)

  • Checkbox (covered above)

  • Choice Across (covered above)

  • Peer to peer choices (only available with a person-centric relationship set)

  • Peer to peer binary (only available with a person-centric relationship set)

Some important notes:

  • When you type in some text in the 'Text for user' field and then click in the corresponding 'Coding' field the coding field will automatically be populated with a number.

    This is because the most popular network visualization tools (e.g. Netdraw and InFlow) require the coding to represent the strength of the relationship (tie). Typically you would apply the lowest number for the weakest relationship and the highest number for the strongest relationship.

  • Click on 'Add question' when you are done. This will also allow you to see how the question will be formatted on the screen.

  • You can add as many questions as you like.

Peer to peer questions:

The purpose of the peer to peer questions type is to allow a respondent to assess the relationship between other selected entities. When you use the other question types you will be collecting data about the relationships which the respondent has with other entities, so the peer to peer question type is very different.

For example, you might ask a respondent to nominate a set of colleagues they often work with and then ask the respondent about the nature of the relationship he/she has with each of the nominated colleagues.

You can then use the peer to peer question type to ask the respondent to assess the nature of the relation between the nominated colleagues. This question type is only available when the relationship set is 'person centric'.

When you export data from ONA Surveys it will include a special column, so you can easily see who identified a relationship.


Inflow users: Inflow does not accept a coding value of zero (or non alphanumeric). Inflow will not be able to read the "links" file unless the value is alphanumeric and greater than zero. So, if you want to capture a 'Never' (ie. the respondent does not have a relationship with the person which is relevant to the question you have asked) then you need to export the file Excel to view it as it will not appear in Inflow.

Netdraw users: Netdraw will accept a zero value, but will ignore non-alphanumeric values.

When you have added all the questions you need click on 'Finish!', and you are ready to publish or test the survey.

2.5.4 Editing Questions

After you have added a question you have a number of options available:

  • Edit the Introduction to the question - you can add an introduction to the question, or to a block of questions.

  • Edit the Question - modify the question.

  • Delete - will delete the question. This cannot be undone.

  • Move to - Enter a number in the box next to the button and the question will be moved to this position.

When you have completed all the questions for all the relationship sets the 'Next Step' button will bring you to the last area of the survey - Preview Survey.


Slider Question

The slider question option enables you ask questions and just provide to extreme points. The respondent will then place the slider somewhere between these two points. The result will be captured as a numeric value. Extreme points = Each end of the slider Values = The range of the numeric value (min and max) Resolution = The number of intervals on the slider.


2.6 Preview Survey

When you are editing a survey you can click on 'Preview Survey'. The preview will show you exactly what the survey respondents will see when they fill out the survey.