For projects that require you to gather information over time, but don't require you to track the same subjects, you might want to set up a trend series project. These projects look very similar to standard projects, but the results allow you to group the data you collect based on the time intervals you set - so, for example, if you're trying to find out how the health of a population varies from week to week, you'll be able to see the data you collect grouped into weekly sets.
To see what this looks like in practice, let's take as an example a situation where we want to assess changes in political opinion over time.
Setting the Proper Parameters for a Trend Series Project
Beginning at the Project Home page:
To set this up, go to Project Settings --> Parameters.
Where it asks if you want to track data over time, we’ll click YES. When we do, more options appear.
We’re not tracking individuals over time - we’re tracking changes in a population, so we’ll select NO for the question about whether we’re keeping records of individuals over time. (For projects where you do want to track individuals, check out our article on Longitudinal Projects.)
There’s also an option to select how often we would like to collect data: daily, weekly, or monthly. For this project, we’ll track how opinion changes by the day.
Building a Time Series Form
Now that we’re done setting the parameters, we can move onto Form Builder to begin building the form!
For our first category, we’ll name it Demographics and ask for the age, gender, and ethnicity of our respondents.
The second category is called 2012 Presidential Election and asks questions related to opinions about the election.
Finally, the third category is labeled Political Party and asks questions related to respondents’ political affiliation.
Once we're done building the form, we can Save Form and Push to Mobile to begin data collection.
Time Series Results Portal
This is how the results portal might look for a simple (i.e., not a time series) project:
This is how a Time Series results portal might look:
Remember that we chose to collect data daily in the parameters, so these visualizations are separating the data by individual days collected rather than aggregating them into one chart.