ExpiWell: Event-Triggering for EMA and ESM

Event-Triggering for EMA and ESM

When you create your ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and experience sampling method (ESM) project, you may want to change the study parameters (e.g., survey timings, additional messages to be sent, or changes to surveys) based on how participants respond. In other words, the study and surveys can change based on participant behavior. 


Event triggering enables researchers to have one participant action prompt the change, addition, or subtraction of another action in the study. An event can be prompted by (a) a survey (response) submission, (b) a schedule change via the personalizer, or (c) when a participant is exiting the survey.

Event triggering is available for both Rolling and Calendar schedules.

Here are some examples of event triggering applications:

Example 1: When a participant completes a morning survey, an afternoon survey is triggered to be sent exactly 4 hours later. 

Example 2: A participant selects a survey response that she did not eat breakfast this morning. Thus, the follow up survey set for an hour later (on what she ate for breakfast) is removed from the schedule as it is no longer relevant. 

Example 3: When a participant completes the baseline survey, an extra notification is triggered to be sent confirming their submission and welcoming them to the study.

Setting up Event Triggering

Step 1. Enter all surveys in the Survey Builder. This includes any surveys that you will want to trigger. Proceed to the Schedule tab.

Step 2. Create the basic schedule (i.e., the schedule that will serve as the base for the event triggering actions). In the example below, we see that the basic schedule is the Rolling schedule with a "Daily Survey" being scheduled in the morning every day from 9am-12pm.


Step 3. On the vertical bar on the left of the schedule, select the icon second from the top as seen below. This icon will take you to the event triggering options. Select the top icon at any time to go back to the basic schedule.

Event triggering icon

The following shows the home page for event triggering.

Event triggering home page

Step 4. To add a series of actions, select “Create event.” A pop up will appear in which you may enter the event name and the type of action. As can be seen below, the Maker can trigger an event based on (1) Survey Submission (i.e., when the participant sends a specific survey response; (2) Schedule Edit (i.e., when th participant changes the schedule of their surveys); (3) Exiting a Survey (i.e., participant exits a survey).

Creation of new event

Step 5. The set up for a new series will be broken up into three main sections: the primary event, the conditions, and the resulting triggered action. 

1. The primary event is a "Survey Response" to the “Daily” survey. In other words, we want to monitor what a participant responds in the "Daily" survey in order to trigger the next steps.
Selecting survey in event triggering

                    2.  We are creating a "Condition" to trigger the action. The creates the specific conditions within the survey to trigger the                                     action.

Selecting the condition to trigger the action
The specific condition occurs when the participant selects "Yes" to the Question "Enter Yes to trigger event" as shown below.

Creating the condition for event-triggering

After the specific condition is set, you can create the task that will be triggered. Note that you can create multiple tasks. In other words, when a participant responds in a particular way, you can create triggers for multiple actions, like schedule new surveys and delete surveys and send new notifications.

Create action in event-triggering

This will pull up the pop-up modal where you can choose to
  1. "Adjust Schedule" (i.e., add surveys to their schedule, edit current schedule surveys, or even delete scheduled surveys). The schedule adjustment provides the most flexibility to the project as it allows you to add windows to the participant’s schedule based on a submission. It also allows for the removal of windows if the participant responds in a particular way. For projects that have surveys scheduled based on daily rhythms (e.g., a participant's bedtime), the edit action allows the researcher to move other surveys based on the participant’s new bed time. 
  2. "Schedule Notification" (i.e., create new push notifications to send participants). Additional notifications can be triggered to send a custom message. This allows for custom reminders when a participant leaves a survey without completion or submission confirmations for completed surveys.
  3. "Exit Survey" (i.e., for a participant out of a survey).

As noted above, you can create multiple "triggers" or "tasks" that will occur based on a single condition. This is very helpful when you want to schedule multiple different surveys based on one event.
Select the type of task in event-triggering
3. In our example, we choose the task of "Adjust Schedule". We choose the triggered survey (here the name of the survey is "Event survey trigger"). Note that this survey has to be created in your normal survey creation tab. We then select the relevant options and parameters for when the survey window will occur.
Add window for event-triggering

Step 6. After setting up all event triggering series, select the top icon from the vertical menu on the left. Review basic schedule (note: no changes will be seen here) and proceed to the Distribution and Review tabs to complete project setup. 

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