Branching Question

Branching questions are used to present a different set of answers based on the applicant’s selection in the branching question. Each questions tab (Pre-Application, Application Questions, and Report) can have a separate branching question.
Program Setup > Pre-Application Tab
Program Setup > Application Questions Tab
Program Setup > Report Tab

How It Works

The branch is an online version of paper-based applications that say:

If no, please skip to question 10. If yes, please answer questions 6, 7, 8, and 9.

Depending on the applicant’s response in the multiple-choice branching question, they are required to answer a different set of questions in that tab.

Applicants are required to answer only the questions that are displayed to them in the live, online version of their application.

In the online version of the application on ZG, after the applicant answers the branching question, the questions that are relevant remain in that application tab, while the irrelevant questions are hidden. When the applicant submits the application, the check for completion disregards the hidden questions and checks only the questions that were presented to the applicant.

How To Set It Up

Each of the questions tabs – the Pre-Application, Application Questions, and Report – can have a branching question, and each is set up and functions independently.

Branching questions do not cross tabs.

If you choose to use it, the branching question in a questions tab influences only the questions in that tab. The branch does not extend into any other tab nor does it influence the requirements to complete the budget or tables or upload required documents.

  1. Set up and order all of your questions in that tab in Program Setup first.
  2. Click the show/hide link to open up the branching question setup field. 
  3. Set up the branching question.Branching Question Setup
    • Question Number – This is the question number of the multiple-choice question to use as the branch.  The answer to this question will determine which following questions the applicant will answer, based on the option they choose.
    • Options – Each ‘Option’ line represents one of the options in the multiple choice question that you’re using as your branch. In each ‘Option’ line, list the question numbers of the questions that should appear if the applicant selects that option. Separate the question numbers with a comma, as displayed in the screenshot above.

      Do not include the branching question number in any of the Option fields.

      For each option in your multiple choice branching question, you’ll need to have at least ONE question listed in the ‘Option’ field that represents that option.  For example: If you have three options in your multiple choice question (A, B, and C), you’ll need to have questions listed in the Option 1, Option 2, and Option 3 fields.
      Any question NOT listed in any of the options in the branching question setup will be displayed for ALL applicants.

      For the sake of simplicity, if each option already has unique questions that should be displayed, you can choose to exclude the question numbers for the other questions that should be displayed for ALL applicants.

Need an Example?

Let’s say we’re capturing several different types of applications via a single program and we want to know which type of application our applicants want to submit.

We set up question number 1 as a multiple choice question in which we ask:

For which type of grant are you applying?

  1. CDBG
  2. ESG
  3. CSBG

If they choose CDBG (Option 1), they should see questions 2, 3, and 6.

If they choose ESG (Option 2), they should see questions 4 and 6.

If they choose CSBG (Option 3), they should see questions 2, 5, and 6.

Here’s how we’d set up the branching question to accommodate that: 
Branching Question Setup

Note that…

  • The branching question (question 1) is NOT listed in any of the ‘Options’ fields.
  • The questions for each option are listed and separated by commas, without spaces.
  • There are three options in the branching question, and Options 1-3 in the branching question setup all have questions listed.

Other Tips:

Give your users a heads up.
If your users are unfamiliar with ZG and the functionality of the branching question, include a note in the instructions to alert your applicants to the presence of the feature. Let them know that there will be a branching question that may hide some of the questions in that tab (depending on their selection in the branch), and highlight that they are only responsible for answering the questions that are displayed in the live, online version of the application. You could also send out a diagram that indicates which questions are required for each type of application. Or note in the actual question text which type of applicant needs to answer that question.
Create a test application.
The best way to test your branching question (and the rest of your application, for that matter) is to create a test account that you can use to create and submit test applications. Learn more here.