Getting Started

  • If you're a complete beginner this will be a useful page.
  • If you feel pretty comfortable with software, skim this section and jump to a later one.
For a super-quick introduction or overview, just:
  1. Open a Qualtrics trial account and play around with it for 5 minutes.
  2. Go to Building a psychology experiment to see the specific features that I've found most relevant, all the way from basic to advanced.


    I'd suggest you take a few minutes to get your feet wet in an actual survey, then move on to the text and video instruction. If you prefer not to, just skip ahead to STEP TWO.
    • To start a free trial with Qualtrics, head to and hit the "Free Account" button to start the registration process.

    • Create a survey from the Qualtrics library and take 5-10 minutes to play around with it. 
    • First, try clicking on the different elements and figuring out what they do – if something in Qualtrics looks clickable, it probably is! It's fine to make changes to the survey – it's just a demo so mess it up as much as you want.
    • You will notice pretty quickly that surveys are made up of Questions (e.g. multiple choice, text answer) that are contained within Blocks (containers that organize multiple questions). Try making some new questions and/or blocks.
    • Second, click on the "Survey Flow" button at the bar at the top of the screen:
    • This will open up a bird's eye overview of the entire survey. This "Survey Flow" allows you to move blocks around easily, and later on to add in all kinds of useful items. Try moving some blocks around and randomly adding new elements. 


At this point you'll have enough exposure to Qualtrics to raise a bunch of questions – that the systematic introduction through text articles and videos will hopefully answer.
    • 5-10 minute Overview of Qualtrics Functionality Whether you're just starting, or even an advanced user, this bird's eye view of everything Qualtrics can do will make you aware of features you'll want to come back to later. 
    • Look at Qualtrics' overview of features for:
      • Building surveys, which covers (1) adding & editing questions; (2) advanced question options; (3) using the survey flow for randomization & logic; (4) advanced survey options like retaining data in "panels" and automatic email-sending based on logic. 
      • Distributing surveys. The Qualtrics Mailer can use email to send survey links, invitations, reminders, thank you & follow up emails, all based on various kinds of logic. Emails can included unique information (e.g. name, responses) piped from each survey. Recipient data can also be linked across surveys using email, or an Authenticator that verifies credentials for sign-in. Surveys can be embedded in websites, pop-ups, and printed out. Libraries can be used to save & reuse messages.
      • Analysis and reporting allows for impressively sophisticated graphs and summaries of data, which can be dynamically displayed online, regularly emailed to researchers, or exported to Word, Powerpoint & PDF. The responses people make can be scored & graded using built-in logics, and can be automatically recoded to have meaningful values even *after* data is collected.
    • Qualtrics has a great set of materials for learning the software at what they call the Qualtrics University– this will be your go-to resource for your introduction, all kinds of follow up questions, and I've spent years using it to develop my expertise. 
    • The Qualtrics University is cleverly designed to provide a large number of short articles that each cover a specific function. Each text article is accompanied by screenshots or an actual video demonstration of working with a survey.  
    • If you want to dive into reading individual articles, just go to Qualtrics University, and under "Learn by Topic" click on "Basic Building" – see below. You can then work your way through the articles that seem relevant. You'll learn a lot more if you have Qualtrics open in your browser and actually try to implement what's being shown. 

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    • If you want to watch introductory videos that are designed for beginners, go to the Learn Qualtrics in 5 Easy Steps Page and start the video sequence. The entire progression takes up to three hours, but you'll want to work through all of them at some point – looking back, it would have saved me many more hours in the long run. 
    • The eager or impatient can click on Qualtrics' link to a Time Breakdown (see below) that clearly outlines each 30 minute video: you can skip to the most relevant parts (and inevitably, easily watch them again later). 

Need More? 
If you're ready to learn some slightly more advanced functionality in Qualtrics, head to Intermediate Use. For specific information on a function, question type, or other "FAQ" type information, check out Functions & Capacities in Qualtrics.