Research Design and Statistical Consulting
George M. Diekhoff, Ph.D.

Calculating Survey Response Time From SurveyMonkey Start and Stop Date/Time Data

As a user of SurveyMonkey, I have been annoyed that that platform does not provide a direct measure of the time it takes respondents to complete surveys. SurveyMonkey collects this information as metadata, and you can even filter responses that take greater than X minutes or less than X minutes, but the data file downloaded from SurveyMonkey does not include response time as a variable. Survey response time is an important variable for use in screening data quality, particularly in identifying “speeders” who have not given the survey sufficient attention for their data to be considered valid. Here’s how to create a variable that will provide a measure of survey response time in minutes. 

First, your data must be exported from SurveyMonkey as an Excel file. In Excel, using Format Cells,. transform both of the Date/Time columns into a custom format: “dd-mmm-yyyy hh:mm:ss” so that SPSS will be able to recognize the data. Then import that Excel file into SPSS. Now, go the the Variable View and find the two Date/Time variables. In the Type column, select Date and check the “dd-mmm-yyyy hh:mm:ss” radio button and click OK. Finally create and run the syntax file shown below to create a new variable called TimeElapsed which measures response time in minutes: 

COMPUTE TimeElapsed = DATEDIF(EndDate, StartDate, “minutes”).