This project contains an R package to download surveys from Qualtrics using the API.

Note that your institution must support API access and that it must be enabled for your account. Whoever manages your Qualtrics account can help you with this. Please refer to the Qualtrics documentation to find your API token.


To install this package, execute the following in R:


Or, if you want to install the latest development version, run:

install.packages("devtools") devtools::install_github("JasperHG90/qualtRics")


All dependencies will be installed when you install qualtRics.


Periodically check this repository for updates and execute devtools::install_github("JasperHG90/qualtRics") to update.


Currently, the package contains three core functions:

  1. getSurveys() fetches a list of all surveys that you own or have access to from Qualtrics.
  2. getSurvey() downloads a survey from Qualtrics and loads it into R.
  3. readSurvey() allows you to read CSV files you download manually from Qualtrics.

It further contains three helper functions:

  1. registerOptions() stores your API key and root url in environment variables.
  2. getSurveyQuestions() retrieves a data frame containing questions and question IDs for a survey.
  3. qualtRicsConfigFile() prints information on how to make a .qualtRics.yml configuration file that stores your qualtRics API key and root url in your working directory.

Note that you can only export surveys that you own, or to which you have been given administration rights.

Registering your Qualtrics credentials

There are two ways to register your Qualtrics credentials in R (your API key and institution-specific root url). The first option involves registering your credentials at the start of each R session:

qualtRics::registerOptions(api_token="", root_url="")

The second method involves placing a configuration file called .qualtRics.yml in your working directory.

Using a configuration file

qualtRics supports the use of a configuration file to store your Qualtrics credentials. Executing qualtRics::qualtRicsConfigFile() returns information that explains how you can do this:

Copy-paste the lines between the dashes into a new plain text file, replace the values for the
api_token and root_url if they are not yet filled out and save it in your working directory as 
'.qualtRics.yml'. Visit https://github.com/JasperHG90/qualtRics/blob/master/README.md#using-a-configuration-file 
for more information.


You can also call this function while passing api_token and root_url values to the function, in which case <YOUR-API-TOKEN-HERE> and <YOUR-ROOT-URL-HERE> will be replaced by your credentials. You can register your credentials by calling registerOption() without passing any parameters.

When you load the qualtRics package, it will automatically look for a .qualtRics.yml file in the working directory, in which case you don't need to call the registerOption() function to register your qualtRics credentials.

Setting up a config file

Open an existing R project or start a new one. Then, open up an empty text file:

Execute qualtRicsConfigFile(api_token="<YOUR-API-TOKEN-HERE>", root_url="<YOUR-ROOT-URL-HERE>") and copy-paste the text between the dashes to the empty text file:

Save the file as .qualtRics.yml and execute registerOptions() or restart your R session and execute library(qualtRics) to load the configuration file.


Load the package:


Register your Qualtrics credentials if required:

registerOptions(api_token="", root_url="")

Get a data frame of surveys:

surveys <- getSurveys()

Export a survey and load it into R:

mysurvey <- getSurvey(surveyID = surveys$id[6], verbose = TRUE)

You can add a from/to date to only retrieve responses between those dates:

surv <- getSurvey(survs$id[4], startDate = "2016-09-18", endDate = "2016-10-01", useLabels = FALSE, verbose = TRUE)

Note that your date and time settings may not correspond to your own timezone. You can find out how to do this here.

You may also reference a response ID. getSurvey will then download all responses that were submitted after that response:

surv <- getSurvey(survs$id[4], lastResponseId = "R_3mmovCIeMllvsER", useLabels = FALSE, verbose = TRUE)

You can filter a survey for specific questions:

# Retrieve questions for a survey questions <- getSurveyQuestions(surveyID = surveys$id[6]) # Retrieve a single survey, filtering for questions I want. mysurvey <- getSurvey(surveyID = surveys$id[6], save_dir = tempdir(), includedQuestionIds = c("QID1", "QID2", "QID3"), verbose=TRUE)

Setting convertStandardColumns to TRUE converts common variables such as 'StartDate', 'EndDate' and Longitude, Latitude to their proper data types.

surv <- getSurvey(survs$id[5], convertStandardColumns = TRUE, useLabels = TRUE, verbose = TRUE)

Note that dates are converted without a specific timezone in mind. You can specify your own timezone using these instructions.

You can store the results in a specific location if you like:

mysurvey <- getSurvey(surveyID = surveys$id[6], save_dir = "/users/jasper/desktop/", verbose = TRUE)

Note that surveys that are stored in this way will be saved as an RDS file rather than e.g. a CSV. Reading an RDS file is as straightforward as this:

mysurvey <- readRDS(file = "/users/jasper/desktop/mysurvey.rds")

You can read a survey that you downloaded manually using readSurvey:

mysurvey <- readSurvey("/users/jasper/desktop/mysurvey.csv")

To avoid special characters (mainly periods) in header names, readSurvey uses question labels as the header names. The question belonging to that label is then added using the sjmisc package. Qualtrics gives names to these labels automatically, but you can easily change them.

Other information

For specific information about the Qualtrics API, you can refer to the official documentation.


Should you encounter any bugs or issues, please report them here


If you have a request (like adding a new argument), please leave it here


[development branch]

  • *

[master branch]

  • Added support for a configuration file to store API key and root url in the working directory.
  • registerApiKey() has been replaced by registerOptions(). This function stores both a user's API key and root url. Function also scans for a configuration file .qualtRics.yml that contains this information.
  • Added a new script called zzz.R. When the package is loaded, the .onLoad() function in this file scans the working directory for a .qualtRics.yml configuration file so that the user doesn't have to register this information manually.
  • Added a new function qualtRicsConfigFile() that prints instructions for the user on how to set up a configuration file to the R Console.
  • Removed the root_url parameter from all functions that required it.
  • Dates are now converted without a specific timezone.
  • Added a new function getSurveyQuestions() that allows the user to download a data frame containing question labels and IDs.
  • Added parameter includedQuestionIds so user can select questions they want to download. Need to use the QID value from getSurveyQuestions().
  • Updated examples and documentation of functions.
  • Added the following parameters to getSurvey():
    • seenUnansweredRecode: String. Recode seen but unanswered questions with a string value.
    • limit: Integer. Maximum number of responses exported. Defaults to NULL (all responses).
    • useLocalTime: Boolean. Use local timezone to determine response date values.
  • getSurveys() now retrieves > 100 results.


  • Added a new function readSurvey(). This function is used in the getSurvey() function but will also work with surveys downloaded manually from Qualtrics. Standard columns (completed survey/startDate/endDate etc.) are now converted to their proper data types. HT Adrian Brugger & Stefan Borer.
  • User can only download surveys in CSV format, no longer in XML or JSON.
  • Added several new parameters to getSurvey() function. HT @samuelkaminsky & @eknud
    • LastResponseId: If used, only responses that were filled out later than this ID will be downloaded.
    • UseLabels: If TRUE, download will contain character labels. Else, download will contain choice labels.
    • StartDate: Only download responses after this date.
    • EndDate: Only download responses before this date.
  • Survey downloads should be faster now; getSurvey() no longer sleeps when checking download status. Also added progress bar.


  • User can choose to save results directly in a folder through 'save_dir' parameter in getSurvey()
  • Results can now be requested in .csv, .json or .xml format. The packages jsonlite and XML are added to 'Suggests' in DESCRIPTION.
  • constructHeader() is now deprecated and should no longer be used. Instead, users need to call registerApiKey().
  • Added a new function registerApiKey() which saves the user's API key and header information in the tempdir() environment.


  • Renamed 'base url' to 'root url' such that it corresponds to Qualtrics documentation.
  • The root url no longer requires API-specific endpoints. So e.g. 'https://leidenuniv.eu.qualtrics.com' now works for all functions. The API-specific endpoints are added in the functions itself.
  • Institution-specific root url is now required by getSurvey()


  • Added first three functions (constructHeader, getSurvey, getSurveyIDs)
  • base_url parameter is now uniform across functions. Parameter is called 'root url' to bring it in line with Qualtrics documentation.