Surveys are intended to elicit answers from the respondent. But apart from answering questions there are also other ways a survey collects data:

  • Time between sending invitation and starting to answer (when using invitation mechanism of LimeSurvey)
  • Time needed to fill in survey, per question, per page or total survey (depending on presentation)
  • Cut off: where do respondents stop filling in when they do not complete the survey? This is registrated as the variable “lastpage” in the results table.
  • Technology stack: what technology does the respondent use when filling in the survey?

For gathering information about the technology stack, there are two approaches available at this moment (using LimeSurvey version 3), each with their pros and cons:

  1. Use JavaScript in a (hidden) question and write details to a text question for later analysis
  2. Use a plugin that gathers information. This plugin was developed by Denis Chenu, an independent developer from France.
Pro Con
Javascript solution
  • No extra installation of software needed
  • Easy (relatively, you have to know what you are doing) to customize to your needs
  • Can be used to put all user details in one field or in multiple fields
  • Needs to be present in the HTML, because only then Javascript can do it’s work
  • Therefore: can be manipulated by technically advanced users
  • And also: can only be used in surveys that display per group or all in one page. Cannot be used in surveys where each question has it’s own page, except when you want to display the data that is gathered
  • Can be used in all presentations
  • Not to be manipulated by technologically advanced users
  • You need to install plugin that was developed by a third party.


Link to plugin by Denis Chenu:

In Limesurvey version 5 (LS5, which will be hopefully be stable on short term in 2021), there is a new question type called “browser detect”, which will do several “sniffing functions”, but since LS5 is still under heavy development, details will become more clear later.

LimeSurvey can be downloaded from this page: