Working with Subgroups


Screenshot of subgroup example.

Subgroups allow groups to be placed within other groups and can be done in all sort types. This feature is only a part of a PRO subscription. Subgroups provide a way to understand how your users categorize your information in a much more detailed manner than a flat grouping.

Setting up a subgroup card sort

In open card sorts subgroups are enabled by selecting "Allow creation & editing of subgroups" on the project page. This allows the participant to drag a group inside of another group. In an open sort you can set a number of level for subgroups. One level is equal to a subgroup within a parent group. Simple Card Sort allows up to five subgroup levels.

In closed card sort you can create subgroups by using the "-" (dash) before a group name. To create multiple levels use multiple dashes. For example:

Groceries ( top level parent group )
-Produce ( subgroup inside of groceries )
--Fruit ( subgroup inside of the produce subgroup )
-Dairy ( subgroup inside of groceries )

A hybrid card sort combines these two methods of allowing subgroups.

Understanding and Analysing Results

When viewing results of a subgroup enabled card sort you will see group names that have the pipe or vertical line character "|" separating the parent and child group names. This can be read left to right like: "parent group | child group".

Analysis of card results that include subgroups is not as straight forward as one without, but Simple Card Sort has several features to make it easier.

Subgroup group merging

Subgroup group works the same as it does for non subgroup result sets, however with subgroups, only one level of the merge name is replaced from the total group hierarchy. Therefore, subgroup merging doesn"t change hierarchy. The merge dialog disassembles any parented groups and lists each level of the hierarchy individually. This creates a powerful way to reconcile group names in open sorts. Lets look at a few examples.

Example one: Consider two group hierarchies from the movie sort. "comedy | romance" & "comedy | romantic" If you were to merge "romance" and "romantic" to "romance" you would be left with "comedy | romance" and all the cards in each group would be combined.

Example two: Now suppose there was also a group "action | romantic". The romantic part would be replaced but the cards top most parent would still be action - leaving "action | romance"

Example three: Now, consider a group that doesn't have a hierarchy; "rom com". Merging "rom com" into "romance" wouldn't make it a would just change the name.

Subgroup matching options

Screenshot of subgroup matching options

Many of the results pages feature subgroup matching options. This provides a way to bubble up or filter down how the analysis of the subgroups is performed.

Exact match means the entire hierarchy of the group path is evaluated uniquely. So "comedy | romance" and "comedy | romantic" would not be considered to be the same group. Neither would "comedy | romance" and "romance".

Top-Parent Only Match looks at the top parent to determine a match for analysis. For example "comedy | romance" and "comedy | romantic" would be evaluated as being in the same group if parent match was enabled. Similarly, "comedy" and "comedy | romance" would be evaluated as the same group. This is a handy way to bubble up your results to help establish your top level category names.

Bottom-Child Only Match does the opposite of parent only match. It looks at only the child name - or the group name that the card is immediately inside of - to determine a match in the analysis. For example "comedy | romance" and "action | romance" would be evaluated as a match, as would "comedy | romance" and "romance".

Note: In results views that do not supply these options exact match is always used.