Survey and Data Collection Tools

Brief Description



History

(if applicable)

Examples of Web Based Survey Tools

Please fill in any of the fields for the products below from your experience. On the price area, please include any cost issues.
Cogix Viewsflash http://www.cogix.com/vf2/index.shtml
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Rightnowtech Metrics http://www.rightnowtech.com/products/prod_metr.html
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Surveymonkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/ -- Note, the product will also function if used with the address http://www.surveymk.com/
  • Description: A lean, well-designed product that allows users to create well-functioning web surveys. There is of course a good suite of question types (Mult. choice, open ended text, and matrixes with row and columns, etc.) The meat of the product can be used free; additional features costs a $20 monthly fee. If you want to see one sample Survey being served on SurveyMonkey, try this survey. Note that that sample survey isn't super pretty -- you can make nicer looking surveys with this tool. --Estephan500 13:30, 24 February 2006 (EST)
  • Cost: Free if you want a web survey with no customized logo at top and expect less than 1000 responses per month. $20 monthly fee will get you a bunch of extra features, including the ability to create logic that will direct the path of questions an interviewee encounters depending on what they answer. I had thought that Excel export and Mailed-out survey invitations (which are good because allows flawless tracking of which invitees have returned the survey yet) required the fee, but not sure from SurveyMonkey's page describing what you get for your $20. --Estephan500 13:30, 24 February 2006 (EST)
  • Bandwidth issues: Seems very lean. Only a few small graphics. Someone call a friend in Africa and ask them how quick it is to use this survey. --Estephan500 13:30, 24 February 2006 (EST) Re: Africa - if a person has a connection, it is fast. The problem is for users who can really only download email. Then these web based surveys are not an option. I always have an email version handy as back up, then I submit the data for that person.
  • Reports: Outputs to excel pretty smoothly, from where you can use Excel functions. Easy to make charts to add a visual aspect to the data delivery.
  • Download data? Outputs to excel. (Or Acess)
  • Experiences of KM4Dev members: Great. --Estephan500 13:30, 24 February 2006 (EST)
  • Language support:
There is the question of language though: at a recent community building activity for Portuguese speaking colleagues, although the SM survey worked very well, I noticed that a number of participants with less English and IT experience got somewhat confused on completion of their survey when confronted with the exit page (in English) offering further services, login etc because they thought there was something else they were expected to do but didn’t quite know what. Still, I guess this is the nature of free tools and one can either pay to have a customized version or try to pre-empt confusion by giving very explicit instructions in the first language when directing people to the survey.(Bill Williams)
The cost of the subscription (around US$40 per quarter) means that you can decide what the exit page is so colleagues are not phased by the SurveyMonkey exit screen. Probably worth the subscription cost for that feature alone. The other thing to do is to use the presentation text setting at the start and end of the survey so that you explain to less IT literate users what is taking place. For instance – here’s the English version of how we introduce every on-line survey…
 Thank you for visiting this page. If you have not used an electronic survey before, then here are some quick tips to help you:
 To tick a statement
 Click the left button on your mouse inside the circle to the left of the statement you agree with most - a tick will appear
 in the  circle
 To tick more than one box
 Square boxes next to a statement mean that that you can agree with more than one statement. Click the left button on your
 mouse inside the box to the left of the statement(s) you agree with - a tick will appear in the box
 To enter words
 Click your mouse inside the box and then start typing. There is no need to press return.
 Now click the Next>> link at the bottom of this page to begin the questions and to scroll through each page of the survey.
 
 
(Steven Buckley)
More on language: Hmm -- I'm not too clear on the language question. Using surveymonkey, it pretty much only presents what text you put into it, so you could make the survey questions/answers multilingual, OR make one survey for each language. And the exit page it goes to after you finish is designated by the person making the survey, so you could direct it to go to a multilingual page. --Estephan500 13:10, 24 February 2006 (EST)
Pollit.com http://www.pollit.com
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Survey Said http://www.surveysaid.com
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Zoomerang http://www.zoomerang.com
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InsightExpress http://www.insightexpress.com
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Andersen-Bellm WebSurv http://www.andersonbell.com
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Raosoft EZSurvey http://www.raosoft.com/products/ezsurvey/index.html
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Senecio AskAnywhere http://www.senecio.com/askanywhere.html
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SurveyView Web http://www.surveyview.com/
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WebSurveyor
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Microsoft Windows Sharepoint SharePoint Services 2.0 Survey Component http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=E084D5CB-1161-46F2-A363-8E0C2250D990&displaylang=en
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  • Cost: free, implemented on your Sharepoint instance (not an ASP)
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WebEnq developers: http://www.webenq.org demo: http://demosurvey.iicd.org/
  • Description: Open source survey tool, with easy to generate word and pdf questionnaire.
  • Cost: free, asp possible by the developers
  • Bandwidth issues: designed for use in the South, small pages, only needs connection when submitting a page, no time-out of session, no technical requirements to fill in a questionnaire
  • Reports: online frequencies, response statistics
  • Download data: csv (excel, open office) & SPSS
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  • Language support: dutch, english, french, spanish (within one survey)
Ask People http://www.askpeople.co.uk/
  • Description: Basic open source PHP survey tool working from XML data files. Theme-able.
  • Cost: Free, donation to developer invited. You will need your own hosting.
  • Bandwidth: Generates basic mark-up and themes could be created to make it image-free.
  • Reports: Basic online summaries and views of individual cases. E-mail alerts or RSS feed of new responses possible.
  • Download Data: Tab separated values
  • Experience of KM4Dev members:
  • Language support: (unknown)

When to use

  • When you want to gather data from many people and have the data in an easy to access/download/use form.
  • To do surveys, registration forms, data collection

How to use


Tips and Lessons Learnt

  • Opinio is a nice tool for this and is free. You can use it in a hosted environment or install it on your own server.
  • Zoomerang is an alternative to Survey Monkey.
  • We've tested a lot and really like survey monkey, although trying to explain the name to clients takes some doing. But like you we're always looking for better ones. Finding something that works seamlessly with emails for low bandwidth locations might be interesting. (Tony Pryor)
  • I used Survey Monkey for a relatively long survey of respondents who were in developing countries (largely Africa). Although the population we were targeting had relatively good access, you never know who it is you miss because of technological barriers. (Well, you usually don't know because finding out isn't in the budget!) One thing that I think is good about Survey Monkey is that you can discontinue your account and not pay their fee for several months. When you re-activate it, your previous surveys are still there! I thought that was a very nice gesture toward low-budget organizations and practitioners. (John Smith)
  • I am quite satisfied with the survey component of Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 for quick and small internal surveys. This tools is the free version you can download at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=E084D5CB-1161-46F2-A363-8E0C2250D990&displaylang=en (Perpetus Jacques Houngbo )
  • A nice feature of SurveyMonkey (and probably the other tools as well) is it will export your data to Excel where you can quickly whip it into colorful bar charts for reports or Powerpoint slides. (Mark Winslow)
  • I have used web based surveys in international development. I used to use email based surveys and the amount of time this saves me is INCREDIBLE. But where people can't load a web page, they don't work. That simple. So I often find myself using the web based primarily, then have those with very limited connectivity do an email version which then I input on to the web. One thing groups have appreciated about the web based survey is the ability to see results right after they contribute. I am a strong believer that the group who participates in the survey has ownership of it. So the perspective is "what did we find out about us," not "what did I find out about all of you!" (Nancy White)
  • I have just completed a Sector Study for policing in Canada, and we used WebSurveyor... it was quite easy to setup, and provided some data analysis tools, although I ended up doing most of my analysis in Excel. We provided fax and email options as well, and used the online tool to enter the data that came via that route. It has a fairly "light" interface, so using it on a low-bandwidth internet connection should work. Interestingly though, we found we only had about 50-60% of responses via the online tool, and this is for a survey in Canada... I am sure you can expect less in developing countries. (David Ransom)
  • We've had good successes with surveymonkey as well. I've taken to calling it to surveymk, because some clients get a startled look when you mention that your URLs will have "surveymonkey" in them, but the whole system works fine if you use the domain surveymk.com. You can typically make a very professional-looking survey in about 15 minutes or less. There's something about using software designed by people with a sense for graceful design...The default (free) interface is really graphically lean, so I think it would be relatively good in low-bandwidth. If you pay the small fee you can add your own graphics at the top, etc. The excel export (requires the small fee) is smooth.When you design a good survey, sometimes it's ok if the response rate is low -- even a modest amount of replies can provide real insights. (Eric Stephan)
  • We’d echo SurveyMonkey as an excellent on-line survey tool. I’ve been using it at Christian Aid for over 2 years now. We pay the (small) monthly subscription so we get branding and now use it for everything from large scale user surveys involving 000’s of our web site readers through to quick pulse surveys with field staff and partners. The interface is low bandwidth and, importantly, the cost per response once you are over 1,000 replies is very reasonable. We even use the thing as a confidential tool for 360degree staff appraisals. Since the arrival of SharePoint at Christian Aid, we’ve taken to doing on-line surveys for staff using that tool instead. However, SurveyMonkey remains an important part of our arsenal and we have two surveys in it going live tomorrow – complete with conditional question routes and data validation. Way cool – use it! (Steven Buckley)
  • Although I'm a SurveyMonkey fan myself, I'd also like to point you in the direction of WebEnq version 3, an open source tool for Internet-based surveys, developed by IICD with developers from Drostan and Data-Assist in 2005. It has a number of characteristics which make it particularly suitable for use in the South. For more details, please consult
  • http://demosurvey.iicd.org/ (Sarah Cummings)
  • We are using SurveyMonkey, and are overall very happy with it (cheap, easy, great support in case of trouble, export to excel or tab delimited file), but .... there's one feature we are not very happy with. When a respondent closes the browserwindow (or the connection is somehow lost) the survey is closed and there will be a datarcord with answers to just part of the questions. Respondents can not (choose) to continue with a partially completed survey. (Mirjam Schaap)


Examples & Stories

(add your story)
  • The Share Fair 2009 was organised by partners located in different organizations and different countries. As we started to organise regular meetings it became important to have a tool that would help us with that (without having to send numerous emails back and forth about everyone's availability). Doodle is a great tool for organizing events. Doodle is free online tool and does not require installation/download or registration. I used it primarily to organize meetings but it can also be used to run polls. - Gauri Salokhe (gauri.salokhe [at] fao.org), FAO.

Who can tell me more?

  • Gauri Salokhe (gauri.salokhe [at] fao.org)

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