Making a survey or questionnaire has never been easier. Online survey and questionnaire websites now allow you to create in minutes what in the past has taken hours.
If you are making a survey using a word-processor, stop immediately. Yes, you can create a survey using a word-processor, you can also use a spreadsheet but if you consider the individual steps required to conduct a survey you will quickly realise that using a word-processors or a spreadsheet is like using a screwdriver to hammer a nail.
Word-processors and spreadsheets are like having an electronic pen and paper. They start off with a blank canvas and you can do anything you want; as Microsoft used to say 'Where do you want to go today?'.
Between them they will help you write a letter to the bank, calculate your expenses, create a brochure or a birthday greeting, even design a survey and questionnaire. The problem is is that they are both, clever Jacks of all trades, but not a master of all.
On the other-hand online survey website whole purpose in life is to create surveys and questionnaires. They 'know' what it is you are trying to achieve and therefore know that when you ask a question you will want to receive an answer. There are only so many ways that you can ask a question and receive an answer and the online survey website knows them all.
A good survey and questionnaire will only ask questions that are relevant to each respondent. If the survey asks people if they went on holiday and they answered no, you don't want the survey to then ask, 'where did you go on holiday?'.
Traditionally, this has been achieved by writing on the questionnaire; if you answer 'No' to the previous question please skip this question.
Online survey websites on the other-hand know all about skip logic and can automate the whole process without the need to have to rely on instructing the respondent on how to navigate through the questionnaire; those that didn't go on holiday are just directed to the next relevant question.
Skip logic is just one of many functionality advantages the online survey website has over the word-processor or spreadsheet.
It is difficult to fully test a survey that has been created using a word-processor or spreadsheet. They can be proof read for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors but the process of completing the survey is difficult to simulate. Importantly there is limited opportunity to ensure that the respondent data can be easily analysed and confirmation made that once collated it will be fit for purpose and will allow the survey goals and objectives to be achieved.
On the other-hand online surveys and questionnaires allow the whole process to be tested and the test data analysed without the need to break sweat.
Once you have created and tested your word-processing document or spreadsheet you can email it to those that you want to invite to participate.
To participate, each respondent has to open the attachment, fill out the survey and then close the file and then email back the completed file.
Compare that to the online survey and questionnaire where the respondent needs to simply click on an embedded email link to the published survey, complete the survey using their browser and once completed they do not need to do anything else.
For methods using a word-processor or spreadsheet there is no way of monitoring progress. The emails have been sent out but until they are sent back there is no way of knowing how many respondents have started or completed the survey.
For the online survey they can monitor the number of surveys that have been started and completed in real-time. Instant feedback in real-time allows the publisher to monitor the speed of uptake.
If the respondent is required to send back the completed survey, which they need to do if the survey is in the format of a word-processing document or spreadsheet, it is more often than not the case that a respondent will not return a partially completed questionnaire.
The online questionnaire has the capability of collecting partially completed surveys.
The longer the survey the more this will be a problem for the word-processing and spreadsheet survey solutions as generally dropout rates increase proportionally with the length of the survey regardless of the incentives offered.
With the word-processing and spreadsheet solution the documents that are returned need to be individually opened and the information transferred to a master spreadsheet or database so that the results can be compiled; the same type of process they were using when they compiled the Doomsday book in 1086.
For the online survey solution the results are collated in real-time and in a form that allows for on the fly analysis. With the online survey solution the whole collating process has been consigned to history.
When considering that collating the results has in the past represented a vast proportion of the time, effort and cost of conducting surveys, so much so that their effectiveness when compared to cost would be questioned; online surveys and questionnaires make the argument that the feasibility of conducting a question is no longer a matter of time or effort.
For more information or to discuss how online questionnaires can help you please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.surveygalaxy.com the quick, easy and cost effective way to do online questionnaires.