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Surveys offer an opportunity to collect your own data by distributing a "sheet" of questions to a group of people.

 

On paper or online?

Usually it is pure paperwork. You can create a questionnaire, print it out, and hand it to the persons involved. Afterwards you simply count the answers or enter the answers into a database or spreadsheet programme for further analysis.

Using an online survey program things get easier. You make your questionnaire online and you can choose between a range of different answer forms and templates.

You can tell your class/school/community the address of the survey, or open it up to the world and when anyone completes the answers to the questions you automatically get the results. With most tools there is a range of question types which can be edited to suit your particular needs.

 

Mistakes or errors

There are a lot of technicalities, methods and possible mistakes involved whether you use paper and pencil or net based surveys.

Beware of the possible errors that can occur - discuss them in class, with the aid of examples from surveys in the media - read about them - talk with your teacher / colleagues. When surveys are carried out in the right way, you can get some very interesting results. You will have produced your own specific data. And when done correctly the data might even be reliable!

 

Designing a survey

More information about designing a survey.

Web-based survey programs are often quite expensive but if you surf on the Internet you will find some options that are free of charge.

 

Online survey designing options

SurveyMonkey

free in a limited version (you need to register and sign in)

for smaller surveys it is a good tool

try it out by making a first small test-survey

on the homepage there is an overview of the different types of surveys that might be useful in an educational institution

lots of ideas for relevant surveys (biology, geography, social science) 

 

Google Form

free (you need to have a Google account and install Google Drive)

Google Forms are hosted online, sharing the URL of the form allows anyone to enter their responses (compulsory or optional)

responses of the persons are available in a spreadsheet

visualisation of all the answers is also generated automatically

result is similar to SurveyMonkey, but schools that already make use of Google apps or Google+ may find this a more appropriate method of collecting responses to questions.

instruction video