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Online survey tools_google-forms_nv_nsh (2) (2)


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Online Survey Tools, Google Forms

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Online survey tools_google-forms_nv_nsh (2) (2)

  1. 1. Online Survey Tools: A Case Study of Google Forms1 Vasantha Raju N.1 and N.S.Harinarayana2 1 Librarian, Government First Grade College, Periyapatna 2 Associate Professor, Department of Library & Information Science, University of Mysore, Mysore Abstract: In this paper an attempt has been made to explore the potential advantages of web- based survey tools for data collections and analysis. It also explains how web-based survey can be designed and developed for data collections using Google Forms. A sketchy comparison in the paper provides snapshots of some of the popularweb-based survey tools. The paper concludes by discussing the technological and privacy issues involved in web-based surveys. Key words: Online Survey Tools, Web-based Survey Instruments, Google Forms, Questionnaire Design 1. Introduction Online survey tools or web-based survey tools have become common data collection instruments in today’s networked environment. Researchers in academia and marketing use the online survey tools for data collections. The advantage of web technology has come in handy in designing, developing and obtaining users’ response in a simpler way. The origin of the Web- based survey can be traced backto thetelephonic interview, Fax and e-mail surveys (Wright, 2005). Today, the web-based survey tools have replaced its predecessors successfully and efficiently and have become one of the major tools for conducting survey research. The application of web-based survey tools have transcended to its predecessors and applied in almost all fields of study to conduct research (Zhang, 1999). There are a plethora of instruments available. In a comprehensive study by Kay & Johnson (1999), more than 2000 web-based 1 Citation for this Article: Vasantha Raju N., & Harinarayana, N.S. (2016, January). Online survey tools: A case study of Google Forms. Paper presented at the National Conference on "Scientific, Computational & Information Research Trends in Engineering, GSSS-IETW, Mysore.
  2. 2. survey tools in 59 areas of study were identified. The personal observation of the authors of this paper shows that more than 20 requests in LIS-Forum – a Listserv of LIS community operated from India - to participate in online surveys in the past six months. This trend indicates the growth and development of online survey tools. The web user population has been increasing day by day and has become theprimary medium for identifying and accessing information. The presence of huge population on the web has made web-based survey tools an important mode of data collection for research and thus became the most widely used data gathering method. In India also,the Internet users are increasing exponentially in recent times. An estimate shows that there are 243 million users by 2014 which represent 19.19% of India’s population 2 . This situation has created a fertile ground for conducting online research as well use web based online survey for doing research in academia as well marketing research. 2. Online Vs. Other Survey Tools As said earlier, the developments in the technological fronts have offered many opportunities for designing and developing user-friendlyweb-based questionnaires. The other survey tools such as face to face survey, telephonic interviewing methods, and e-mail survey methods have some inherent limitations. The adversaries of such tool includehigh cost, wastage of paper, long travel, time consumption both for researchers and respondents and so on. In an interesting observation,Lin & Wang (2015) found that web-based surveys are more reliable than face to face surveys. In an another study by Cobanoglu, Warde & Moreo (2001), it was found that compared to mail and fax based survey methods, web-based survey method had an upper hand regarding response speed, costs, response rate and variable costs. Table1 provides the details on how online survey tools or web-based survey tools are beneficial compared to other methods of survey research. Table-1: Comparison of Mail, Fax and Web Surveys3 2 3 Adapted from “A comparison of mail, fax, and web based survey methods” by Cihan Cobanoglu, Bill Warde, and Patrick J. Moreo, 2001, International Journal of Market Research, 43, p. 407.
  3. 3. Factor Mail Fax Web-Based Coverage High Low Low Speed Low High High Return cost Preaddressed/prestamped 800 return fax number No cost to the respondent Incentives Cash/Non-cash incentives can be included Coupons may be included Coupons may be included Wrong address Low Low High Labour needed High Medium Low Expertise to construct Low Medium High Variable cost/Each survey* About $1.00 About $0.50 No cost *These were the estimated costs for a 4-page survey that has a population in the U.S. 3. Online Survey Tools There are many online survey tools available on the web freely as well as proprietary versions. Capterra4 - a free online website that helps for business firms to identify right software for their organizations - lists almost 200 free and commercial web-based survey tools. This number is an indication of thegrowthof web survey tools for research in marketing and academia. Table 2 listspopular web-based survey instruments. Table-2: Comparison of a Few Well-Known Online Survey Tools and their Salient Features Name of the Web- Based Survey Tools/Product Free/Proprietary Features Limitations SurveyMonkey5 Free/Proprietary  Well designed, pretty easy to use, and one can embed surveys.  10 questions  100 respondents  15 question types  Light theme customization andtemplates The free version offersvery little. $ 26/Month 4 5
  4. 4. Name of the Web- Based Survey Tools/Product Free/Proprietary Features Limitations TypeForm6 Free/Proprietary  Unlimited questions  Unlimited answers  Data export  Custom design themes or choose from templates  Basic reporting Pro Version $20/Month Google Forms7 Free  Unlimited surveys  Unlimited respondents  Survey answers and data are automatically collected in Google Spreadsheets  Lots of theme options  Add your custom logo  Add images or videos  Skip logic and page branching  Embed survey into emails or website  Add collaborators  100% free! Data privacy Client Heartbeat8 Proprietary  Recurring survey for follow- ups  Automatic remainder of non- respondents  Provides third party data for benchmarking No free version $ 25/Month Zoho Survey9 Free/Proprietary  Unlimited surveys  15 survey questions  150 responses  Cross Tab reports  Easy editor  Personalized survey questions $39/month 6 7 htpp:// 8 9
  5. 5. Source: 4. A Case Study of Google Forms The Google Forms is a cloud-based data management tool used for designing and developing web-based questionnaires. This tool is provided by Google Inc10 ., andfreely available on the web to anyone to use and create web-based questionnaires. The anywhere-anytime-access and other advantages (unlimited surveys, 100% free) have made Google Forms a popular product in online survey research. Helia Jacinto11 of theUniversity of Lisbon says about Google Forms that “I have used Google Forms in a survey (for a research project). It comprised over 30 questions and aimed at gathering data from specific students from elementary schools in the south of Portugal. The survey link was disseminated trough email and trough the schools board. We have over 1200 responses in a spreadsheet, which are being organised and analysed by a colleague specialized in such data analysis. We decided to use Google Forms because it seemed quite easy to build the questionnaire. Overall, the team thinks it is a good resource and worked just fine for what we needed”. The following section explains the stepsinvolved in using Google Formsfor web-based survey. The authors took a research study conducted by one ofthem as an example for explaining the use ofGoogle Forms. The topic requiresthe data regarding employability status of graduates, usefulness of LIS skills in employment. Each step starting from designing and developing web- based survey tools to completion of the survey and analysis of the data is discussed.  Step-1: Design and Developing Web-BasedQuestionnaire The Google Forms provides an easy-to-use webinterface for designing and developing web- based survey questionnaires. Figure 1 shows the web questionnaire design interface. The Google Form provides various options for capturing the data from the multiple answers. For example, one can have multiple choice options, check boxes, scale, grid, text, and so on. The designer (researcher) can set up the exact number of questions required to be collected. The template option provides built-in templates for giving anaesthetic look for the questionnaire. Figure2 shows the final output of the web-based questionnaire designed for data collection on the 10 11
  6. 6. topic “What are they now? A survey of University of Mysore Library and Information Science (MyDLIS) graduates of 2000-2004”. Fig-1: Google Forms Questionnaire Design Interface
  7. 7. Fig-2: Google Forms Completed Web Questionnaire Ready for Hosting  Step-2: Web-Based Questionnaire for Data Collection Hosted on the Web Once the questionnaire is ready, it needs to be hosted on the web. One can generate automatic Web URL for the questionnaire and send the link to the intended participants (study sample) of the survey. Usually online forums, social networking sites such as Facebook and e-mail contacts are used for sending web questionnaire. Figure2 shows the web version of the questionnaire that was accessed through the web URL12 by the intended participants to fill the online survey. The researcher posted a message on the LIS-Forum on 30th April 2015 and requested the members of 12
  8. 8. the forum to participate in the online survey (See Figure 3). In the interest of reaching out wider participants, simultaneously the web link was also shared via Facebook (See Figure-4). Fig-3: Request Sent via LIS-Forum for Participating in the Survey Dear Sir/Madam/Friends I have taken up a small survey on “What Are They Now? A Survey of University of Mysore Library and Information Science (MyDLIS) Graduates of 2000 to 2014” to understand the employability status of graduates, usefulness of LISc skills in employment and also to obtain on-field MyDLIS graduates feedback on MLISc Course and its future perspective. The University of Mysore MLISc graduates who have passed out from 2000 to 2014 can participate in this survey. Through this forum I kindly request those who have completed their MLISc degree from the University of Mysore from 2000 to 2014 to participate in this survey. Participation in this survey is anonymous. Following link will lead you to the survey: This survey is very brief and takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact me Please complete the survey by May 8, 2015. Your assistance in providing invaluable information about this topic is much appreciated.
  9. 9. Fig-4: Request for Participation in the Web Survey in Facebook  Step-3: Data Response and Data Coding Sheet As the request for participating in the web survey was sentviaLIS-Forum and Facebook, there were some queries via e-mail, and some of the participants even shared the web link on their Facebook page. More than 71MyDLIS LIS graduates responded to the questionnaire through the web. Figure 5 depicts day-wise data collection of the web survey. One of the advantages of the online survey is having the real-time data on the number of participants participated in the survey on the daily basis. Fig-5: Day-Wise Data Response Rate Another major advantage as mentioned elsewhere in this paper is that the respondents’ data is available in the format suitable for analysis. The researcher need not key-in respondent data manually and thus the data coding error is minimized. The Google Forms records the respondent 2 13 8 4 10 13 5 4 5 2 1 1 1 1 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 30/04/2015 01/05/2015 02/05/2015 03/05/2015 04/05/2015 05/05/2015 06/05/2015 07/05/2015 08/05/2015 09/05/2015 10/05/2015 11/05/2015 12/05/2015 13/05/2015 14/05/2015 15/05/2015 16/05/2015 17/05/2015 18/05/2015 19/05/2015 20/05/2015 NumberofRespondents Date Day-Wise Data Response Rate
  10. 10. data in its spreadsheet and provide anopportunity to export to other statistical packages for analysis, if required. Figure 6 shows the data which is in analyzable format. Fig-6: Data Response Automatically Stored in Google Spreadsheet  Step-4: Data Analysis and Graphical Representation of Data As mentioned in this paper, the Google Forms allow data analysis and graphical presentation online. Once the web questionnaireis filled online, automatically the data will be recorded in Google spreadsheet in an analyzable format and allow for tabulation and graphical representation of data. Figure 7 shows the responded data in a graphical presentation as well in descriptive
  11. 11. statistics. Graphics and Descriptive statistics can be easily importedintoanother format such as MS Wordetc. Fig-7: Graphical Presentation of Samples in Google Forms 5. Issues involved in Conducting Online Surveys Though the advancement in web technologies and users access to the Internet has made web- based surveys easier,some issues needto be carefully looked into while planning and conducting web surveys. Questions about sample selections, technological variations, low response rate, privacy and security issues (Evans & Mathur, 2005; Zhang, 1999) have remained important questions to be addressed while conducting online surveys. In developing countries, where Internet penetration is still not widespread and low compared to developed countries, identifying potential sample for theweb-based survey may prove to be ahorrendous task. The privacy and security issues and technological variations have becomemore important matters since there are no strict policies or monitoring systems to address these problems in countries such as India.
  12. 12. 6. Conclusion The Online surveys or Web-based surveys have become important because of lesser cost in administrating questionnaire,ability to reach out to alarge population, geographical and temporal advantages, reaching unique population easily and other benefits. The study shows how theweb- basedsurvey is used for data collection fora small study in library and information science using Google Forms. The free availability of the tool and automatic recording of user response in its spreadsheet have made data collection and analysis simple. In a country like India where internet user base is increasing day by day web-based survey tools may become obvious choice for survey research. References Cobanoglu, C., Warde, B., & Moreo, P.J. (2001). A comparison of mail, fax and web-based survey methods, International Journal of Market Research, 43, 405-10. Evans, J.R., & Mathur, A. (2005). The value of online surveys. Internet Research, 15 (2), 195- 219. Fleming, L.M., & Bowden, M. (2009). Web-based surveys as an alternative method to traditional mail methods, Journal of Environmental Management, 90, 284-292. Kaye B.K. & Johnson T.J. (1999).Research methodology: Taming the cyber frontier. Social Science Computer Review, 17, 323-337. Wright, K.B. (2006). Researching Internet-based populations: Advantages and disadvantages of online survey research, online questionnaire authoring software packages, and web survey services. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(3). Retrieved from Zhang, Y. (1999). Using the Internet for survey research: A case study.Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 51(1), 57-68.