• Guidance


Why use this guide?

Use this Software and Technology Guide to get ideas and to explore your options when it comes to collecting information.

Collecting and recording information

Today, many choose to use an electronic device (such as an iPad or other tablet) to collect information. Some collect information using a more traditional approach – paper.

Use an electronic device if you can. This way the information you collect is ready to analyse without having to manually input data into Excel. Manual data entry takes time! If you don’t have access to a device, it’s worth asking around to see if you can borrow one from another organisation in your local area.

Using an online survey tool means your analysis is already half done, as they often automatically create charts and word clouds of your results.

Using Excel is another good way to collect information, but it does mean that you’ll have to create all of your charts and tables yourself. Check out the analyse your data tool for help with this and the data analysis spreadsheet template for a head start with setting up Excel.

Online survey tools

When it comes to surveying, there are many online tools available. Here is a small sample of online tools (with free and paid options):

  • Survey Monkey
  • Google Forms
  • Survey Gizmo
  • Typeform.

There are a few things to consider when choosing an online survey tool:

Designing your survey

  • How many questions can you include?
  • Is there access for others to work on the survey with you?
  • Does it allow you to apply skip logic (where respondents only see the questions relevant to them)?
  • Can you remove their branding and add your logo?
  • Can you add images or videos?

Sharing your survey

  • How many email invitations can you send through the tool?
  • Can you imbed the survey into your emails or website?

Collecting responses

  • How many responses you can receive?

Analysing results

  • Can you filter responses by answers, such as age?
  • Does it allow you to download raw data into an Excel file, for example?
  • Can you download charts and tables direct to Excel, Word, PowerPoint and/or PDF?
  • How many surveys can you have saved at any one time?

Social media surveying

Surveying or polling through your social media channels can be a fun way to engage with your online audience; however, it’s not a reliable sample for research because you can’t define your Population on social channels or ensure that your sample is representative of your Population. As such, any results from a social media poll should be interpreted with caution.

There are many options to consider to survey or poll through your social media channels:

  • A link to your survey – created in your online tool
  • Polls for Pages on Facebook
  • Instagram two-option poll
  • Twitter two-option poll.

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