Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Survey Says!

Want a quick, simple way to gather and share data? Then you need to take a look at Google Docs' newest feature!

In Excel, you can create a very flexible survey on the fly and have it up and running within minutes with a link to a web-based questionnaire. Participants fill it out and the results are automatically added to the spreadsheet.

What did I love most? The fact that I didn't have to do anything to set up the spreadsheet! After you created it, you save it, click the share tab, and then select the form creation option and it walks you through the rest. As for distribution, you have the option of emailing the form or distributing the link to the form. I tried both and didn't have luck with the email form sending back the results, but the web-based form worked like a charm. I also embedded the results into my wiki, which is updated every five minutes with new incoming data. Feel free to give it a try and check the results. Oh, almost forgot! Participants do NOT need an account or to sign in to Google Docs in order to complete the survey or poll that was created.

The downside? You can't control who responds to your survey if the link gets emailed outside of the circle it was sent to and there is nothing to stop participants from responding more than once to the survey. However, if you just need to gather some quick data, it's a snap to use!