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University is currently preparing to implement an online (cloud-based) survey tool which will be free of charge to the end user (staff and students). The IDS is working on the implementation and rollout plan (likely to be finalised in early 2018) in conjunction with key stakeholders including the vendor team, student experience and technical IDS teams. Broader communications will occur to the University community once finer details are worked out and dates confirmed. In the meantime, there are two options available.

WHAT TOOLS ARE USED AROUND THE UNIVERSITY

(a) Most of our researchers utilise Survey Monkey as the preferred OST, purchasing access to the tool as required - https://www.surveymonkey.com/pricing/?ut_source=header . It is advisable to check first with your College’s research contact officer whether there is a local OST access arrangement in place. IMPORTANT NOTE: In 2016 Survey Monkey considerably restricted the capacity of their “Free” option by excluding the possibility of any form of data export. This change renders using their Free account as not viable even for the pilot studies.

(b) The ACSPRI (the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Inc), which FU is a member of, has deployed an online survey platform - https://memberssurveys.acspri.org.au/ . It is well-featured, well supported and the cost seems very reasonable, compared with Survey Monkey or other OSTs.

It is advisable to check whether a chosen tool/pricing plan has the capacity to export the collected data directly into the desired analytical program (for example, IBM SPSS) and whether it covers, if required, more specialised features such as randomisation of questions order, etc.

WHO COVERS THE COST

The cost of the selected OST will have to be covered by the researchers privately or through local college’s arrangements aiming to support research.  

WHAT TYPE OF SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE

The university does not offer technical support in setting up the surveys in any OST. However, all the major OSTs have very intuitive engines and extensive assistance through the online based help and tutorials.

Questions about psychometric and research aspects of designing your questionnaire can be addressed by the university statistical consultant (stats.consultant@flinders.edu.au ). Furthermore, a number of OST related publications are available in the library, to mention but a few:

  • Sue, V. M., & Ritter, L. A. (2012). Conducting online surveys (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.
  • Tourangeau, R., Conrad, F. G., & Couper, M. (2013). The science of web surveys. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Van Selm, M., & Jankowski, N. (2006). Conducting Online Surveys. Quality and Quantity, 40(3), 435-456.
  • Fielding, N., Lee, R. M., & Blank, G. (2008). The SAGE handbook of online research methods. Los Angeles ;: London : SAGE.
  • Gottliebson, D., Layton, N., & Wilson, E. (2010). Comparative effectiveness report: Online survey tools. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 5(6), 401-410.
  • Marsden, P. V., & Wright, J. D. (2010). Handbook of survey research (2nd ed.). Bingley: Emerald.

TO CONSIDER

  • Survey delivery options - Use of OST should be driven by your research aims, and it may not always be the best option for a robust data collection. Above listed references provide an overview of limitations that come with using only online surveys.
  • Branding - adding the University's logo to your survey will identify it as credible. For more information see the MACO website.
  • Accessibility - if your survey needs to be accessed by people using assistive technologies, make sure the survey tool supports that.
  • Check your ethics - ensure the treatment of data by the online survey tool matches what is required by your ethics approval. Additional ethical points to consider can be found in Buchanan, E. A., & Hvizdak, E. E. (2009). Online survey tools: Ethical and methodological concerns of human research ethics committees. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 4(2), 37-48.
  • Data Management Plan – Think about how you will manage your data after it has been collected.  Some research projects may require a dedicated Data Management Plan.
  • Pilot the survey - Test the survey yourself and, if possible, with the small pilot sample. Make sure the questions work the way they should from the technical as well as research points of view.