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Research Services

information technology services

Assistance with Online Surveys

Research Services can assist researchers in constructing online surveys.  Online surveys offer a quick and cost-effective method of data collection for research.  An online survey is similar to a paper-based or telephone survey, but allows the survey taker to input data directly into a database.  As with telephone and paper surveys there are methodological considerations specific to online surveys including ensuring representation of the population surveyed and ensuring a random selection of respondents.  Also there are privacy and security considerations specific to online surveys. The survey scan be taken by anyone with access to a Web browser and the Internet.  There are several survey tools available to researchers at Boston College: Qualtrics, on-line tools such as SurveyMonkey, and customized surveys.

Qualtrics is a web-based survey design tool currently licensed for use by students, faculty, and staff in Arts & Sciences, the Lynch School of Education, the Connell School of Nursing, and the Carroll School of Management.  Features of Qualtrics as an online survey tool include:

  • A simple survey design tool (Quick Survey Builder) to get started, an extensive library of survey templates for a variety of disciplines, as well as more complex functionality that allows survey designers tocustomize their survey formats with HTML and Javascript
  • A number of easy ways for survey respondents to take the survey, including survey links that may be imbedded in mailings and the ability to email individualized invitations to survey respondents. Survey links may also be sent through a mass mailing or posted on a website. Qualtrics also provides easy ways to preserve respondent anonymity.
  • A number of tools for viewing and analyzing survey responses, as well as for exporting survey results into other statistical analysis tools such as SPSS or Stata. Qualtrics also provides easy exportability of reports into Word, Powerpoint, or PDF format.
  • Online user support including public webinars, video tutorials, a searchable knowledge base, research articles, bibliographies and extensive documentation.  For more information, see: www.qualtrics.com/university.

To request a Qualtrics account, please contact your school: A&S (researchservices@bc.edu), CSON (maria.vitone@bc.edu), CSOM, (researchservices@bc.edu) or GSSW (rita.vatcher.1@bc.edu).

For departments that do not have access to Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey.com offer an inexpensive solution and provides an easy to use Web interface to construct surveys.  No programming experience is required.  SurveyMonkey offers SSL encryption for an additional charge. Encryption helps to meet IRB requirements.  SurveyMonkey's Help Center offers more information.

Research Services offers Qualtrics tutorials every semester, including the summer, as well as other tutorials and workshops. For more information about surveys, contact Rani Dalgin (rani.dalgin@bc.edu or researchservices@bc.edu).

If you're conducting research at Boston College, it is important to make sure that your specific online research complies with the policies of the Office of ResearchIntegrity and Compliance (www.bc.edu/research/oric/compliance.html) and your funding agency.  Research Services can assist with ensuring that your Qualtrics, Survey Monkey or other surveys comply with the necessary requirements, including security.

If online survey design tools do not meet your needs, Research Services will consult with you about other options such as designing a custom survey or hosting your survey on a secure server at Boston College.