5 Simple Steps to Create and Conduct a Survey

Written by Amy Jorgenson on May 8, 2013

Posted in Form Hacks, Surveys

Surveys are a good, fun way to gather information on particular interests or products and even to conduct employees reviews. Creating a survey with Formstack is quick and easy and totally beats using a paper form. Why, you say?

1. An electronic form can be sent ALL over the world in a matter of seconds

2. You can edit your survey at any time.

3. You can close your survey automatically after a desired number of recipients or a set date.

4. Results/feedback are immediate.

5. You can analyze, sort, and quickly search your collected data in your online database.

6. You can create charts, reports, and share your collected data with others with just a few clicks.

7. You can export your collected data to keep in your own records.

8. You can trigger Confirmation and Notification Emails to go out upon submission.

Now that I’ve convinced you that you are in the right place and Formstack is the right tool, let’s explore 5 simple steps that will help you create your survey.

Step One: Determine Your Sample Group
When conducting a general survey, it is important to survey a group of individuals that will give you the most accurate, unbiased results. When conducting a survey specific to a set of beliefs, then you must intentionally gather like individuals. This step involves research and planning. Once you decide what type of group, you must decide how many to survey. If conducting a general survey, that really depends on how high you want your level of confidence or how low you want your margin of error to be. If you want to get technical, the appropriate sample size can be determined with this online calculator by Raosoft.

Step Two: Create Your Questions
With a Formstack form, you can use the following field types to display your questions: Select List, Radio Button, Checkbox, Matrix and Short or Long Answer. There are a few differences:

Select List: Drop down answers – this can make the form look more compact because selections are hidden in a dropdown format. Individuals can select multiple answers by holding CTRL while clicking. You can add values to your selections.

Radio Button: Selections are listed and only one selection can be made per field. You can add an “other” option. You can add values to your selections.

Checkbox: Selections are listed and more than one selection can be made in a field. You can add a “check all” or “other” option. You can add values to your selections.

Short/Long Answer: These fields are open-ended and you can set a maximum number of characters to limit responses.

Matrix: This field type is good if you need to compare or rank related statements/ideas. You can limit to one selection per row or column, or both.

If you are going to have weighted selections, you will want to choose either a select list, radio button, or checkbox field. To add a value to the options on any of these fields, click on the “Option” tab when in the field edit mode and click to “Use Separate Values”. If you have one right answer, then you can make that selection worth “1” point (or whatever value you choose) and the others “0”. Note, values must be unique. If you have several of the same number, you will have to differentiate them as I have done below.

At the end of your survey, you can use a “read-only” Number field to calculate the results. Check out this post to help with creating these calculations: Support How-To: Setting Up and Calculating Fields. I won’t go into this here, but after you create your questions, you can customize the styling of your survey with a default Theme or a custom Theme that you create with our easy Theme builder tools.

Step Three: Test
After you have finished creating your survey, send it out to a few individuals that weren’t involved in the development process and allow them to take the survey and give feedback on the process. Things you could ask:

1. Did my survey seem biased?

2. Were my questions worded in a way that you could easily understand?

3. Was my survey too long/short?

4. Did my survey flow well?

5. Did your results seem accurate?

After you get their feedback, you can make changes to the questions by clicking to edit the field when in Build mode.

Step Four: Get it Out

You can embed your survey on your website or on a Formstack Landing Page. We provide you with the Javascript, iframe, lightbox, and Advanced HTML embed codes under the Publish tab of your form. You can also email the survey link out to your contacts via your email service provider or email marketing tool. It may be helpful to note that we integrate with several Email Marketing platforms including Constant Contact, MailChimp, ExactTarget, AWeber, iContact, and Campaign Monitor. That means, you can also add/update your records in that tool via a Formstack form submission.

Step Five: Analyze Your Data
Since submissions are immediate, you can begin analyzing your data as it starts flowing in. As I mentioned above, you can sort and search your collected data in your online database for easier viewing. From your data, you can create charts and reports to compare the selections to questions. You can easily switch type charts between horizontal and vertical bar charts and pie charts via the “gear” icon on the bottom left of your chart.

Once you create your reports, you can share these online with others via Share links. You can also export your collected data to keep in your own records or send to others.

You can follow up with correspondents after the survey closes via our Email Campaign tool.

Ready to create your first survey? Sign up for a free trial below to get started!