Using Google Forms for Research

Through my friend Edward, I recently got to know that Google Docs now offer forms for free.¬† The forms can be used to gather simple information such as “which of the following alternatives do you prefer?” and for more complicated forms. Forms can be embedded in emails or websites or you can direct respondents to your survey with a link.

I have tried it out for a draft of the survey I will use for data collection for my dissertation. Likely, the respondents to my survey will fill it out on paper, but I thought Google Forms could be useful for a trial version of the survey to easily be able to obtain feedback on the questions and structure. So far, the experience has been nice – except for the first time I filled the questions and realized after almost one hour’s work that I want connected to the Internet anymore and none of my changes had been saved… Otherwise, I found the tool very quick and intuitive.

You can add questions, select what type of answer you want (multiple choice, text, check boxes, scale etc), add headers and move questions around. The look is instantly professional and the backend allows you to see summaries of your questions with pie charts and percentages already calculated for you as well as the answers in a neat spreadsheet that is downloadable to Excel!

This tool opens up to so many opportunities, my mind just goes off thinking about all the cool surveys one could do!

You can see my questionnaire here – if you are a Ghanaian student, please do fill it out – and if you can remember to give me feedback on the questionnaire itself in the last section.

If you want to try this tool out, go to Google Docs, click on “file”, choose “new” and then “forms” in the drop down list. Happy research Monday!