The World Made Flat with Online Surveys

by Vicky Frank

I recently had the opportunity to present at a conference in Oman about Learner-Centered Approaches in Pre-Service Teaching. My objective was to present the results of a survey of educators around the world about their opinions, experience, and plans for using (or not using) student-centered methodologies in their teaching, posing the question, “What is your experience with student- centered teaching and how does your experience compare with educators around the world?”

I chose the survey tool SurveyMonkey and found it to be very easy to use and customize. They offer a free version that supports up to 10 questions. Although I wanted to keep the survey short, this turned out to be too restrictive, so I opted for the very affordable paid version ($19.95 per month). This version also provided skip logic, which enabled me to redirect people to another set of questions based on the answers they gave.

Some things I learned from creating the survey:

  • Don’t just think of your questions, but think of how you want to capture answer data. This will help you choose the best question type when creating the survey. If everything is a fill-in answer, you will get lots of data, but nothing that you can work with to compare, trend, or present in an interesting way.
  • If you are willing to share the results of your survey with other people, identify which flavor of Creative Commons license under which you will do so and let potential respondents know.
  • A short set of demographic questions in the beginning can be very useful in providing meaningful response reports.  SurveyMonkey (paid version) allows you to both filter and cross reference questions, so consider obtaining demographic data to support these views of the data.
  • Provide contact information on the thank-you page (create a thank-you page). SurveyMonkey does not allow you to embed live links or email addresses, but you can provide this information in text on the last page with your thanks.
  • Use social media channels to find potential survey respondents. I posted to LinkedIn groups, Google groups, FaceBook groups, teacher forums; communicated on Twitter; and emailed my educator colleagues to promote my survey. I was surprised and pleased to receive responses from educators in 25 countries.

The survey is still available to respondents and I will update my results presentation over the coming months. I posted my results presentation on SlideShare and shared this with all respondents who requested a copy.

This experience was a very good one - I recommend using surveys to broaden your connections, obtain useful information, and learn something in the bargain about your chosen subject.

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2 Comments on “The World Made Flat with Online Surveys”

  1. Arromafourl Says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


  2. Vicky Frank Says:

    Thank you for your response! I’m glad this information is useful to you!


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