By Nick Hill
Part I - Survey Creation, Survey Distribution and Tracking
- Password protected surveys - This allows you to protect your surveys with a password. The respondents have to know the password to be able to take the survey.
- Save and continue later - This allows your respondents to save the survey and continue later. It is a very good feature to have especially if your surveys are going to be long. Some survey softwares make the respondents explicitly save a link and bookmark it to continue later. These don't work that well compared to some others that don't require the respondents to do as much.
- Response validation - This allows you to validate the responses your respondents enter. These features are very important since they ensure that your respondents enter "valid" responses and increases the quality of the results. Always prefer survey softwares that have more types of response validation.
- Respondent uniqueness control - This allows you to ensure that a respondent takes the survey only once. There are a few ways to do this and not all of them are "full-proof". If you want to strictly enforce respondent uniqueness, make sure that the survey software allows you to send unique URLs to every email recipient. It is the only "full-proof" method of enforcing respondent uniqueness.
- Email notification upon response submission - This allows you to get email notifications when a respondent completes a survey. It is the only way to get the responses with survey softwares that don't store them in a database. But it is also offered as an addon by those that do store them in databases.
- Graphical reports - This allows you to graph the results and not all survey softwares have this feature. If you like to see results in neat-looking graphs, make sure that the survey software has this feature. Check out the sample reports; most companies have them on their website. Or better yet, try out the product and generate them yourselves!
- Advanced analysis features (cross-tabulation, sub-set analysis, 360 degree feedback, etc) - These allow you to perform advanced analysis on the results. Cross-tabulation allows you to relate the responses of one question to those of another. Sub-set analysis allows you to perform analysis on a sub-set of the responses by filtering out certain responses. These are definitely "premium" features and will impact the price.
- Export data - This allows you to export the responses so you can do analyses in your favorite tool, like Excel or SPSS. Make sure that the survey software has this feature, especially if it doesn't natively support the advanced analyses that you want to do.
- Save in PDF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint format - This allows you to save the report in one of the mentioned formats. It is a very convenient feature to have if you are going to distribute your report a lot.
© Web Based Survey Software (http://www.web-based-survey-software.org) 2004
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