Sunday, August 20, 2006

Have you used Survey Monkey?

Have you ever wanted to do your own surveys about genealogy, or just anything, online?

I was going through my list of genealogy blogs and clicked on Dan Lawyer's blog Taking Genealogy to the Common Person, and he had an interesting post about "How Well Do You Know Your Relatives?" on 11 August. At the end, he had a survey request. I took the survey and submitted my results. The "Done" link connected me to Survey Monkey.

At Survey Monkey, you can design your own survey, collect the responses and analyze the report. They do all the work for you.

For unlimited survey capability, there is a cost. But a Basic Survey subscription is free. You get:

A basic subscription is totally free and includes all of the basic features of SurveyMonkey. It's a great option for individuals, students, and anyone who doesn't need the advanced features of SurveyMonkey. Unlike other services, there are no annoying banner ads on your surveys. In addition, all of your survey responses remain absolutely private. Please note that basic subscribers are limited to a total of 10 questions and 100 responses per survey.

There are a number of other survey tools online, and I haven't done any due diligence. For a start in surveying, this is a pretty cool tool.

Go visit Dan's blog and take his survey, and think about how Survey Monkey, or a similar service, could help your genealogy society thrive, or at least get to know its members better.


JDR said...

Yes, we tried Survey Monkey back in June to find out what our members thought about our meeting program since September. Questions asked were on the number of meetings attended, quality of presentations, balance of topics, facilities, how they hear about upcoming meeting topics, etc.

It took a little experimentation to get the format correct in setting up the survey, but the learning curve was quite easy. The site worked well and the analysis was clear.

However, I was dissappointed in the number of online responses. In the end we made up a paper version and handed it out at our final meeting. We got twice as many paper version responses as online responses.

The biggest lesson was not to let my own enthusiasm for this kind of online application get in the way. We wanted answers to the survey questions, the means to get those answers needed to suit our membership. The fact is that we have a minority, but still significant proportion of our members who shy away from online applications. Had we relied totally on the online survey results we would have got a more positive view of the technology-oriented presentations than when paper returns were included.

Randy Seaver said...


Thanks for the comments. They are helpful. I will try to use it in several weeks - after I get back from holiday.

In my local society, we've always done a paper survey at our meetings, or in our newsletter, so that it reaches everyone in the membership.

Cheers -- Randy

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