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I want to create a fairly long survey for my doctoral research. The target audience is teachers in the area. I have the option of using the software my institution provides (Qualtrics), Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or perhaps something different. I'm leaning toward my university's software because the URL has my university's domain and might seem more trustworthy or legit than SurveyMonkey. Google Forms is pretty slick, though, too.

My one requirement is that I need to be able to branch based on answers.

What are some pros/cons of using one software over the other for academic work? Is it okay to do a survey with software not provided by my institution?

(PS--This is actually on behalf of my wife. :-) )

  • Google Forms won't allow you to branch; don't know about the others... – jakebeal May 21 '15 at 15:08
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    There are two different questions here. The survey software question is probably better suited for Software Recs.SE; the issue of how being in academia affects or constrains your choice definitely is relevant here. – aeismail May 21 '15 at 15:29
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    @jakebeal: Google Forms does allow branching. See support.google.com/docs/answer/141062?hl=en – jvriesem May 21 '15 at 15:31
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    @jvriesem Hey, you're right! I never figured out that functionality before. Thank you! – jakebeal May 21 '15 at 15:33
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I don't think that survey URL's domain plays a significant role in trustworthiness of a doctoral survey request. What is far more important IMHO are the contents and writing style of the invitation letter as well as having solid professional or academic online profiles (as most likely most people will be looking you up anyway).

In regard to the software selection aspect, my advice is to check the following resources: this Wikipedia page, this Quora wiki page and this Quora thread. Just keep in mind that some answers are posted by people, affiliated with firms - creators of some survey software. Finally, I would like to emphasize that, when selecting survey software, it is important to consider its features and format flexibility in exporting the results for further data analysis (I assume such analysis is planned).

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I would go with Qualtrics, for the reasons you cite.

However, make sure that when you pull the data out you export the questions all the possible ways, especially the .qsf version. Otherwise, when you leave the institution, you'll have lost the survey (because you can't log in to get it). This is especially important if you, or anyone else, wants to use the survey again.

Since my institution uses surveymonkey, and I find the idea of asking people to go to a monkey site abhorrent, I will probably install Limesurvey, but my proclivity to do things myself the hardest way possible is a personal problem.

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  Is it okay to do a survey with software not provided by my institution?

This in itself should be OK. But if you put you survey somewhere online on your own make sure you carefully read the terms of use of that service and think hsard what rights to the survey data you're signing over to the form provider.

And double-check that this is OK with all the data privacy and ethics stuff the study needs to comply with.

I haven't used it but heard of REDCap in a lecture and got the impression that those developers put a lot of emphasis on getting the privacy and ethics issues right.

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