Week 8: Survey Tools

Online surveys can be used to schedule meetings, solicit feedback, automate signups, keep reading logs, administer and grade tests, and perhaps for some purposes only you can dream up.

This week we’ll be exploring three tools for creating, administering, and reporting the results of online surveys: Doodle, Survey Monkey, and Google Forms.

Try whatever interests you below, look at the examples, and remember to blog about how these tools work for you. (Hint: You may want to invite other course participants to be guinea pigs for any surveys you create this week.)




Doodle has one very specific purpose: to poll multiple people about meeting times.

How can I use it?

Doodle has a quick learning curve; you can design a poll listing possible meeting times, and send invitations to all invitees, in less than 5 minutes. Really.

Some options in setting up your poll:

  • Check a box to show times in respondents’ own time zones
  • List start times only, or both start and end times
  • Response choices can be either yes / no, or yes / yes (if need be) / no

Get started with Doodle:

  • Follow step-by-step instructions on the Doodle website to schedule an event, with or without registering for an account.
  • Send an invitation to several people to respond your poll.
  • Use the notification features to follow up on whether they’ve responded, to remind them if necessary, and to let them know which meeting time works for the most people.

If you want to explore more free features, try these as well:

  • Watch this video (<2 minutes) about using Doodle’s Calendar Connect
  • Sign up for a free MyDoodle acount
  • Sign up for Calendar Connect to sync Doodle to your calendar (works with Google Calendar, Exchange, iCal and Outlook)
  • Set up a MeetMe page to let others see when you’re available for meetings
  • Sign up for Doodle mobile, to access Doodle from a cell phone



SurveyMonkey was the most popular tool for online surveys from about 2007-2010, and has since been displaced by Google Forms, which offers fewer types of questions but more other features than the free version of SurveyMonkey.

How can I use it?

The SurveyMonkey website offers good resources about questionnaire design which can inform your use of any survey tool.

Given the number of examples of Google Forms being used in school libraries, I suspect that will be a better fit for most of your needs. But I recommend exploring both.

Some SurveyMonkey features:

  • More types of questions and charts than Google Forms
  • Wide range of templates (some not available to free users) with questions designed and tested by survey experts
  • Free version only allows 10 questions and 100 responses per survey, and results can only be exported as PDFs

Some examples you might find interesting:

Get started with SurveyMonkey:

  • Create an account, and/or sign in at SurveyMonkey
  • On the home page, click on the three dots in the main panel to read “How It Works”, “5 Tips for Designing a Great Survey”, and “5 Ways to Get More Responses”
  • Look at the tour of SurveyMonkey’s features
  • Look at how questions and response choices are worded in these templates for education surveys
  • Adapt a template for your own use, or go to the home page and click on “create a survey” to start one from scratch.
  • From inside your survey, tap on the “collect responses” tab to invite colleagues or friends to fill out your survey.
  • When you have some responses, tap on the “analyze results” tab from inside your survey, and explore the options in the left sidebar for displaying your findings.

If you want to explore more features, take a look at Survey Monkey’s tutorials and documentation.

Want to brush up on survey design in general, whether or not you’re using SurveyMonkey? Take a look at SurveyMonkey’s Best Practices for Survey Design (36-page pdf) for a good overview of question types, wording and layout, response rates, and pros and cons of online surveys.

Google Forms



Like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms can be used to design online surveys. It is free, as part of the Google Docs suite, so you need to sign up there to use it. Google Forms can be accessed from desktop and laptop computers, but not from mobile devices.

How can I use it?

After respondents fill out your survey, Google Forms will generate a simple summary of the responses, showing a tally of closed-ended responses, and text strings of open responses. Each survey you design is directly linked to a spreadsheet of the results, which can be exported as Excel, CSV, or several other formats.

Here are some examples of Google forms being used in education and in libraries:

After looking at these examples, jot down or blog your ideas about ways to use Google Forms at your library or school.

Get started with Google Forms:

Here are some tutorials. (If you need a refresher on writing good questions, see the resources listed under SurveyMonkey above.)

Try designing a survey:

  • If you’re not already signed up for Google docs, you will need to register. Forms can be created in the desktop version of Google docs, but not the mobile version.
  • Follow one of the tutorials to create a survey. Experiment with different question types to see what is possible.
  • Click on the “Email this form” button near the upper right to send your survey to a few friends or colleagues.
  • After they respond, click on the “See responses” button near the upper right. Choose “Summary” to see an automatically generated tally. If you want to edit or export any responses, choose “Spreadsheet” and use the menus there.
  • If you are used to preparing charts or tables in Excel or another program, try exporting from your spreadsheet, and manipulating your data there.

Thanks for expanding your toolkit with these Web 2.0 survey tools! Remember to share your ideas and experiences with the rest of us in your blogs, about how these tools work for you and how you might use them in your work.

About lisahubbell

Lisa earned an MLIS from SJSU, after a 20-year career as a museum evaluator. Along the way, she has taught grad school in Museum Studies, and worked at a college music library, a folk music coffeehouse, and museums across the U.S. and Canada. Volunteer gigs on the way to her academic librarian job included facilitating a teen advisory group at a public library, presenting thematic music programs at preschools, and story reading at a Head Start Center. She’s also a songwriter and a knitter, as is her teenage daughter.

2 thoughts on “Week 8: Survey Tools

  1. Pingback: Can it be? The final (official) week of the EYT learning 2.0 program! | Expand Your Toolkit

  2. Pingback: The Many Faces of Surveys in the Library « The Musical Librarian

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