Quick and Easy Surveys with Google Docs - Page 2

By Helen Bradley
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Complete the Question Options

question format options; small business software
A multiple choice question (top) can have only one answer whereas checkboxes (bottom) allow for multiple answers.
(Click for larger image)

If the question type you've chosen requires you to provide answers for the recipient to select, you will be given space to type each answer you are offering. Click Other if you want to allow people to select Other as an option and to type the answer of their choosing into a box.

For the Scale question, you select the number of choices -- such as 0-5 or 1-6 -- and the labels that appear to the left and right of the scale. These labels indicate what the smallest and largest values represent, and you should provide context so people know whether, for example, 5 translates as good or bad on your scale.

The Grid question type works well for a series of questions that all use the same ranking. The numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in the question-editing area are the column headings for the grid so they may read, for example: N/A, Poor, Acceptable, Satisfactory, Excellent. The Row labels are the items the recipient is ranking. For example, a restaurant seeking feedback about the quality of the food might offer these options: Temperature, Appearance, Quantity, Taste and so on.

Final Survey Touches

When your questions are complete, click on the Theme button, choose a theme that suits your business type, and click Apply.

When your customers click to submit the form, they'll see a default confirmation message. To customize the message, choose More Actions > Edit Confirmation. You can edit this message to make it more personal, if desired.

If you want participants to see the survey results after they have completed the survey, select the Publish Response Summary checkbox; in most cases you will leave this option unchecked.

Distributing the Survey

question format options; small business software
Results from your survey are written directly into a spreadsheet, and you can view them any time.
(Click for larger image)

You have two ways to distribute the survey; you can email it, or you can publish it to your website or blog. To email it, click the Email Form button and enter the email addresses being sure to separate each with a comma. Alternately you can select the intended recipients from your Contact List. Disable the Include form in the email option, as not all email clients will render the form correctly. With this option disabled, recipients will get a link they can use to open the survey in their browser, which is the preferred option.

If you want to make the survey available from your blog or website, choose More Actions > Embed to get the code you need to embed the form in your website.

Take Your Survey Live

Check your form by clicking the link at the foot of the page to preview it. Save the form, close the dialog and close your spreadsheet.

Over time as recipients complete the form, you can see the results by opening the spreadsheet. Each column represents one of the questions in the survey form, and each row will contain one recipient's answers.

Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com

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This article was originally published on May 31, 2011
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