Click-by-click instruction for creating surveys with Google Doc spreadsheets and forms This is a click by click instruction on how to create a simple survey with Google Documents. While I personally am interested in experimental philosophy, this instruction serves for anyone wishing to do easy and simple (yet extandable) surveys with online forms. Of course the surveying methods have to be controlled better for the results to have scientific merit. Once you master the steps described herein, you can extend and professionalize your research. Please visit http://xphi.org and give some feedback on whether this has worked out for you.
Preparation We do our surveys with help of the spreadsheets in Google Documents. Please start at http://docs.google.com. You need a google account which you get when you apply for Gmail, Google Groups, Blogger.com or any other service run by Google. (You don't need an account for taking part in the survey!) If you don't have one yet please create an account (it's free) by clicking on the large blue button labeled "Get started", then follow the instructions. Once you're set return to http://docs.google.com.
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Your first document In the upper left area of the screen (the overview of your existing documents) choose New (1), then Spreadsheet (2).
Save it A new spreadsheet appears, appropriately called "Unsaved spreadsheet". You don't edit anything, rather save it immediately by clicking on File (1) and then Save (2). A box opens asking you to give your spreadsheet a name. Choose something, e.g. "Survey 1".
Share Choose Share in the upper right area of the spreadsheet screen (1). Some sharing options appear. Choose to fill out a form (2), then Start editing your form...(3).
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Start the form A window is opened. This is the editing environment for your survey form. Here you write questions and give answer options. People will (hopefully) fill out this form and the data will automatically be entered into your spreadsheet. We give our form a nice Form title (1) and give some polite instructions in the Form description (2).
A simple survey Enter a Question Title (1) and some explanatory Help Text (2). As Question Type (3) choose Multiple choice and enter some answers (4) of which the questioned person will choose one. Click Save (5), then + Add a question (5) to enter another question. Enter the second question the same way and when finished click Next, choose recipients (6).
Sending our form around The next screen will present ways of inviting people to participate in the form. We will go a slightly different route from here on, so bravely close the popped up form editing window and return to the main window. Your "Survey 1" should still be showing. Click on Share in the upper right area again. Your screen should look like this picture, if it doesn't, reload and click Share again. Make sure that the Invitations may be used by anyone (1) checkbox is checked. This way anyone willing to take part in the survey can take do so.
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Now click on Go to live form (2).
Your form A new window opens with your form as it appears to your test subjects. You can go and fill it out yourself for a test drive. Once you click Submit a thank-you-screen appears and that's it for your test subject. Save the URL of this page as a bookmark in your browser, copy and paste it somewhere or send the link to yourself by mail. You will need the url of this form-page in the final stage.
Your data Go back to your main screen and click on the Edit tag. If you have already filled out the form as a test, your first data should appear here.
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Adding a sheet Create a new spreadsheet by clicking on Add Sheet (1) in the lower left corner. While we are at it, let's rename "Sheet 1" into something like "Results" by clicking on the little blue triangle (2), then choosing Rename (3). And while we're at it, why not call the new sheet "Question 1".
First sheet In the new sheet created for the first question, enter the exact wording of the possible answers, one line per answer. It is important that these texts are identical to the text in the actual form.
Counting occurrences Let's get some statistics going. Enter "=COUNTIF(Results!B:B,A1)" into the cell B1. The function "COUNTIF" does a "conditional count". It takes the data specified before the comma and counts how often the data after the comma is found there. We have entered as data the reference "Results!B:B", which essentially means "everything in column 'B' on the sheet called 'Results'". The condition we have given after the comma is a reference to the cell "A1" to the left which contains the wording of one possible answer. So what the formula does is essentially count the occurrences of the first possible answer (here: "I don't think it could be built.") in column B on the results-sheet.
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Finish entering the formula by pressing the Enter-key (not by simply clicking elsewhere).
Doing the math Enter the formula "=100 * (B1/(COUNTA(Results!B:B)-1))" into cell C1. One new function introduced here is "COUNTA" which counts how many lines there are in total in column B of the results-sheet. We do a tiny bit of math on it: Subtract 1, so we don't count the header row. Dive the number of occurrences calculated before by the total number, then multiply it by hundred in order to get a percentage value. We round the result to 2 digits so we don't get endless numbers like "33,33333â€Ś". Again, we finish entering the data be pressing the the Enter-key.
Duplicate the formulae 1/2 Mark the cells B1 and C1 by clicking into B1 and dragging the mouse to the left. In the bottom corner of C2 a little blue square should appear. Click on it and drag this little blue box to the bottom of cell C2. Actually, drag it down as many rows as your first question has options.
Duplicate the formulae 2/2 If everything worked out right, the formula has been multiplied and is calculating the values for your other options. (If not, please make sure that you followed the last couple of steps correctly.)
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Copy first row In order to make life easier with the next question, copy the first row in this sheet. To do this right-click (or ctrl + click on Mac) into the numbering field left of the first row (1). Then, with a left-click, choose Copy (2). Go to the lower left corner of the screen and add another sheet by clicking Add Sheet. Rename this new sheet right away into "Question 2".
Paste row In the new sheet again right-click (or ctrl + click on Mac) into the numbering field left of the first column (1), but now choose Paste (2).
Adjust result-column 1/2 Write the exact text of your second question's first option into A1 (1). Double-click on B1 so that the formula appears (2). In it carefully exchange "Results!B:B" for "Results!C:C". The point is to analyze the data of the second results column, which contains the answers given to the second question. Leave the "A1" alone as it is referring to cell A1 in the current sheet, which you have just adjusted.
Adjust result-column 2/2 Do the same in cell C1.
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Duplicate rows Duplicate the fields B1 and C1 just as we did in the previous sheet. Again, you need one row per option, one sheet per question.
Let's roll! Okay, you have put together your first survey. It's time for a test run. Get the URL of the survey-form that you saved earlier and mail it to a couple of friends. Let them fill out the data and see what happens to your results. Of course the setup as described here isn't really "scientific", but that could be realized. We could let people answer these questions only in controlled environments (by keeping the URL a secret). We could add an identification-field where test-subjects enter some kind of key which, while being anonymous, provodes information about the person controlling the tests et cetera. If you want to take the test described in this prescription, go here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pfaZPDJ45UXcP0uO6hhWrCw If you have suggestions, questions or feedback please visit http://xphi.org and leave a comment. Have fun! Dushan Wegner Cologne, Feb. 2008
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