Conference PaperPDF Available

Online survey tools: A case study of Google Forms



Content may be subject to copyright.
Online Survey Tools: A Case Study of Google Forms
Vasantha Raju N.1and N.S.Harinarayana2
1 Librarian, Government First Grade College, Periyapatna
2Associate Professor, Department of Library & Information Science, University of Mysore, Mysore
Abstract: In this paper an attempt has been made to explore the potential advantages of web-
based survey tools for data collections and analysis. It also explains how web-based survey can
be designed and developed for data collections using Google Forms. A sketchy comparison in
the paper provides snapshots of some of the popularweb-based survey tools. The paper concludes
by discussing the technological and privacy issues involved in web-based surveys.
Key words: Online Survey Tools, Web-based Survey Instruments, Google Forms,
Questionnaire Design
1. Introduction
Online survey tools or web-based survey tools have become common data collection instruments
in today’s networked environment. Researchers in academia and marketing use the online
survey tools for data collections. The advantage of web technology has come in handy in
designing, developing and obtaining users response in a simpler way. The origin of the Web-
based survey can be traced backto thetelephonic interview, Fax and e-mail surveys (Wright,
2005). Today, the web-based survey tools have replaced its predecessors successfully and
efficiently and have become one of the major tools for conducting survey research.
The application of web-based survey tools have transcended to its predecessors and applied in
almost all fields of study to conduct research (Zhang, 1999). There are a plethora of instruments
available. In a comprehensive study by Kay & Johnson (1999), more than 2000 web-based
Citation for this Article:
Vasantha Raju N., & Harinarayana, N.S. (2016, January). Online survey tools: A case study of
Google Forms. Paper presented at the National Conference on "Scientific, Computational &
Information Research Trends in Engineering, GSSS-IETW, Mysore.
survey tools in 59 areas of study were identified. The personal observation of the authors of this
paper shows that more than 20 requests in LIS-Forum a Listserv of LIS community operated
from India - to participate in online surveys in the past six months. This trend indicates the
growth and development of online survey tools.
The web user population has been increasing day by day and has become theprimary medium for
identifying and accessing information. The presence of huge population on the web has made
web-based survey tools an important mode of data collection for research and thus became the
most widely used data gathering method. In India also,the Internet users are increasing
exponentially in recent times. An estimate shows that there are 243 million users by 2014 which
represent 19.19% of India’s population
. This situation has created a fertile ground for
conducting online research as well use web based online survey for doing research in academia
as well marketing research.
2. Online Vs. Other Survey Tools
As said earlier, the developments in the technological fronts have offered many opportunities for
designing and developing user-friendlyweb-based questionnaires. The other survey tools such as
face to face survey, telephonic interviewing methods, and e-mail survey methods have some
inherent limitations. The adversaries of such tool includehigh cost, wastage of paper, long travel,
time consumption both for researchers and respondents and so on. In an interesting
observation,Lin & Wang (2015) found that web-based surveys are more reliable than face to face
surveys. In an another study by Cobanoglu, Warde & Moreo (2001), it was found that compared
to mail and fax based survey methods, web-based survey method had an upper hand regarding
response speed, costs, response rate and variable costs. Table1 provides the details on how online
survey tools or web-based survey tools are beneficial compared to other methods of survey
Table-1: Comparison of Mail, Fax and Web Surveys3
Adapted from “A comparison of mail, fax, and web based survey methods” by Cihan Cobanoglu, Bill Warde, and
Patrick J. Moreo, 2001, International Journal of Market Research, 43, p. 407.
Return cost
800 return fax
No cost to the
Cash/Non-cash incentives can
be included
Coupons may be
Coupons may be
Wrong address
Labour needed
Expertise to
cost/Each survey*
About $1.00
About $0.50
No cost
*These were the estimated costs for a 4-page survey that has a population in the U.S.
3. Online Survey Tools
There are many online survey tools available on the web freely as well as proprietary
versions. Capterra
- a free online website that helps for business firms to identify right
software for their organizations - lists almost 200 free and commercial web-based survey
tools. This number is an indication of thegrowthof web survey tools for research in marketing
and academia. Table 2 listspopular web-based survey instruments.
Table-2: Comparison of a Few Well-Known Online Survey Tools and their Salient
Name of the Web-
Based Survey
Well designed, pretty easy to
use, and one can embed
10 questions
100 respondents
15 question types
Light theme customization
The free
$ 26/Month
Name of the Web-
Based Survey
Unlimited questions
Unlimited answers
Data export
Custom design themes or
choose from templates
Basic reporting
Pro Version
Google Forms7
Unlimited surveys
Unlimited respondents
Survey answers and data are
automatically collected in
Google Spreadsheets
Lots of theme options
Add your custom logo
Add images or videos
Skip logic and page branching
Embed survey into emails or
Add collaborators
100% free!
Data privacy
Client Heartbeat8
Recurring survey for follow-
Automatic remainder of non-
Provides third party data for
No free version
$ 25/Month
Zoho Survey9
Unlimited surveys
15 survey questions
150 responses
Cross Tab reports
Easy editor
Personalized survey questions
4. A Case Study of Google Forms
The Google Forms is a cloud-based data management tool used for designing and developing
web-based questionnaires. This tool is provided by Google Inc
., andfreely available on the web
to anyone to use and create web-based questionnaires. The anywhere-anytime-access and other
advantages (unlimited surveys, 100% free) have made Google Forms a popular product in online
survey research. Helia Jacinto
of theUniversity of Lisbon says about Google Forms that I
have used Google Forms in a survey (for a research project). It comprised over 30 questions and
aimed at gathering data from specific students from elementary schools in the south of Portugal.
The survey link was disseminated trough email and trough the schools board. We have over 1200
responses in a spreadsheet, which are being organised and analysed by a colleague specialized
in such data analysis. We decided to use Google Forms because it seemed quite easy to build the
questionnaire. Overall, the team thinks it is a good resource and worked just fine for what we
The following section explains the stepsinvolved in using Google Formsfor web-based survey.
The authors took a research study conducted by one ofthem as an example for explaining the use
ofGoogle Forms. The topic requiresthe data regarding employability status of graduates,
usefulness of LIS skills in employment. Each step starting from designing and developing web-
based survey tools to completion of the survey and analysis of the data is discussed.
Step-1: Design and Developing Web-BasedQuestionnaire
The Google Forms provides an easy-to-use webinterface for designing and developing web-
based survey questionnaires. Figure 1 shows the web questionnaire design interface. The
Google Form provides various options for capturing the data from the multiple answers. For
example, one can have multiple choice options, check boxes, scale, grid, text, and so on. The
designer (researcher) can set up the exact number of questions required to be collected. The
template option provides built-in templates for giving anaesthetic look for the questionnaire.
Figure2 shows the final output of the web-based questionnaire designed for data collection on the
topic What are they now? A survey of University of Mysore Library and Information Science
(MyDLIS) graduates of 2000-2004”.
Fig-1: Google Forms Questionnaire Design Interface
Fig-2: Google Forms Completed Web Questionnaire Ready for Hosting
Step-2: Web-Based Questionnaire for Data Collection Hosted on the
Once the questionnaire is ready, it needs to be hosted on the web. One can generate automatic
Web URL for the questionnaire and send the link to the intended participants (study sample) of
the survey. Usually online forums, social networking sites such as Facebook and e-mail contacts
are used for sending web questionnaire. Figure2 shows the web version of the questionnaire that
was accessed through the web URL
by the intended participants to fill the online survey. The
researcher posted a message on the LIS-Forum on 30th April 2015 and requested the members of
the forum to participate in the online survey (See Figure 3). In the interest of reaching out wider
participants, simultaneously the web link was also shared via Facebook (See Figure-4).
Fig-3: Request Sent via LIS-Forum for Participating in the Survey
Dear Sir/Madam/Friends
I have taken up a small survey on “What Are They Now? A Survey of University of Mysore Library and
Information Science (MyDLIS) Graduates of 2000 to 2014” to understand the employability status of
graduates, usefulness of LISc skills in employment and also to obtain on-field MyDLIS graduates
feedback on MLISc Course and its future perspective.
The University of Mysore MLISc graduates who have passed out from 2000 to 2014 can participate in
this survey. Through this forum I kindly request those who have completed their MLISc degree from
the University of Mysore from 2000 to 2014 to participate in this survey. Participation in this survey is
Following link will lead you to the survey:
This survey is very brief and takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about the
survey, please contact me
Please complete the survey by May 8, 2015. Your assistance in providing invaluable information about
this topic is much appreciated.
Fig-4: Request for Participation in the Web Survey in Facebook
Step-3: Data Response and Data Coding Sheet
As the request for participating in the web survey was sentviaLIS-Forum and Facebook, there
were some queries via e-mail, and some of the participants even shared the web link on their
Facebook page. More than 71MyDLIS LIS graduates responded to the questionnaire through the
web. Figure 5 depicts day-wise data collection of the web survey. One of the advantages of the
online survey is having the real-time data on the number of participants participated in the survey
on the daily basis.
Fig-5: Day-Wise Data Response Rate
Another major advantage as mentioned elsewhere in this paper is that the respondents’ data is
available in the format suitable for analysis. The researcher need not key-in respondent data
manually and thus the data coding error is minimized. The Google Forms records the respondent
1 1 1 1
Number of Respondents
Day-Wise Data Response Rate
data in its spreadsheet and provide anopportunity to export to other statistical packages for
analysis, if required. Figure 6 shows the data which is in analyzable format.
Fig-6: Data Response Automatically Stored in Google Spreadsheet
Step-4: Data Analysis and Graphical Representation of Data
As mentioned in this paper, the Google Forms allow data analysis and graphical presentation
online. Once the web questionnaireis filled online, automatically the data will be recorded in
Google spreadsheet in an analyzable format and allow for tabulation and graphical representation
of data. Figure 7 shows the responded data in a graphical presentation as well in descriptive
statistics. Graphics and Descriptive statistics can be easily importedintoanother format such as
MS Wordetc.
Fig-7: Graphical Presentation of Samples in Google Forms
5. Issues involved in Conducting Online Surveys
Though the advancement in web technologies and users access to the Internet has made web-
based surveys easier,some issues needto be carefully looked into while planning and conducting
web surveys. Questions about sample selections, technological variations, low response rate,
privacy and security issues (Evans & Mathur, 2005; Zhang, 1999) have remained important
questions to be addressed while conducting online surveys. In developing countries, where
Internet penetration is still not widespread and low compared to developed countries, identifying
potential sample for theweb-based survey may prove to be ahorrendous task. The privacy and
security issues and technological variations have becomemore important matters since there are
no strict policies or monitoring systems to address these problems in countries such as India.
6. Conclusion
The Online surveys or Web-based surveys have become important because of lesser cost in
administrating questionnaire,ability to reach out to alarge population, geographical and temporal
advantages, reaching unique population easily and other benefits. The study shows how theweb-
basedsurvey is used for data collection fora small study in library and information science using
Google Forms. The free availability of the tool and automatic recording of user response in its
spreadsheet have made data collection and analysis simple. In a country like India where
internet user base is increasing day by day web-based survey tools may become obvious choice
for survey research.
Cobanoglu, C., Warde, B., & Moreo, P.J. (2001). A comparison of mail, fax and web-based
survey methods, International Journal of Market Research, 43, 405-10.
Evans, J.R., & Mathur, A. (2005). The value of online surveys. Internet Research, 15 (2), 195-
Fleming, L.M., & Bowden, M. (2009). Web-based surveys as an alternative method to traditional
mail methods, Journal of Environmental Management, 90, 284-292.
Kaye B.K. & Johnson T.J. (1999).Research methodology: Taming the cyber frontier. Social
Science Computer Review, 17, 323-337.
Wright, K.B. (2006). Researching Internet-based populations: Advantages and disadvantages of
online survey research, online questionnaire authoring software packages, and web survey
services. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(3). Retrieved from
Zhang, Y. (1999). Using the Internet for survey research: A case study.Journal of the American
Society for Information Science and Technology, 51(1), 57-68.
... This is not a standard environment for a study like this witch raises the question of validity of the results. But Google Forms is a 100% free to use web-based survey tool that offers unlimited surveys with unlimited respondents where survey answers and data are automatically collected in Google Spreadsheets, has the option to embed a survey into emails or websites, gives lots of theme options, add your custom logo, photo or video option, and add collaborators option, with only limitation in data privacy, [16] and as such has a great potential for this type of studies, thus the attempt to validate the results. Moreover, as web-based surveying offers researchers many advantages over more conventional survey modes, these findings suggest that non-market valuation practitioners should consider using this survey administration mode in the future. ...
... [17] For our study we chose Google Forms because the Google Forms provides various options for capturing the data from multiple answers. For example, one can have multiple choice options, check boxes, scale, grid, text, etc. [16]. ...
... Collaboration is the only option comes with only limitation in data privacy. [22] It has a great potential for any type of similar studies, thus the attempt to validate the results. Web-based surveying offers researchers plenty advantages in comparison to more conventional survey modes, these findings suggest that non-market valuation practitioners should consider the use of this survey administration mode in the future. ...
... Web-based surveying offers researchers plenty advantages in comparison to more conventional survey modes, these findings suggest that non-market valuation practitioners should consider the use of this survey administration mode in the future. [23] For our study we chose Google Forms as it provides various options to capture the data from the multiple answers and can have multiple choice options, check boxes, scale, grid, text, and etc. [22] Since aim of the study was to investigate the psychometric properties of the online version of psychological questionnaires, the idea was that additional means that would ensure greater validity such as video instructions, online presence through meeting platforms and chat with the examiner were not used. In this way, in comparison with the results of earlier validation studies, it was possible to analyse the effect that the change of media and environment has on the psychometric properties of the results. ...
... The empirical validity of the questionnaire relied on the previous studies with instrument blueprints (Dörnyei, 2014 The instrument was similar to and adapted from the previous studies. It was employed in several studies and validated repeatedly by several inter-raters (Turmudi, 2020b;Turmudi et al., 2020;Turmudi & Baihaqi, 2019;Turmudi & Ratini, 2022;Vasantha & Harinarayana, 2016). ...
Full-text available
The EFL professors and Zen students experienced dynamic learning during the pandemic. Thus, new scenarios in the new normal are required. This study investigates (1) what EFL millennial English professors (MEPs) and EFL Zen students (EZSs)' attitude to hybrid learning (HL), (2) why MEPs and EZSs need HL, and (3) how the MEPs and EZSs will implement the HL in New Normal. It is a survey study using a questionnaire that resulted in ordinal and content data. 174 MEPs and EZSs from diverse universities in Indonesia participated. The data were taken through online Google Forms and were analyzed descriptively based on critical success factors and criteria content analysis. The result shows that MEPs and EZSs responded positively (51.15%), neutrally (31.61%), and negatively (17.24%) to HL in EFL classrooms. The respondents think that HL is inevitable and challenging. The ratio online and offline is on-off (75:25), on-off (50:50), and on-off (25:75). The sequence of HL covers first-half all online, first-half all offline, in turn, online and offline, and in turn: offline and online. Most MEPs and EZSs (56.8 %) believe that HL is promising. The study carried out the proportional scenarios for HL; thus, MEPs and EZSs should be well prepared.
... The survey tools used for this study called Google Forms since the anywhere-anytime-access advantages that have made this type of online survey tools popular in conducting research survey (Raju & Harinarayana, 2016). The link for the survey was disseminated to the Facebook page and private groups and a screening question are required to be answered by the participant in order to know whether the participants is a Malaysian citizen that resides in Malaysia or not. ...
... An effort has made to show a pictorial way of using ‗Google Forms' for the general audience in these papers (Mondal et al., 2019) (Raju & Harinarayana, 2016) and the advantages and disadvantages of Google forms has been described on this website (DataScope, 2018). It has already used by a few of the researchers in different fields like medicine (Graham & Borgen, 2018), (Gehringer, 2010) among school students to evaluate the courses (Gehringer, 2010), perception of the students (Chaiyo & Nokham, 2017), to know about the gender-based performance (Kim & Park, 2012), etc. ...
Full-text available
The emergence of Covid-19 creates much chaos among the general public. In these situations, it is quite difficult to conduct social science studies, as social science research depends mainly on collecting primary data. Collecting primary data during the pandemic is exceedingly difficult as the virus is highly contagious and individuals fear communicating face-to-face with outsiders. During this scenario, conducting research studies in social science needs new tools to collect primary data remotely without face-to-face contact, such as online surveys viz., Google Forms. This paper focuses on the precautions one should consider while formulating and designing the Google Forms survey.
... To reach them in no time and seamlessly, the researchers decided to blast the questionnaire through Google Form, one of the online survey tools that are available for data collection. Google Form is a popular product in online survey research due to its unlimited surveys feature and 100% free (Evans & Mathur, 2005;Raju & Harinarayana, 2016). Based on calculation from G-Power, it is suggested that the minimum sample size for the study is 89 respondents. ...
Full-text available
Medical tourism is a relatively new segment that has spurred the attention of major health care leaders across the globe over the decade. The global medical tourism market has shown extensive growth whereby global medical tourism generated USD11.56 billion in 2020 which increased to USD13. 98 billion in 2021. The amount is projected to grow to USD53.51 billion in 2028. In Asia region, few countries are playing their roles as medical destinations such as Thailand and Singapore. However, Malaysia continues to lag far behind the neighbouring countries in terms of number of international visitors. Thus, the study aims to determine the drivers of medical tourism destination choice among international tourists. Purposive sampling technique was applied for the study. A total of 115 responses from 21 different countries were collected through Medical Tourism Agency Website and their overseas branch. Data were analysed using partial least squares method. It can be concluded that lower cost and tourist attraction have paramount importance as drivers in choosing Malaysia as medical tourism destination. The outcome of the study will contribute to the field of medical tourism particularly in the context of improvising the marketing strategies and strategic partnership.
... The participants downloaded the application from the Google Play Store and tested its features, which included various aspects such as event management and membership. After testing, the participants were asked to rate the application's effectiveness and satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10 via a Google Forms survey [14]. An optional free-response section was included at the end of the survey, which allowed participants to share additional feedback. ...
Conference Paper
Contemporary high schools have seen a significant rise in student-led clubs, whether they are academic, sports, or special-interest related. In them, students are able to collaborate with other like-minded peers and develop their unique hobbies and interests. However, in many of these high schools and especially those of ours, we have observed a lack of motivation and participation associated with poor club organization and communication. Inspired by existing software utilized by these clubs and building upon their features, we have designed and implemented a user-club system intended to help a myriad of clubs in high schools and colleges to manage their club events and membership [4]. Two experiments were conducted to test the effectiveness of two different applications designed to help high school clubs manage their events and membership. For the first experiment, 10 participants tested a user-club system, and for the second experiment, another 10 participants tested an application. Both experiments showed positive results, with participants providing feedback on the applications' functionality and convenience. However, a few participants reported issues, indicating that refinement may be necessary for optimal usability. In the first experiment, most participants reported improvement in their club's participation and member interest, but a few reported little to no improvement, suggesting that the system may not be effective for all types of clubs. Further testing and refinement are necessary for both applications to determine their effectiveness for different types of clubs and user populations.
... The features tested included the application process, the search function, and the events page. After testing, participants were provided with a survey link on Google Forms [9]. This allowed the participants to rate the functionality and convenience of the application on a scale of 1 to 10. ...
Conference Paper
Internships are nearly impossible to find as a highschooler outside of paying for one or having familial connections[1]. A reason for this is that there are only substandard public resources for finding these internships as ahighschooler [2]. So, by creating an equitable option through an online website, highschoolers would be able tofindinternships much better. Within the proposed website would include ways to search/filter for internships, haveemployers create accounts and create internship posts. Students would also need to quickly be able to browseinternship options, which was fixed through adding a list of random internships of dif erent varieties that canbescrolled through on the main page [3]. With this ease of access to obtaining an internship, many highschoolerswould be able to find what interests them easily and help them find experiences that are more worthwhile beyondjust the skills they learn such as helping with college applications or getting a job [4].
Full-text available
Entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) is an emerging concept in the literature, owing to its ability to create a favourable environment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs have a positive impact on a country‘s economy. They operate in numerous industries, among them, national parks tourism, which offers business opportunities for related ventures. This qualitative study employed two rounds of the Delphi method with a Google question form. This gathered opinions from 15 participants who have experiences in a Gabonese or South African national park and expertise in SME entrepreneurship, hospitality and heritage, tourism, business and project management. The aim was to build an EE conceptual model for national parks tourism. Findings revealed a specific type of EE for national parks and provided important conceptual and theoretical implications for the existing body of knowledge on EEs. Practical guidelines for policy developers and SMEs entrepreneurs, limitations and future research perspectives are provided.
Full-text available
This study compares mail, fax and web-based surveys in a university setting for response speed, response rate and costs. The survey was distributed to 300 hospitality professors randomly chosen from the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education members listed in the organisation's online directory as of April 2000. It was found that the fastest method was fax, with an average of 4.0 days to respond, followed by web surveys with 5.97 days. The slowest method, as expected, was mail surveys, with 16.46 days to respond. On average, the response rate was 28.91%: 26.27% for mail, 17.0% for fax, and 44.21% for web surveys. An LSD-type z-test shows significant differences between mail and email/web and between fax and email/web, but no significant difference between mail and fax. In addition, data were analysed for data consistency and cost.
Full-text available
The World Wide Web and other new electronic technologies might soon become prime survey vehicles due to convenient, verifiable, low-cost delivery and return systems as well as easy access and feedback mechanisms. However, along with the benefits of this new technology come new experiences and lessons to be learned and shared by researchers. The authors created and posted a survey on the Web to examine the uses of the Web for political information. The purpose of the article, however, is not to report on the political survey’s findings but rather to address issues concerning online research, discuss the implications of an online environment for traditional survey techniques, share Web survey experiences from an ex post facto perspective, and present recommendations for future online research, specifically in the areas of Web survey design, sampling, data collection and responses, and publicity.
Full-text available
Purpose To provide a thorough analysis of the role of the internet in survey research and to discuss the implications of online surveys becoming such a major force in research. Design/methodology/approach The paper is divided into four major sections: an analysis of the strengths and potential weaknesses of online surveys; a comparison of online surveys with other survey formats; a discussion on the best uses for online surveys and how their potential weaknesses may be moderated; and an overview of the online survey services being offered by the world's largest research firms. Findings If conducted properly, online surveys have significant advantages over other formats. However, it is imperative that the potential weaknesses of online surveys be mitigated and that online surveys only be used when appropriate. Outsourcing of online survey functions is growing in popularity. Practical implications The paper provides a very useful source of information and impartial advice for any professional who is considering the use of online surveys. Originality/value The paper synthesizes the vast literature related to online surveys, presents original material related to survey methodology, and offers a number of recommendations.
The Internet provides opportunities to conduct surveys more efficiently and effectively than traditional means. This article reviews previous studies that use the Internet for survey research. It discusses the methodological issues and problems associated with this new approach. By presenting a case study, it seeks possible solutions to some of the problems, and explores the potential the Internet can offer to survey researchers.
Environmental economists have long used surveys to gather information about people's preferences. A recent innovation in survey methodology has been the advent of web-based surveys. While the Internet appears to offer a promising alternative to conventional survey administration modes, concerns exist over potential sampling biases associated with web-based surveys and the effect these may have on valuation estimates. This paper compares results obtained from a travel cost questionnaire of visitors to Fraser Island, Australia, that was conducted using two alternate survey administration modes; conventional mail and web-based. It is found that response rates and the socio-demographic make-up of respondents to the two survey modes are not statistically different. Moreover, both modes yield similar consumer surplus estimates.