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TOPIC: Running an academic year-long "learning journal" for 400+ users

Running an academic year-long "learning journal" for 400+ users 3 years 17 hours ago #65171

  • marcusbs
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I just discovered LimeSurvey while researching the best secure survey option to use for an academic project, and am wondering whether it could be used in the following context:

We are inviting around 400 students to submit weekly "journal" entries about certain aspects of their university learning, in the form of multiple choice answers and answer grids. Each journal entry would consist of a set of questions, and the user should be able to log as many entries as they wish per week (eg. the survey should allow them to submit the same question set repeated times, one for each learning event). The question sets each week would be identical.

To gain ethics approval, we need to keep the data secure and as anonymised as possible.

Using LimeSurvey, can we:

1. invite the 400 users to take part via email
2. log them as a userID number in the database to keep their entries identifiable only to those with the email & userID list
3. send them weekly reminders to log entries
4. allow users to fill in new "journal entries" (ie. question sets) that would cater from zero to an infinite number each week
5. collate all the information specific to each user at the end of the year for statistical work-up and comparison
6. keep the data encrypted in the database, and use SSL for web browser / server communication?

It sounds like a tall order, but from what I have been gleaning from forum responses (eg. www.limesurvey.org/en/forum/can-i-do-thi...es?limit=10&start=20) it sounds like it might just be possible. I don't know whether it would be better to use 52 weekly identical surveys liked by userID number, or have one long survey that users continue working on, and do the final submission for at the end of the year.

Many thanks for any confirmations, workarounds or outright negations!
Last Edit: 3 years 16 hours ago by marcusbs.
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Re: Running an academic year-long "learning journal" for 400+ users 2 years 11 months ago #65227

  • pwmowers
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There is an option to iterate a survey, allowing repeated entries using the same token. http://docs.limesurvey.org/Iterate+Survey&structure=English+Instructions+for+LimeSurvey The wiki also has a section on "multiple 'completed' with only one token" that may give you some ideas.

From a database standpoint, I think that it would be easier to analyze the data as one large file, grouping on the token, rather than trying to analyze and compare 52 different files.

If you are using a token table, and possibly storing the token as a hidden field, then the surveys would be tied together by the token, but the participants would not be identifiable to anyone without the token list.

I think that encryption of the database has been explored by several in the forums.

Those are just my thoughts, lame as they may be.
Last Edit: 2 years 11 months ago by pwmowers.
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Re: Running an academic year-long "learning journal" for 400+ users 2 years 11 months ago #65251

  • tpartner
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1) No problem. You can send the emails through the token interface.

2) I'm not sure about this. If you make the survey anonamous the token data (including custom attributes) will not be available in the data. You may need to leave the survey non-anonamous and give each respondent a custom attribute with an ID. You can leave the name fields blank in the tokens but you will see the email addresses in the data. I guess you'll need to control who has access to the raw data.

3) You can also send reminder emails using tokens but there is no automatic facility. You will need to remind yourself to remind them :) .

4) You can now allow multiple uses of single a token with the "Uses left" field.

5) Sure using SPSS or a similar tool you could split the data by respondent ID. If you store the timestamp you could also analyze trends over the year.

6) LimeSurvey will work fine on an SSL server. As for the encryption, that will need to be answered by someone with a bigger brain than me.
Cheers,
Tony Partner

Solutions, code and workarounds presented in these forums are given without any warranty, implied or otherwise.

LimeSurvey is open-source and run entirely by volunteers so please consider donating to support the project.
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Re: Running an academic year-long "learning journal" for 400+ users 2 years 11 months ago #65255

  • marcusbs
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I am very appreciative your thoughts and feedback!

I am wondering whether the newly developed Central Participants' Database could be used in this case? Or would it be a bit optimistic to be a large year-long survey (which will hopefully be launching within 2 weeks) on programming which is still under testing?

Would anyone consider giving me a quote to set up LimeSurvey based on the premises I described earlier, and providing some tech support while the project is tested and then gets off the ground? I have a web server and domain name ready for the sole use of this project, but I do not feel confident in making the necessary customisations to the code to get it running smoothly on time.

Thank you in advance to anyone who might be interested. I can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Re: Running an academic year-long "learning journal" for 400+ users 2 years 11 months ago #65257

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I don't think the Central Participants Database would help much in this case. You would still need tokens to email participants. Regardless, it will only be released in beta sometime this fall so won't be ready for production use for some time.
Cheers,
Tony Partner

Solutions, code and workarounds presented in these forums are given without any warranty, implied or otherwise.

LimeSurvey is open-source and run entirely by volunteers so please consider donating to support the project.
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