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TOPIC: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey.

Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70284

  • matijasx
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Hello audience!
I'm working on 'How to design a good survey' tutorial in order of Google Code-in. The point is to obtain information from LimeSurvey users, about their experience using LimeSurvey. Please share your personal tips/hints/helpful information about creating a 'good' survey. If there is anything that you think to be helpful to other people creating a good survey I beg you to share. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70326

  • Thomas
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Hallo matijasx,

while I have not been active on the LimeSurvey forum yet, I have been triggered to take a look a your post by a recent tweet. However I do not entirely understand what you are looking for.

Is it general information about how to design a "good" (which is likely to differ based on perspective and discipline) survey, e.g. how to choose and phrase your questions, which scales to use, etc. or are you interested in "best practice" on how to efficiently implement an already "well" designed survey using the LimeSurvey backend, working around potential limitations.

Differently stated: Will your tutorial be aimed at somehow experienced researchers to learn how to use LimeSurvey for their everyday work - or will it be for those who are trying to design their "first" questionnaire while using LimeSurvey?

Or is it something completely different?

Thomas
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70330

  • matijasx
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Thanks for reply!
The tutorial is mostly aimed for beginner user, that has made from no to few surveys. Users that read this tutorial should get clue what a good survey is. A less of explaining what does each option do, but more of explaining in what case you SHOULD use them, and in what case to better SHOULD NOT. I would like to hear advice from more experienced users, what they recommend in this case. User needs to be intordruced into how to actually get the information from participant, i.e. what the questions should look like, maybe, how they shouldn't? Anything from your own experience of creating surveys will be appreciated. ;)
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70342

  • Thomas
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I fear this is a very complex matter. And many of the aspects are not specific to LimeSurvey but general issues of empirical research and standardized questionnaires.

To get started, let me list some (non-exhaustive) topics I would deem to be important. Please let me know, if this what you had in mind.

a.) Some important questions need to be answered before designing any questionnaire - actually even before deciding whether a questionnaire is the right way to go. For example:

What is is that you really want to find out with your research?

Based on that:
Who are the right people to ask?
How can you reach them?
What is needed to make them understand your questions?
Which - if any - are the statistical methods you want/need to use on the data?

These are just a few of the issues you need to be clear about to even decide weather LimeSurvey is the right tool for you. In my opinion, LimeSurvey is great for fully structured (you know all the questions you might need to ask before you start the interview), standardized (everyone gets more or less the same questionnaire), mostly quantitative (it is mainly about numbers or questions with predefined answers) questionnaires which are collected online. To some extend you can of course vary from this: You can use LimeSurvey to collect answers to some sorts of phone interviews. You can use LimeSurvey to collect qualitative data, e.g. by using text questions. But at some point you might get to the conclusion that other research methods are more suitable.

b.) Structuring a questionnaire
To decide in which order to ask questions and how to group them, there a some aspects to consider, e.g.
If possible, start with questions that are easy to answer and which all participants are comfortable answering. Often this will be screening questions anyway, i.e. questions you need to ask to find out whether you are asking the right people (see above, use <a href='docs.limesurvey.org/tiki-index.php?page=Setting%20conditions'>conditions</a> and or <a href='docs.limesurvey.org/tiki-index.php?page=Set+survey+quotas'>quotas</a> to deal with these screening questions). Putting these ice breaking questions at the beginning might help to avoid participants to interrupt your survey as people might be less likely to terminate once they have already put some work into answering the questionnaire.

On the other hand, if you need to ask problematic questions, you might think about using different pages (one page per group or one page per question) and putting theses questions at the very end. By this, if participants decide to interrupt, at least their former answers are saved.

Another aspect for structure is to avoid biases introduced by the questionnaire itself. For example, in market research there are concepts which require unaided and aided questions. An example for an unaided question would be: "Which brands of chocolate do you know?" [followed by an empty text box], the corresponding example for an aided question would be: "Which of the following brands of chocolate do you know?" [followed by a list of brands (multiple choice)]. If you would like to include both into the same questionnaire, you should again make sure to put them on different pages and put the unaided version before the aided on - otherwise you will basically teach or at least actively remind participants about existing brands which will invalidate your results for a following unaided question.

c.) Individual questions
Questions should be non-suggestive. So "What is your opinion about LimeSurvey?" is an acceptable question while "Don't you agree that LimeSurvey is a really great tool? is most likely not.

When working with multiple choices or single choice questions make sure to choose the right one and formulate both question and answers appropriately. For example: "Which of the following fruit do you like? a) Apples b) Bananas c) Cherries" is a typical multiple choice question, as you can like several of those - in contrary "Which of the following fruit do you prefer?" is a single choice question.

Both fruit examples have been formulated to make clear that is is only about the fruit listed as answers. If your question would be "Which is you favorite fruit?" you should either have a really exhaustive list of fruit or - more likely, use LimeSurvey's setting to add an "other" field. More generally, answer options in most cased need to be complete, mutually exclusive and definite.

If you have multiple or single choice questions with a lot of options for answers, you need to be aware that this might introduce another bias, as participants are likely to pay more attention to the very first options than to those in the middle. LimeSurvey offers a nice option to randomize the order of questions and to some extend diminish this problem.


So far, just a few examples of initial, rather basic advise about how to produce a "good" questionnaire. As already mentioned, in many cases, this is not specific to LimeSurvey - even though there is of course some connection to LimeSurvey functionality.

Again, is this what you had in mind as feedback to your initial post? Let me know about topic, depth and style you would like to continue. Also, please let me know if I have bored you with a lot of stuff which you are already familiar with.

Thomas
Last Edit: 2 years 7 months ago by Thomas.
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70346

  • Mazi
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Thanks for your valuable feedback, Thomas.

@other: What can you add?

Best regards/Beste Grüße,
Dr. Marcel Minke
(Limesurvey Head of Support)
Need Help? We offer professional Limesurvey support
Contact: marcel.minke(at)limesurvey.org'"
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70355

  • DenisChenu
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I think something very important it's the way you want the result.

I saw some user want a survey with a lot of open question (text question) and a lot of respondant but they don't have time to read all the answer.

I think the best approach is:
  1. What is the problem ?
  2. Di a survey help me for this problem ?
  3. How the survey can help me to answer the problem


It's the basis of all work . After the question goes like a charm .

And never think a survey clear the problem alone :).
When you have a good survey, maybe there are some adaptation for "auto answers" and for the web ( more quick , more easy etc ..).
Keep in mind than after 50 question, user don't read the question.
Denis
PS: sorry to be so simple, but i'm onlyy a web developper ;) .
Last Edit: 2 years 7 months ago by DenisChenu.
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70356

  • matijasx
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I'm extremely thankful, You have done a work of 3 elephants! If I could cook a huge chocolate cookie for you, I'd definitely do that!

About the topic.
No doubt - really valuable feedback. Also, I will look on to simplifying your grammar, because it might be exhausting for reading. But on other side, I really enjoyed that your text contained many examples. I have made a little research myself, using google, and I possibly might add some paragraphs to this. Part of tutorial was already done by another writter, I'll add your paragraphs, mine, and hopefully, somebody else will share their experience. If you have something else sharable, and you feel like doing that, of course You're welcome!

With huge thanks - Matīss.
Last Edit: 2 years 7 months ago by matijasx.
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70357

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While I was posting answer to Thomas, Shnoulle posted entry, for what I'd also like to thank. I'll see how to insert your view of approach into this project.
---
I'll still be waiting for users willing to share their experience, tips and everything helpful for this tutorial, until tomorrow evening (3rd of December, my Time Zone is +2.00), as I'll be busy whole day. But don't worry being late, it's just when I'm planning to start putting it all together at that time. Even after I'll be done my task, I'll try to provide a contact, to whom you can send your share of wisdom.
Last Edit: 2 years 7 months ago by matijasx. Reason: adding text
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70376

  • Thomas
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Some additions:

You might want to add that a couple of national and international organizations have issued professional and ethical standards about market and opinion research. See for example: www.esomar.org/uploads/public/knowledge-...MAR_Code_English.pdf

Also highlighting LimeSurvey privacy features (anonymous survey participation) would be a good idea.

Also incentives for participation (especially lottery) might be regulated by national law.

Adding to that, always keep the user experience in mind. Reading, scrolling and clicking are tyring activites, so:

1) Avoid any unnecessary question (in accordance to what Shnoulle has added before)
2) Use conditions to avoid asking questions not relevant for a specific participant
3) Keep questions and answers short easily readable - use appropriate markup
4) Think about the trade-off between scrolling and clicking, in my opinion: Display everything on one page for short questionnaires (5-15 questions, depending on question complexity). Use groups wisely for longer questionnaires, i.e. group questions comprehensible; use group descriptions to give a clear statement about the topic of the following questions. In market research, I can think of only a few cases which would justify long surveys displayed "one question per page". If you have to do that, make sure your server/webspace is quick to respond.
5) Avoid confusing participants with different scales, i.e. limit the amount of different scales types, scale scopes and different scales descriptions as much as possible. Try not to change the direction of scales. (There are some methodological exceptions).


After having browsed the other forum areas, I would like to add that all my feedback covers the market research and academic marketing research perspective, only. I have seen, that a lot of people are using LimeSurvey for all kinds of data collection.
Last Edit: 2 years 7 months ago by Thomas.
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Re: Helpful tips and experience using LimeSurvey. 2 years 7 months ago #70728

  • atiut
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Two things:
1- think about the survey lenght. In the offline world a good interviewer might squeeze good answers from a respondent, but online you are counting on the good will of the people responding.

15-25 minutes would be ideal. For long questionnaires or screens take into account randomizing.

2- it might be a good idea to provide some "further reading" for each chapter. Many of the more advanced features in LS can be best understood if your read the workarounds. Now, it is not always easy to find the right diagnosis for your problem, since different applications use different language.

So a well organized set of links deep into the repository of workarounds may add great value.
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