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Research Common @ RDC

The RDC Research Common is a place where faculty, staff, and students can get assistance with research and scholarly activities. Find information on conducting original research and on the supports available for research at RDC.

Designing and Using Surveys

Surveys are one method of gathering data about people and social phenomena.  Read more...

Here are some useful resources to get you thinking about designing and using surveys:

Survey Tools

There are a variety of tools available for creating online surveys.  RDC endorses no particular online survey tool; however, it is important for you to know that if the tool is owned by an American company (e.g. Survey Monkey, Google Docs), then you need to advise your survey participants appropriately of the possible risks to confidentiality or anonymity.  Online survey tools that are owned by American companies are subject to U.S. laws, in particular the U.S. Patriot Act, which allows authorities access to the records of internet service providers. 

Unless you indicate otherwise when constructing your survey, a U.S.-based company's servers will record incoming IP addresses including those of the computers that participants use to access the survey. You are advised to set up your survey to collect anonymous responses. The procedure for this depends on the type of collector/s you use:

  1. If you use a Web Link collector (or any other collector), you must configure it to not collect IP addresses.
  2. If you use the Email Invitation collector, you must configure it to not save the email addresses (in the Analyze section) and not to collect IP addresses.

If you choose to use a U.S.-based survey tool, the Research Ethics Board recommends you include a statement informing your participants.

If you choose to investigate a Canadian-based survey tool, the following links may be helpful:

RDC's Research Common does have a limited number of accounts with a Canadian-based survey tool available for student and faculty use (first priority is given to students). Please contact Michelle Edwards Thomson at michelle.edwards.thomson@rdc.ab.ca for more information.

Introduction to Survey Design Workshop Resources

Here are the handouts and resources recommended during the Introduction to Survey Design workshop hosted by Dr. Stephanie Powers, Dr. Reiko Yeap, and Rayna Becker.